Ovanatje WoVaHererö vaya koouye wopendje nu Veyama ozonganda

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When the thrill of adventure called this Namibian, she wrapped her pride of her country and culture around her snugly and answered with resounding “ek kom aan! (coming!)”

The amazing journey and lifestyle of Namibian author Nduvaa Nguaiko begins in the streets of Namibia and carries her all the way over the seas, never once forgetting her magnificent roots and where she comes from.

We were able to ask a few questions of this accomplished lady, and given the beauty of her responses we urge that you take a read!

Q. Take us through your journey; marriage, kids, career, life aspirations?

A. In a serendipitous twist of fate, I found myself embarking on an exhilarating journey through life. At the age of 35, I joined hands in matrimony with the love of my life, a true Chicagoan through and through.

Our bond was strong, and after three years of love and togetherness, we decided to tie the knot. From this beautiful union, our firstborn son was welcomed into the world, and we named him Vaja Vejama Calhoun, a name that carries a profound meaning:

“ovanatje woVaherero Vaya kouye wopendje nu Veyama ozonganda.” With joy in our hearts, we watched him grow and blossom.

The joys of parenthood knew no bounds, and at the age of 43, we were blessed once more, this time with a precious baby girl named Keya Tiree Calhoun. Her name holds a special significance, as it means “baby girl has arrived (Keya) and Tiree muhona.” She filled our lives with even more happiness and love. Yet, the path of raising children without the guidance of grandparents proved to be both rewarding and challenging.

We have learned that life’s unexpected moments often lead to the most fulfilling experiences, so we embraced the challenges, celebrated the triumphs, and cherished the memories we created as a family.

Our love for one another and our children grew stronger with each passing day, and we were grateful for the life we had built together.

In the face of adversity, we found resilience; in moments of doubt, we found strength; and in the laughter of our children, we found pure joy.

As we continued on this incredible adventure, we held onto the belief that the love and care we invested in our family would sow the seeds for a future filled with even greater happiness and success.

And so, with hope in our hearts and love in our souls, we looked forward to the many chapters that awaited us in this unplanned, yet profoundly exciting life experience.

Q. What motivated you to leave your country at a young age, and how did this decision shape your future?

A. I left Namibia driven by the allure of being with my first love who had traveled “overseas” and promised we’d be reunited one day.

Securing my parents’ approval was essential, as they held my well-being and future in their hearts. With their full support, I embarked on this journey, instilling in me a deep appreciation for family and my country.

Q. Reflecting on your own experiences, how did your cultural background and support system play a role in your journey, especially having left at a young age?

A. Growing up, my cultural background emphasised the significance of extended family and our cherished traditions. When I arrived in the USA, I was welcomed into a supportive community that embraced me as a little sister.

The cultural values I carried with me helped me adapt easily and find a sense of belonging in a foreign land.

Q. What was the inspiration behind your most memorable work; the Herero/English dictionary translation? How did you bring this project to life while living in the diaspora?

A. The Herero/English dictionary project was a labor of love and inspiration. Recognising the lack of comprehensive resources for both languages, I sought to bridge the gap. Collaborating with others, I brought the dictionary to life, preserving our language and culture for generations to come.


Q.You also write children’s stories, how do you navigate the balance between combating cultural subjugation and promoting cultural diversity and inclusivity? What strategies do you employ to ensure your work is both educational and enjoyable for young readers?

A. My passion lies in writing books that promote cultural diversity and education. Embracing my multicultural marriage and rich heritage, I create children’s books that celebrate our customs and traditions. By wearing my traditional attire proudly, I ignite curiosity and interest in the minds of young readers.

Q. Do you believe investing time in reading books as parents can be beneficial for children? How have you seen the impact of reading on children’s development through your own work?

A. As parents, investing time in reading books can profoundly benefit children!

Reading is the cornerstone of learning, enabling children to excel in various subjects. Through my work, I’ve witnessed how early readers gain advantages in comprehension and research skills, setting them on a path to success.

Q. What were the defining moments during your journey as a writer that particularly stood out to you?

A. My journey as a writer presented multiple challenges, from limited resources to doubts from the community.

However, these obstacles strengthened my resolve.

Completing the dictionary and writing children’s stories fueled my determination to make a difference.

Q. Did you discover any unique aspects of the Herero language during the process of translating the Herero/English dictionary? Did you make any interesting discoveries?

A. Translating the Herero/English dictionary exposed me to unique aspects of the Otjiherero language.

New grammatical adaptations and borrowed words brought both excitement and challenges to preserve the essence of the language.

Q.Do you see a future where your writing labor of love turns into a widespread reading phenomenon, and does this possibility align with your overall goals and dreams as a writer?

A. I firmly believe in the potential for my writing to reach a vast audience.

Eliminating bureaucratic hurdles and supporting writers can make this vision a reality, especially if schools embrace these books for widespread readership.

Q. Despite living in the diaspora, you have continuously returned to your home country. What is it about Namibia that makes you believe you still belong there?

A. Despite living in the diaspora, Namibia remains my home. It is where my ancestors rest, and my strong connection to my roots fuels my sense of belonging.

Q. What do you envision your role being, as a writer and influencer, in shaping a brighter future for all?

A.T o contribute to futuristic communities, I aim to write more children’s books and engage in community service.

Supporting developmental projects and collaborating with schools will help shape a brighter future for all. As Namibians emigrate and set up homes and make lives all over the globe, the thing that continually keeps us longing for home is community and the unique sense of being sons and daughters of the soil of the Land of the Brave.

Equally, we become more acutely aware of our ability to be able to assist our communities in many ways that we might have overlooked or turned a blind eye to, while living in the country.

We may decide to render this service from abroad or we may return home.

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We may decide to render this service from abroad or we may return home. Nduvaa Nguaiko has been able to do both.

We will be keeping an eye out for more Herero language exploits and inroads made by Mrs Nguaiko.

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