IN ‘Kuchoa – The Untold Truth’, author Ottilie Ndinelao Haitota narrates her life experiences and the personal philosophies she developed through many challenges and hardships.
The 72-page booklet begins with an overview of southern African history, paying particular attention to trading along the coast of Angola and eventually inland in Namibia, and how it shaped developments in the region.
Haitota also relates her mother’s early life during the war in Angola, as well as the trauma she endured at the age of 15 when she witnessed her mother’s death after being shot by Unita soldiers.
“For safety, my mother ran for cover, leaving her mother and the eight-month-old baby in a pool of blood.”
Haitota writes of the bitterness of the war and how her mother was forced to survive.
“People were chased day and night, their homesteads and livestock looted. Young men and women were kidnapped, some conscripted into the force …”
During this time, families suspected of supporting Swapo and MPLA guerrilla fighters were beaten, their houses burned and they were pursued and shot with rubber bullets.
The chaos saw her mother fleeing Angola on foot as part of a group of “fearless men and women” in the middle of the night.
“My mother and a few young girls cried throughout their journey. They were tired, thirsty and hungry. People were shouting at them to keep quiet and threatened to abandon them in the middle of nowhere if they continued to cry… Her feet were full of sores, and it took them two days to arrive in Ondjiva,” writes Haitota.
Born in 1997, Haitota walked to school daily, where she was taught under a tree in the village of Okambuwa, receiving a strong educational foundation from various noble and inspirational teachers.
However, she describes her village as dangerous, where “village guys were always craving for young girls”.
At the age of 14, Haitota lost her father, which thrust her into the “agony of being raised by a single, unemployed mother”.
She describes her mother as a “woman of God, a prayer warrior and my best friend”.
Despite never going to bed hungry, Haitota writes how she was judged for not having the security and support of her father, which led to her failing Grade 10.
However, she was determined not to allow her insecurities to overcome her, rewriting her Grade 10 exams and passing with 29 points.
Her determination eventually saw her qualifying for university.
Every day she would walk from the old Ongwediva to the International University of Management campus.
“What I went through in life made me realise life is not easy, but what matters most is to persevere, work hard and never give up.”
Chapter six is particularly motivational, in which Haitota encourages young people to stay focussed on their dreams.
She writes that after completing her tertiary education, she joined “the sea of unemployed graduates”, during which time she was inspired by the famous John F Kennedy quote “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”.
She joined the Independent Patriots for Change and, amid many challenges, political mockery and intimidation, she was selected as an IPC local government councillor.
Her political work has given her much insight into Namibia’s myriad challenges, such as the poor education and health system, rampant unemployment, corruption, and tribalism.
Haitota has put her very interesting and inspirational story on paper, which is something fellow Namibian youths can undoubtedly learn from, and while ‘Kuchoa’ was certainly an engaging read, the booklet would have benefited greatly from an expert editor.
For more information or to buy a copy, contact [email protected]