Otto’s attitude of gratitude, against all odds

Despite having to walk long distances to get to class and ploughing his neighbour’s field to raise funds for registration, Petrus Otto, successfully graduated top of his class, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing.

Otto hails from a small village known as Ombundamuti, in the Omusati region. To be able to look after his parents, like many young Namibians in rural areas, he had to leave his village in pursuit of better opportunities in the city. This is how he ended up in the Okuryangava residential area, one of Windhoek’s high density areas.

Otto was always interested in educating himself, so he enquired about the programmes offered at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). This is when he developed a keen interest in Marketing. He then went on to enroll for a Bachelor of Marketing degree, although at this point he had no idea how he would be able to afford tuition fees, but with help from family, he gradually paid the University.  Fortunately, he had applied for funding through the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF), and in the second semester, his requested was granted.

“I remember how relieved I was when I got the news that NSFAF was going to help me, I felt a very heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders. But, then came the challenge of registration fees. NSFAF funding does not cover registration fees,” Otto said.

“I ploughed fields in my village, to generate an income, but the money was still insufficient. My parents, Max Otto and Suama Nangolo, as well as my elder brother Lucas Otto and my aunt Giselinde Kashindi, pulled their resources together for me to register,” he added.

During his studies, Otto would often walk to campus covering a distance of approximately 10 kilometers to avoid incurring transport costs. He would wake up at 02h30 in order to make it for the 07h30 class. “My slogan in life is - if it does not kill you, it should make you stronger. If you have to eat fat cakes with soup or drink Oros, just to get energy to study, just do it. Your relatives and friends might even mock you for it, but trust me it will all be worth it in the end. Also, seek financial assistance from companies through study loans. Let your academic record do the talking,” he said humbly.

Otto eventually went on to enroll for his second degree, an Honours in Marketing, which he paid for courtesy of a bursary from Shoprite Checkers. He graduated with this qualification earlier this year in April. As part of the agreement of the bursary, after graduation, he was expected to work for the company for at least one year. He is currently an employee of Checkers Maerua as a Trainee Manager. “I have settled in very well and I am really enjoying the experience. I am now able to put theory to practice. My responsibilities include managing the groceries, perishables and service Department,” he said proudly.

Otto concluded by emphasising that his future plans are to further his studies and to one day become an entrepreneur, adding that not everyone can be a job-seeker, “some need to be job creators to alleviate the country’s unemployment challenges.”

Date: 
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
for Month: 
October, 2019

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