Tell me who started their political at the age of 12 and a half and I will give them a standing ovation first before I do Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
Currently the Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, this former Minister of Finance has lived a life worth writing a best-seller about. Imagine what you were like at the age of 12; probably still making long lists of what we wanted to do with our lives “when we grow up”. Not Saara, no.
She didn’t even hesitate when her older sister asked her to pack up and leave the country into exile for the liberation struggle of pre-independent Namibia. As you can imagine, I was dumbfounded, like you could have literally picked up my jaw from the floor as she narrated her story to me in one of the exquisite boardrooms in the Office of the Prime Minister at the Parliament Gardens, Windhoek.
Dear reader, Saara is not your regular Prime Minister or political figure. Oh no! This woman is beyond approachable. You know that feeling you get when someone especially popular or famous shakes your hand. That’s the same feeling you get when Saara texts you back or returns your call. Yes, I’m not kidding you; she calls and texts back! And I’m not saying she particularly knew me before she decided to respond to my texts or return my calls. We were perfect strangers before our formal meeting before the interview.
Imagine if she were the President! I would die of overwhelming emotions I did not even know I possessed if the first female president of this country returned my call or texted me back! I mean, really. We are not there yet, but you get my drift?
Due to her busy schedule, of course, we had to tweak and twist her schedule here and there via texts even over the weekends, so she could squeeze me into her busy week ahead. I remember bragging to my daughter the previous weekend, “Baby, guess who just texted me back? The Prime Minister of the Republic of Flippin Namibia, baby!” She was like, “Wooooooooooooooow!” And I was like, “Indeed, girlfriend!”
Moreover, yes, she uses the “SMS Language” all accompanied with the likes of “K”, etc.!
I was in flats when I got to the OPM premises and felt a bit intimidated with politicians hanging around the Parliament building. She was still in Parliament when I arrived, so I asked at the reception if I’d wait for her.
“I have an appointment with Madam Prime Minister,” I told the serious-faced man at the reception. That felt so good coming out of my mouth, that I wanted to say it again before the receptionist stopped me with a quick, “Take a seat.”
I decided to text the PM that I was indeed at the reception, although late for our meeting, having got lost (I know… don’t you judge me). She replied, “K. Still @ Parliament. Cmng.” Aha, I know… J
After a few minutes, the receptionist’s behaviour changed. He was warmer in his regard towards me. Did he think I was lying about having an appointment with Madam Prime Minister at 15h00? How dare he, I thought. Then I couldn’t wipe the smirk off my face with an “in your face” smile at the receptionist as he walked me to the second floor where I was ushered into the boardroom I would be interviewing the PM.
At this point, I was in my six-inch heels and [as any woman would tell you] feeling very, very confident as I tapped the floor away.
Five minutes in the boardroom, the most powerful female political figure in this country was standing with a huge smile on her very pretty face. Gosh, she is prettier than she looks on TV or the papers (I know, celeb-struck-moment). I didn’t know whether to shake her hands or hug her. A hug would be pretty awkward, so I obviously reached for her already extended hand. She was all in, and she could not hide it. I was in awe.
The first thing she said was; “Believe it or not, I was expecting an older meme. You’re pretty young. Commendable!” And bam, I wanted to hug her!
I mean, I expected bouncers to be standing at the corner of the room, or stopping me from shaking her hand or looking at me funny if I had a goofy smile on my face, but it was just mighty Saara and I in the room, with the occasional, “Ma’am, they will be ready for in a few minutes” and “Ma’am, State House is waiting.” Felt like some Olivia Pope episode!
Therefore, after she asked me how I came to this point of starting my own online magazine, the spotlight was back on her…
Read her interview in the next post.
I hope she inspires you as she did me, with her story.
Happy reading and remember, motherhood goes beyond Mothers’ Day!
“At work, you think of the children you have left at home.
At home, you think of the work you’ve left unfinished. Such a struggle is unleashed within yourself. Your heart is rent.” – Golda Meir