… Ondobe girl starts a flourishing law firm at the age of 29
TWENTY-NINE year-old Tuwilika Shailemo (TS) has worked hard to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer and starting her own law practice.
Shailemo & Associates, which is based in Ongwediva, was established earlier this year, and specialises in criminal and civil litigations and labour and commercial law matters. It also supplies company secretarial and debt collection services.
Tuwilika was born in Ondobe, Ohangwena region and attended school in Grootfontein and Windhoek repectively. She completed her law studies at the University of Namibia in 2011 and was admitted as a practising lawyer in the Windhoek High Court in 2014.
In an interview with Confidente’s Marianne Nghidengwa (MN), Tuwilika spoke about her law firm, her passion for justice and her love for hitting the gym.
MN: Who is Tuwilika Shailemo?
TS: I am a young, ambitious, hardworking, modest and confident woman.
MN: Briefly tell us about your upbringing? Would you say that played a role in who you are today?
TS: I was raised by my aunt and uncle, Jefta and Rauna Ndinoshiho, who have become parents to me. They imparted instructions and teachings, which have enabled me to be the responsible, disciplined, ambitious and confident young woman that I am today. In terms of education, they gave me a good education and had to make countless sacrifices, for which I am wholeheartedly grateful. My upbringing has played a major role in who I am today.
MN: Congratulations on the establishment of your law firm. How did it come into being?
TS: Sometime last year, I was having a bad day at work, and I text messaged my friend, Sui Generis, because Sui Generis has a sense of humour that is out of this world, and can make one laugh effortlessly. The text said: ‘Our law firm to be formed next year; I will provide 40 percent of the start-up capital, the skills, expertise and Sui Generis to provide 60 percent of the start-up capital. Sui Generis replied that kit is doable. That reply, as well as the support from my family and friends, was enough motivation for me to make Vision 2017 a reality. This clearly affirms that what seems to us as bitter trials, are often blessings in disguise.
The law firm is currently a sole proprietorship, but it is expected to grow in the future. We do criminal and civil litigations, labour law and commercial law, and we offer company secretarial services and debt collection, etc.
MN: What are opportunities and challenges is the law firm facing?
TS: In terms of opportunities, the northern part of Namibia comprises of various towns. However, currently the only law firms are in Ondangwa, Ongwediva, Oshakati and Opuwo. The firm has a great opportunity to expand to other towns.
As for challenges, creating a good clientele base will take time, and with the current economic situation, people only have money to spend on their basic needs, and as such, only a selected few can still afford our services, so creating a good clientele base can is expected to take much longer. In light of the economic situation, it is advisable for people to consult lawyers for their debt collection needs, because once a debt is recovered, they have more money at their disposal.
MN: What triggered your interest in law?
TS: During my journey through life, I have seen my loved ones, and people in general, suffer a great deal of injustice. I wanted to make a difference, and contribute in the little way that I can, and see to it that justice is done.
MN: Looking back, what cases have you worked on that you cherish?
TS: Well, law is reason divorced from emotions (law equals reason minus emotions), and I try not to get my emotions involved in cases. However, I cherish the memory of my first trial as a candidate legal practitioner. My client was charged with two counts of stock theft and he was acquitted. I furthermore cherish the memory of my first trial in the High Court of Namibia, in which my client was charged with murder, and he was convicted of culpable homicide.
MN: What prepared you to go from an admitted lawyer to a law firm owner?
TS: What prepared me to go from an admitted lawyer to a law firm owner is the knowledge I gained from Mr Silas Kishi Shakumu and Mrs Inonge Mainga Sisamu, who are my previous bosses, and the exposure and experience I acquired by running their respective offices. What further prepared me is my determination to do well in my job and have a successful career.
MN: What advice do you have for your fellow women, who aspire to follow in your footsteps?
TS: The starting point of all achievement is desire, and success is the sum of small efforts, which repeated day in and day out.
MN: What don’t people know about you?
TS: I get a lot of satisfaction from performing household chores.
MN: Just what do you do for a little fun?
TS: I go to the gym for fun.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015