Okondjatu’s Oldtjohn a good example of early training

19 May 2016 15:30pm
By Paulus Shiku
WINDHOEK, 19 MAY (NAMPA) – The sight of a boy filling a car with petrol at a fuel station in the capital raises my curiosity.
It is still holiday for public schools in Namibia, but it is still rare to see a boy checking vehicles’ tyre pressure and clean windows.
Uaurika ‘Oldtjohn’ Kandjoze, 14, says he is here to develop skills and gain experience at an early age so that when the time comes for him to access the job market, he can get employment easily.
“I advise other children to get holiday jobs and avoid being too dependent on their parents as they (parents) have a lot to pay for. It also helps them (children) to gain experience,” he tells Nampa while checking the engine oil of a client's car.
Most of his peers are at home not doing much, but this Grade 8 learner of the Okondjatu Combined School in Otjozondjupa Region is in Windhoek for the holidays to gain practical skills, and the manager of Riverside Total Service Station in Windhoek’s Eros suburb was kind enough to take him in.
He started work as a trainee petrol attendant on 05 May and will be here for two weeks.
The third of five children, Oldtjohn’s unique nickname comes from that of South African football defender Mbulelo ‘Old John’ Mabizela, who his father is a fan of.
The 14-year-old says he works to get paid and buy books and clothes to look 'smart' when he returns to Okondjatu after the holiday.
He was quick to mention that he also learns how to interact with different people he serves at the service station, in view of his aspiration to become a doctor in future.
“I want to be a doctor so I can treat people, especially those living with HIV/AIDS. I want people to be healthy,” said a focused Kandjoze.
After his holiday job, Kandjoze will receive a reference letter from station manager Oliver Rooi.
Recognition should go to his father, Pakkie Kandjoze, a man who takes time to guide and groom his son in the way he thinks a young man should be raised.
Pakkie, who has been working for Total for 20 years and at Riverside for four years, approached his management with the request for a holiday job for his son.
“I do not want my son to end up at shebeens drinking or stealing. This is why I keep him close to me, to guide him and make the best out of him,” Pakkie told Nampa while servicing cars at the fuel station.
He said while working together, he teaches his son how to handle money and operate a speed-point machine.
“I also use the opportunity to thank my employer for giving us a chance to work here; work is very scarce and we are grateful that we are here,” he said.
Rooi said the boy is welcome to return to work every holiday should he wish to do so.
“As management, we think it is good for him to get training which will help him get a job one day,” he said, adding that this is somehow part of giving back to long-time employee Pakkie.
The young boy's determination is surely a reminder to everyone, including politicians who have called for it, and businesspeople, that young people need practical skills to build this country.
Lack of practical experience is worse for those who fail or drop out of Grade 10 and 12 in finding jobs.
On leaving the station I wish 'Oldtjohn' luck in his envisaged medical career to help build a healthy 'Namibian house'.