WINDHOEK – Although she has a Baccalaureus Juris (B Juris) law degree, 29-year-old journalist Ndapewoshali Mwanyengwa Shapwanale who works for the Patriot newspaper is taking the media industry by storm and there seems to be no stopping her now.
Apart from working on local news stories in Namibia, Shapwanale and four other international journalists are currently working on an investigative global report on multinationals’ operations in corporate and tax havens. She is also in consultation with an international organisation called ‘Publish What You Pay’ (PWYP) in Norway. This Norwegian chapter is part of a network of around 800 organisations from around 70 countries around the world, explained Shapwanale.
“I was approached in my personal capacity as a journalist to do a global report. I had an opportunity last year to do a three-month internship at the AmaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism in Johannesburg, South Africa,” said the Journalist, explaining that her internship resulted in her recommendation to the PWYP.
“The organisation is concerned with the financial transparency in the extractive industries with aims to promote sustainable societies,” explained Shapwanale who aspires to be one of the leading investigative journalists in the country.
Having been in the journalism profession for the past seven years, Shapwanale told the Youth Corner that she was interested to pursue a career in journalism while studying towards her law degree.
Shapwanale who is studying towards an LLB (Legum Baccalaureus) law degree says journalism is important for any democracy to be functional since it is considered the fourth estate which holds the government accountable. The passionate Shapwanale never studied journalism, despite her passion for it.
“I really just want to carry out the mandate of the fourth estate which is to keep the nation informed but most importantly act as a watchdog. Journalism is changing a lot and with the project I am working on, I have the privilege of attending data journalism master lessons,” she passionately told Youth Corner.
She pointed out that journalists in Namibia have some work to do in terms of being on par with the rest of the world, however, she believes that the country is doing well in terms of journalism standards.
“Credibility is very important in journalism and I think that we are doing well in that part as Namibian journalists. We have also recently regained our number one spot for press freedom in Africa,” shared Shapwanale.
Commenting on access to information, Shapwanale said: “Access to information without people speaking on behalf of others is difficult in the country. I personally have a problem with information being kept from us, and departments or government officials taking forever to respond to questions or not respond at all.”
Shapwanale advised young people that want to pursue their dreams in journalism to be passionate about it.
“Journalism is a wonderful profession. It is also a very selfless profession and you need to be ready to leave your dinner table if a story comes up. News is not an 08h00 to 17h00 type of job, so it cuts into your private life,” she said enthusiastically.