There are a lot of things said about petite people, especially women; such as “a penguin cannot be a giraffe, so just be the best penguin you can be”, or “when the petite size is still too big…”,
That was the impression I got when I first came across the mayor of Okahandja, Her Worship Valerie Ndakondja Aron along an office hallway at my previous job. We barely had a conversation because she was attending an important meeting with the bosses, and well… the rest is history.
When I landed her for this platform, I learnt more about her than had met my eye in the first place. So meet this product of the Polytechnic of Namibia who graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Business Studies.
Beside chasing her political dreams, she has been running her own business for the past 15 years and serves as a member of the Board of Directors at Juventus Enterprises (Pty) Ltd. She also serves in various strategic leadership positions across the board in Namibia.
I’m inspired by women like these. As Shakespeare put it; “And though she be but little, she is fierce!” Yeeeessss!
This hardworking career mother, who in spite of her achievements is down to earth, doesn’t think the ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ biblical upbringing is always necessary – “That kind of upbringing is not even in my vocabulary, because although I was not brought up spoiled, I had a proper rearing.”
With that kind of mindset, many, even those who consider themselves modern, wouldn’t handle some of the touchy subjects contemporary life presents, such as homosexuality among others. So what would Valerie do if her child came home one day to announce they’re gay?
“Life in general is filled with its own dynamics; every situation must be handled on its own merit. I would cross that bridge if ever I got to it. It isn’t a subject even a perfect mother sleeps at night thinking about. If anything, there isn’t any such thing as a perfect mother. I mean, as moms, all we can do is our best. Therefore, only a best mom exists.”
So with a seemingly hectic life, how does she manage to balance it all?
“Every mother, I believe, is a multi-task human being by nature. One just has to make it work through proper time management for each activity, especially because motherhood, for any female leader, is a unique blessing.”
Being a pretty driven individual, hard work and the importance of self-reliance are part of the legacy she would like to leave her children, she says.
“Mothers are naturally hard workers and if every world leader were female, it would prosper because we can handle pain in this broken life we live.”
That’s why when asked what her thoughts are on modern single-motherhood where there’s a likelihood of every form of abuse on the mother and children, she says: “I encourage such women to spot the difference between love and abuse. To better understand or know whether they are being abused or loved. I, for one, was a teenage mother whom life experiences taught to value education more than my peers. I eventually pursued further studies after all the mishaps that came with that period of my life and today, I am a proud career mother with an appetite for self-improvement. That never stops, you know. So don’t you give up, woman!
“Improve yourself so that you’re not stuck in an abusive relationship, just because your abusive partner is the sole provider and you wouldn’t put food on the table if you left. There isn’t a moment in life you would say, ‘I don’t/didn’t have a choice’. We all have a choice to make in every circumstance, especially where kids are involved. So cheer up, lady. You’re made for greatness, but you have to claim it!”
If Valerie had the power to help the less privileged, especially the children, she would pay for their education because; “I strongly believe knowledge is power. Every mother possesses some kind of platform that would motivate her to share her experiences and learn from the next one’s situation. And children are always in the middle of it all, you know.
“I have personally been through life experiences that totally changed my life forever. When there were no funds available for me to further my studies on a full time basis, I had to work and study part time while taking care of my little one. That part of my life humbled me in so many ways. It taught me not to take any moment of life for granted, because we only live once, you know. It taught me that motherhood may have no awards or price tags but it’s the most rewarding aspect of every mother’s life, in most cases.
“In my several leadership positions, I have ensured mothers are the most valued assets, because they carry onto the bigger picture and if I ruled the world, being the compassionate and maternal person that I am, it would be the best for everybody to live in. My rules would be made in the best interest of everyone and my influence would be felt in every positive way.”
As a parting shot, this is what Valerie had to tell the struggling single mother in an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship: “If you don’t have it yet, find the strength that is deep within you to boldly address the situation in a way that would eventually liberate you and your children and inspire the next woman in a similar situation.”