Namibian Businesswoman Awards reach stunning climax with new winners
The Managing Director of Old Mutual Short-term Insurance, Nangula Kauluma is the new Namibian Businesswoman of the Year.
She scooped the award and the title at a glamorous gala banquet on Wednesday evening, 18 October 2017, when more than 430 of Namibia’s Who’s Who descended on the Safari Court Conference Centre in Windhoek to witness the momentous occasion. Nangula is also the Corporate & Private Sector category winner.
The evening’s anticipation level gradually rose as all finalists came to the stage, one by one, introduced to the elect audience in a short video of each candidate’s achievements. After announcing the category winners, a restless gathering realised it was now down to three individuals.
The winner in the Community & Government category is Louise Shixwameni, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Enterprises. Among the business owners, the winner’s banner is carried by Irene Simeon-Kurtz, Chief Executive of the Steelform Group and owner of Usakos Engen.
Taking the podium just before the grand announcement, the previous Namibian Businesswoman of the Year, Baronice Hans, enlightened the audience about the road she has travelled since winning this title in 2015. Running through the list of new experiences and exposures, Baronice said it was an incredible journey, one she could never imagine when she first agreed to be nominated for this business accolade. Giving glory to God for all that she has accomplished, Baronice then said she has grown professionally and privately in ways she never thought possible.
At this point, Master of Ceremonies Chops Tshoopara of RadioWave called PwC auditor, Talita Horn to the front to present the envelope with the name of the winner to Baronice, who then had the honour of reading out the name. At the moment of the announcement, mild pandemonium broke out in the large conference hall as Nangula’s many supporters showed their appreciation for her endurance to take her to the end of the protracted awards adjudication process.
A stunned Nangula returned to the stage while the crowd’s din continued to drown out all other sound, even the very load fanfare played by the sound crew. She was welcomed to the stage as the new Namibian Businesswoman of the Year where Baronice was the first to congratulate her as her successor. In front of a battery of flashing cameras, Nangula received the official marking of her new status, a specially designed personalised trophy from the awards organiser and Marketing Manager of the Economist, Desère Lundon-Muller, and the editor, Daniel Steinmann. The latter jokingly said he will have to tie Nangula to the floor with a rope as she was obviously floating a few feet above ground.
Ripping out her telephone, Nangula immediately impressed upon the audience why she is a business leader. Being fully prepared, she had her acceptance speech saved on the phone.
Thanking her life’s support structure consisting of close family and friends, she paid special tribute to those dear to her saying that her journey in life was not of her own achievement. “At twenty I was pregnant and about to become a college dropout when my very special friend encouraged me to come back to school. That was a turning point in my life,” she said.
“Ever since, I have enjoyed the most unbelievable support from my mother and loyalty from my brother and sister,” said Nangula while gratefully acknowledging the very important role her late father has played in her life.
An emotional Nangula concluded with “I want to help other women achieve their goals through an extensive mentoring programme which I intend to formalise based on the work I have already done in this regard.”
Caption: The moment of glory for Nangula Kauluma (centre) as she is congratulated by the Economist Marketing Manager, Desèré Lundon-Muller and editor Daniel Steinmann. (Photograph by Theunis Duvenhage of Litchi Photography)