Growing up, holiday trips to the small village of Onheleiwa in Northern Namibia were something that my family and I had all become accustomed to. At that point in time, I never really grasped why we all had to be there every single holiday.
At the different primary schools that I had attended, I came across peers who would spend their holidays in South Africa, Madagascar and even Disneyland, an 11-year old’s heaven on earth. Consequently, I often asked myself why we never spent went to these destinations. Right then and there, it dawned on me… I had never even been out of the country. This realisation was the very creation of who I am until date. An inquisitive dreamer who believes that the world is her runway. That is the mantra that keeps me going. That is the mantra that ultimately makes sharing my story worthwhile
The beginning of my life was one marked with humble beginnings.
I was born to a police officer and a teacher. On 21 July 2000, my parents, Kaboy and Bertha Tobias had their first baby girl, and as is culturally appropriate, I was named by my father. He gave me the names Junior Bertha Naveuye. As a girl, growing up with the name Junior presented itself to be quite a challenge, but that is a story for another essay! My parents did the best that they could to give me the best possible start in life. I went to the best school, had the best care and as a bossy little miss, I made my elder half-brother brother, Bobby Tobias, wait on me hand and foot until I was 5. My father had my half-brother before he met my mother. My mother’s loving nature made it easy for Bobby to be absorbed into our seemingly perfect nuclear family.
In 2003, I remember asking my mother for a younger sister who I could teach how to read. I was not interested in playing with dolls and glitter, I just wanted to teach someone how to read and write. Looking back I realise that I could not do any of those things myself, so apparently my plan was not very well thought out. Also, it seems as though I had always had a keen interest in empowerment.
A year later, my wish came true when my sister, Nangula Vision Maija, was born in 23 October 2004. Four-year-old me was ecstatic.
After having demanded to attend kindergarten since the age of 4 when I would see everybody leave in the mornings, my parents finally enrolled me into our local kindergarten, Lady Bugs pre-school. At ‘’school’’, my personality began to emerge as I always found myself at the fore-front of all operations. I always found a way to get two turns instead of one.
This revealed parts such as persuasiveness and autocratic leadership in my character. Since the way back home was a relatively short one, I was expected to walk back home. I found this insane but if I wanted to continue going to school, I would have to walk. I have always been a cautious person, hence, I also found the concept of walking back home rather very terrifying. Since my parents were not going to budge and pick me up everyday I had to find somebody to walk me back me back. So I persuaded an older girl to walk me everyday. Problem solved.
During this time, I was sent to live with my aunt in Windhoek for about 3 months. My mom simply packed my clothes and said I was going to Windhoek. This confused me and when I asked why, she simply said ‘’because your aunt misses you.’’ I knew something was not right, but I knew better than to ask any more questions.
This was when the life I had come to know was completely turned upside down, until date. Fast forward to 2014, my parents had gotten a divorce and my plan was to pretend that it was not a big deal. On the contrary, it was a gargantuan deal! I knew, however, that I had to be the pillar of strength for my family.
That meant postponing my own emotional healing, but I would not change a thing. The appreciation that I have developed for my life story thus far is what inspires me the most. My background has shaped who I am now and will continue to shape who I will be in the future. On a daily basis, I am inspired by the existing image that I have of my future a self. I am worth fighting for and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to make myself proud one day. The knowledge that I have of this concept is what keeps me fuelled to give my very best in all that I do, for myself and for my community.
Moreover, I am inspired by the fact that there is a great destiny waiting to be fulfilled by the small town girl with a vision to impact her society. The potential to be an agent of is what fills me with energy for a new day every day.
By Bertha Tobias