WINDHOEK - Dr Absalom Kahumba’s defining moment is essentially his academic journey, which he says has been long and bitter, but wonderfully transformative.
“Studying without parents’ support was challenging, but self-motivation and empowering has brightened my life to date,” says Kahumba, who graduated with a PhD in Agriculture – Pasture Science from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa, last month. Currently a lecturer at the University of Namibia (Unam), Kahumba says Pasture Science was basically one of the fields he has always been passionate about, and wanted to venture into, apart from becoming a veterinarian. Born and bred in the central northern part of Namibia, in Oneeya village of Ogongo District in the Omusati Region, he grew up as a cattle and goats herder. “Apart from this, I had some early challenges in balancing my primary school education and daily household chores,” says Kahumba, adding that he grew up among three elder sisters and a young brother with whom he shared the chores and that made it possible for him to get time to go to school.
“Each one of us had days absent from school. Fortunately, I coped and overcame these challenges just because the primary school was in a convenient walking distance, and I could go to school with other children, because the route to school passed by our house and that motivated me. Whenever I saw other children going to school, I had to join them and walked together with them to school,” he says. Growing up, Kahumba had a good opportunity to be involved in crop and livestock farming from his late parents who were communal farmers. “Choosing a career at an early age was also really a tough challenge to me, because I firstly just had influences from my peers who were ahead of me in school and I looked upon them for inspiration,” he says, adding that herding animals at home drastically influenced his decision to choose agriculture as a future study career.
His motivation to push for success also came from his late parents, particularly his late mother who instilled the notion of success in him when he was young. “She was so strict with me and always urged me to study hard to thrive in life. Her motivational words got stuck in my mind and really kept me fighting hard all times. In addition, poverty also taught me a lesson, which could motivate me to push for success in order to be a better person in life.” Kahumba says he chose his current profession while studying for Masters of Science in Rangeland Resources Management at Unam. “I could realise that in Namibia, livestock production depends largely on natural rangelands for grazing and thus, rangeland management is so important to ensure sustainable rangeland utilisation, which would enhance food security in the country.”
Kahumba started his primary education at Oneeya Combined School and continued at Ashipala Secondary School, before completing his grade 12 at Nuuyoma Secondary School.
After his matric, he did a National Diploma in Agriculture from Ogongo Agricultural College, currently known as Unam Ogongo Campus. He also did a Bachelor of Science in Education (Biology and Geography). “When I finished my National Diploma in Agriculture, I first started working as an unqualified teacher at Ogongo Combined School for one year for income. I never planned to be a school teacher in my life at all. However, due to lack of finances to pursue for my further study, I managed to secure a job as a teacher, which inspired me to enroll for a Bachelor of Science in Education,” explains Kahumba, adding that after his Bachelor of Science in Education, he was again employed as a professional school teacher for Agriculture, Biology and Geography at Ashipala Secondary School.
His motivational massage to the youth is that: “in every challenge that you encounter on daily basis, there is an opportunity for growth. Our youth should remember that you do not always get what you wish for, but you do get what you work for. Education is a life-long learning, which requires self-discipline, determination and perseverance to enable you to achieve your goal. In a nut-shell “nothing comes on a silver platter, you have to sweat for it. So never succumb to challenges, but challenges should rather empower you.”