Influenced by her psychology educational background, a decade worth of experience in counselling and a passion for community empowerment,
Marcella Katjijova has embarked on a journey to promote positive mental health through a social media platform, ‘Paradigm Shift with Marcella’, where she shares her views on trauma, depression, stress, substance abuse and parenting.
Katjijova, who describes herself as a mental health advocate, is a registered member of the Social
Work and Psychology Council of Namibia. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Namibia (Unam), and practises as a psychological councillor in the ministry of labour.
Born and bred in the heart of the cattle country, Gobabis, Katjijova says the page will tackle community problems that are relatable and
unique to the Namibian audience.
“We have diverse cultures, and there are certain practices that we do that can be perceived as harmful. I want to have conversations with elders, understand their perspective, and how we can change”, said Katjijova.
During one of her earliest videos, she speaks against sexual grooming and practices that foster rape culture, such as holding family meetings on sexual violence cases within the family instead of reporting to the relevant authorities, in which she is seen emphasising that family meetings denote justice in favour of the perpetrator.
“It is often a slap on the wrists where the suspect is asked to pay or told to stay away from the victim and not repeat the offence, but what about the victim and the long-term effect that this has on them?” she questioned.
Other topics that can be found on her page include online sexual grooming, elderly abuse and dealing with children during a divorce, amongst others.
The platform, which she created during the nationwide lockdown last year, has over 60 videos. She states that it’s beneficial during the Covid-19 pandemic, where people are social distancing and spending more time at home. The mental health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been reiterated by president Hage Geingob on numerous occasions during his Covid-19 briefings.
According to Katjijova, the page aims to make impactful conversations accessible and change mindsets.
“We are challenging behavioural norms that are affecting one
harmfully, emotionally and physically through a shift which goes back to what shaped your thinking,” she explained.
Her page can be found on Facebook, ‘Paradigm Shift with Marcella’, or ‘Martjie’ on YouTube.