“Why did you do it if you loved him so much?”
Those are the words of the grieving mother of the four-year-old, Atinestius Simbo, whose father bashed his head on the floor to death a fortnight ago as he pleaded with the man begging, “I’m sorry papa”.
I cannot imagine what Stella Fatima Simbo, the boy’s mother, must have felt at the revelation of her son’s untimely, gruesome death in the hands of the man he had known as daddy all his short life. How do you get over the murder of your own toddler by his own father? Can I just say this country is going to sh$t?
And it’s not just this country, sadly; this happens somewhere in the world at least every day – talk about life’s occurrences that leave you with goose bumps!
It escapes me why a man would [apparently] be a “loving father who spoils his child rotten” one moment and the next, he bashes the defenseless child’s head to death against the floor because of neighborhood rumors that the boy isn’t his!
This is all I’m going to say about this at this point because as a mother, it hurts me in the stomach and I’m reduced to tears at the sound of such stories; the mention of such fathers. I mean, really, what makes a father do something so horrific to a child he’s has taken care of since birth?
But see, as the saying now goes; “Let the Namibian man be”. In other words; don’t get involved with a Namibian man ‘cause well, they’re not the best human beings in the world, if I’m being polite. Unfortunately, the buck doesn’t stop with Namibian men. I know non-Namibian men who justify their unfortunate existence and waste of human space a.k.a manhood only when they’re oppressing women and children. To such kind of men, please read about the men on this site and learn about what it means to be a father. Not a sperm donor, but a great dad.
From the Finance Minister, Calle Schlettwein, to Development Bank of Namibia (DBN)’s communications manager, Jerome Mutumba, and a few more, the inspiration to pursue greatness is here…
Today, we meet Jerome Mutumba.
Don’t let the shiny sleek suits Jerome wears fool you. Underneath it all, he is the kind of father who would blow off a business meeting to make it to a lunch-hour father-daughter date with his lovely girls. Talk about “daddy duty-calls…” And did I say Jerome is a very, very sensitive man?
Conducting this interview was one of the most refreshing ones I’ve had in a while, because it was more a rendezvous – a conversation, if you will. We simply chatted it away and in the process, here’s what I learnt about this man whose valuable contribution to DBN is invaluable and from whose journey any father can draw a lesson or two…
“I’m just a village boy enjoying the city life and all its trappings. From Zambezi to Illinois (USA) and the Netherlands and other parts of the world, I’m a traveler,” he enthused adding, “People find me mysterious, you know. And I’ll admit, I have spilt personalities; the one the public has created and the private guy who only lets a few people into his circle. I like to walk into a party unnoticed, which doesn’t always work out fine for me, but oh well, it’s the life I’ve chosen, right?”
This man is grounded – not the kind of person who would be swayed by, I don’t know, the sort of peer pressure that would make a man doubt the authentication of his own child like the father above. It’s all in sticking by one’s principles, family values and what not, he says.
“My parents stayed together until dad passed away five years ago, and that stuck on me. I don’t ever want to divorce my wife because we have apparently fallen out love. It’s unAfrican, if you will, to just wake up one day and say, ‘I’m getting a divorce’. I’m therefore a very conservative, sensitive, caring yet ambition individual whose upbringing wouldn’t let him puff on cigars just because it’s ‘cool’. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not arrogant, I’m just confident.”
Most people ‘learn on the job’, but Jerome’s values of transparency and integrity make him an invaluable asset to DBN and a great dad to his children, because that’s the kind of legacy he’d like to leave them – a life of transparency and integrity. And the man can cook!
“When I’m not home cooking and enjoying family time, I dance. I cook everything but pap (corn meal) and I like to party, so I like to go out dancing, but that isn’t always easy to do in Namibia, because our social space is impossibly immature. You could go out, enjoy someone else’s company and make them feel good about themselves by complimenting them only to be misunderstood as the ‘flirty guy’, you know. Whatever happened to just accepting a compliment from a nice guy. I’m nice, or at least I like to think so. I’m the nice guy who loves his wife and puts family first before all the privileges that come with my job and other business interests.”
Public ignorance costs us much as a people; what with gender-based violence and child killings and what not. It is all lack of appropriate knowledge in the basics of life as we know it, according to Jerome.
“Public ignorance makes me sad. As a communicator, it is gratifying for me to be on the same level as the general public in such a way that we could both agree to disagree on matters of importance, so that I can understand what they need and not what the books tell me they need. They deserve to know what I know as a communicator, and not what I think they should know, if I’m making sense.”
This once college father has learnt a few lessons from fatherhood that help him get by at work and at home; “I had my first child when I was barely past teenage hood and that said, I think it would be grossly hypocritical of me if one day my child came home pregnant or gay or whatever. I don’t how I would handle it yet, but I assure you, I would still be the same loving and supportive father to my child. I reason with my kids. Never had to spank them, because I learnt a long time ago to never underestimate the power of my children’s cognitive abilities. I engage them in constructive dialogues of, say, pros and cons of drinking and how it erodes one’s cognitive faculty, etc., and I like to believe they’ve been brought up the best way their mother and I could have. ‘Nuff said!”
Bet the blank expression on my face was priceless before he added: “I like to surround myself with ambitious people and although I’m not naïve to the fact that overly ambitious people can suck life out of you, I still instill ambition in my girls. I got that from dad. He always said ‘you’re as good as you can be, don’t ever feel less’.
“I’ve also learnt that in my line of work, people will always seek unwarranted publicity and ride on one’s name, as would children except with zero maliciousness, you know. So I’ve learnt that I don’t always have to give people their ‘three minutes of fame’ on my account if they don’t deserve it.
“It’s unfortunate how people do not understand power dynamics; as do children who weigh on whose side it is best to stay on in every situation – on mom’s or dad’s side. Please understand, the CEO isn’t the most powerful person in an organization. You have to make good with the smaller people, for instance, the one person whose opinion the CEO values in the company – could be anyone. That’s the person you should make good with, because if that person doesn’t like you, they would influence the CEO’s decision about whatever your proposal may be towards the company, etc.
“But the father in me lets his guard down every now and then at work to truly care about those with whom I work. I don’t let my position in this organization dictate how I treat people or even my colleagues. They aren’t my subordinates, they’re colleagues I consider family.
“Since I also pursue other personal business ventures and thus deal with a great number of people on a daily basis, I give them my very best in a fairly dignified, fatherly manner, or at least I like to think that’s how it is.”
With gender-based violence that has become some sort of evil spirit taking control of this country, what’s Jerome’s take in it all and what would he do differently if he were, say, the president?
“I weep at the sound of gender-based violence. It breaks my heart and disgusts me at the same time why any man would lay a hand on a woman or a child. Like really, how pathetic do you feel about yourself that you’d have to mistreat defenseless fellow human beings just to boost your rotten ego?
“The medieval knights who bequeathed us their code stated; ‘Manners maketh man’. In other words, good manners cost nothing. It doesn’t make you any less of a man to treat women and children with love and respect. In fact, you’ll often receive what you give unless of course you’re dealing with psychotic women.
“That said, in my perfect world in which I’d be the president of this country or better yet, ruled the world, I’d ensure women and children were treated with love and respect. I’d make sure no child slaved away. I’d ensure every child had a proper place to call home, equipped with all the basic resources. I’d ensure each child had proper education. I’d ensure every woman made a decent living, and I’d ensure democracy wasn’t abused in the name of freedom of whatever.
“In the Namibian set up, I would stop NHE from building houses, because people need serviced land. I’d introduce mass servicing of land and let people work hard to build their own houses at their own costs. Believe me, that way, you would have even the low-income earners working hard to get a piece of land. What NHE has done is help the middle-class who could well afford the housing instead of the people it was meant to focus on from the get-go.
“For instance, my gardener, Lukas, had N$19,000 and instead of investing in something as worthwhile as land, he saved to buy a bukkie. He could have bought land of, say, 300sqm, built a house after a couple of years and then used that house as collateral to access loans from banks to start a successful business of some sort. Point is; if we serviced land and gave it to people at reasonable prices, it would go a long way and we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about the Affirmative Repositioning (AR)’s July 31st deadline, now would we?
“Given my banking background, I know that the people who save the most are the average people like Lukas. Target those and you’d be well on the road to a prosperous country.”
As you’ve learnt, when Jerome isn’t talking about collateral, impairments and how bad debts are an inherent risk in a bank’s business, etc., “I party in Johannesburg, Cape Town, London and recently Lisbon, because I can be Jerome Mutumba and not DBN’s communication manager. I work hard and play hard, baby!”