He came, he saw, he conquered! Barely out of his pair of shorts, young Patrick Mettler arrived in the city of bright lights (Windhoek) to start a new chapter with the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), and was slotted into the less glamorous portfolio of a raw trainee video editor, and as they say, the rest is history. Never in short supply of confidence, the skinny boy from Kronlein, a residential township specifically tailored for the slightly affluent non-whites in the town of Keetmanshoop, hit the ground running and endeared himself into the hearts of his usually hard-to-please superiors. He is famously known by his shortened nickname of ‘Pattas’ amongst his vast circle of friends and colleagues. In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature Tales of the Legends, New Era Sport goes head-to-head with one of Southern Africa’s much sought-after multi-camera director for outside live television broadcasts Patrick Mettler, the incumbent Head of Channels Optimisation at NBC.
Born Patrick Mettler in a laid-back tiny town of Opwag near Groblershoop in South Africa, Mettler spent his formative years in Blikkiesdorp, Upington in the Northern Cape before his family trekked northwards, only to resurface in South West Africa (SWA), nowadays Namibia. They found shelter in the southern capital of Keetmanshoop.
Mettler started his elementary education at the Kronlein Primary School in Keetmanshoop, before graduating to the Suiderlig High School. It was indeed here where the usually reserved skinny boy eventually came out of his shell, demonstrating his God-given talents.
An academic par excellence, Mettler did not only excel in the classroom, but was equally home in extramural activities, showing his competitors a clean pair of heels on the athletics track in the short sprints.
The fast-as-lightning sprinter was also a mean flying winger for the school’s rugby fifteen, operating down the flank and often as centre or eight-man. He captained the Suiderlig U/19 B team with great aplomb before he was elevated to the senior team.
The former national senior rugby team’s strongly-built flying winger and 1999 World Cup participant Dirk ‘Sacka’ Farmer was amongst a few of his celebrated teammates, joined by Robbie ‘Ou Reus’ Williams, Poon Koopman, Cyril Diergaardt, Mervin Kambo, Mannfredt Ruhl, Naas Diergaardt, Bonnie Bock and George Mooin, under the stewardship of co-coaches Boetieman Christiaans, Robbie Williams, Boeta Louw and Tony Isaacs, in that sequence.
Like many other young boys his age, growing up with his single old lady and sister was not a bed of roses for Mettler. The young boy endured some hard times, often not even knowing where his next meal was going to come from. Nevertheless, these hardships did not discourage him from achieving great heights as he relentlessly persevered to finish high school with flying
“We assembled a formidable team, and used to compete fiercely against other high schools such as Dr Lemmer High (Rehoboth), Ella du Plessis and Dawid Bezuidenhoudt Secondary Schools (both Khomasdal - Windhoek),” he recalls.
Mettler also tried his hand at tennis and computer studies. Sadly, his promising sporting career came to an abrupt end after he sustained a career-threatening serious knee injury in a horrific car accident that required major surgery.
Back in the day, joining the NBC television department was a dream come true for aspiring job-hunting young people. Tellingly, his inevitable arrival at the corporation was certainly not a smooth-paddling path.
The young man faced a baptism of fire during his “unofficial induction” process. He found himself in the company of well-established broadcasters and salted journalists during a social after-work outing, leisurely enjoying a few hot drinks with his new seniors.
The excited new kid on the block was eager to learn the ropes in the dog-eat-dog trade of broadcasting and after managing to gather enough courage, Mettler casually posed a question to senior journalist Dintwe Mootseng. He asked the latter about the working environment and overall relationship between the employees, and all that jazz. Well, the answer was short, simple and straightforward, so to speak;
“Well, I guess it must be a fantastic atmosphere, an absolutely enjoyable and flawless working environment if one can freely guzzle a few cans of cold beer down the throat with your boss in attendance,” Mootseng responded.
Surely, that was enough medicine to send shivers running riot in the belly of the young Mettler, who without a shadow of doubt stood the test of time.
It was not long before the enthusiastic Mettler started making serious inroads into the new dynamics of broadcasting. In no time, the exceptionally highly-gifted young video editor cemented himself as the leading video editor, with some jaw-dropping innovative modern ideas, rapidly drifting away from the outdated style of standard video editing.
In the meantime, the wide-awake former executive producer of NBC TV Sport Sebastian Kamungu noticed the young man’s phenomenal potential and amazing hidden talent. Secretly going by the muted nickname of “Cheese’ amongst his close colleagues in reference to his trademark bald head, Kamungu dangled a juicy carrot in Mettler’s face.
Kamungu enticed the overly ambitious young fellow to join the sports desk, where he was tasked to double as camera operator, video editor, programmes producer and directing live broadcasts of high-profile sporting events.
Well, never shy to roll with the punches, he grabbed the challenge with both hands, and has not looked back ever since. He soon earned massive respect from his colleagues, and became the most sought-after multi-camera director for live broadcast events.
History reveals that Mettler was the first local TV director to mastermind the live broadcast of the historic Cosafa Cup match between hosts Namibia and Zimbabwe at the Independence stadium in 1997. The Brave Warriors emerged 2-1 victors.
He rapidly rose up the ranks in the dog-eat-dog industry of live broadcasting, and currently occupies the plum portfolio of Head of Channels Optimisation at the NBC.
In addition, the vibrant boy from Keetmanshoop successfully held various high-profile posts in an uninterrupted career stretching more than two solid decades, which is certainly no mean feat.
A bird of passage, Mettler boasts an incredibly impressive resume. His longstanding on-and-off whirlwind romance with the NBC saw him jump ship from the corporation on sporadic intervals, bravely exploiting new challenges elsewhere in the following sequence: Executive Producer/Manager at Trustco Group International; Manager/Executive Producer at Trustco Group Holdings; Producer at Namibia Communication Centre; and Station Director: Desert TV.