Pinehas Nakaziko Windhoek-During his primary school days Frans Keshongo’s biggest challenge was to appear ‘rich’. He so wanted to be seen not as an orphan, which he was, but as a child with everything he so desired. So to be able to afford some of the items his friends were wearing, he devised an entepreneurial plan – after school hours he would visit the uncle’s crop field with his little hoe and offer to till the land for money. “I needed to do this so that I had money the next day like my friends,” he reminices about growing up as an orphan in the small village of Okambonde, in Oniipa Constituency. “I lost my mom when I was just in Grade 2, and I have never gotten over it to date,” he says, adding that he was lucky though to have a brave grandmother, who raised him by playing both roles of a mother and a father at the same time. It has been a rather difficult journey for the 27-year-old Keshongo, who is today proud to be referred to as one of the youngest and most ambitious mining professionals on the scene. He works as a drill and blast engineer at B2 Gold Mine in Otjozondjupa Region. Keshongo describes his daily work as amazing, fun and yet challenging. He advises the youth that there is no excuse for failure. “Especially to the orphans, not having a father or mother is no excuse to fail. You can make it. I am a true testimony to that.” Keshongo started Grade 1 in 1997 at Oniipa Primary School and went on to Grade 8 until Grade 10 at Hans Daniel Namuhuja Junior Secondary School. In Grade 10, he was the first learner to ever get 41 points at the school. “Also, our group raised the Grade 10 passing rate from 43 percent to over 70 percent. It was the first time the school had a more than 50 percent Grade 10 passing rate,” he remembers. After Grade 10, he attended Ekulo Senior Secondary School, where he experienced life in a hostel. “During my first week at Ekulo I was broke and with no food, and in the first semester I was third in class for the first time in my life. I got scolded for that. I eventually pulled up my socks and finished my Grade 12 outstandingly in 2008,” recalls Keshongo. However, thanks to his perseverance, he excelled in class and was chosen as the class captain, a title he held throughout all his classes to Grade 12. “I was head boy at Hans Daniel Namuhuja SSS and Ekulo SSS. I was a debater and represented Oshikoto Region at national level in 2005. I represented Ekulo SSS at circuit level in 2007. I have so many individual certificates of outstanding performances in primary and high school,” he says with pride. After matric Keshongo went on to the University of Namibia where he did a pre-engineering course and eventually got a government scholarship to study engineering in Zimbabwe, at the Zimbabwe School of Mines. It was while at the college that he got a call from one of the Namibian mines, where he did internship, with a contract offer. Employment did not last as the mine was going through a transition phase, and he ended up being unemployed when the mine was sold to new owners. “I became part of the unemployment statistics. I was unemployed for six months,” Keshongo says of what he terms as one of the testing periods of his adult life. “A lot of people distanced themselves from me, many didn’t pick up my calls. I however refused to go to the north where I would be deprived of opportunities,” he said. In June 2013, he got a job at Skopion Zinc Mine, but this was not an engineering job. He was a production operator. In 2014, he then moved to B2 Gold Mine as a fresh graduate and worked as a mining engineer. He was later promoted to the drill and blast engineer position.
2018-01-10 09:58:45 8 months ago