Know your public servant – There is more to public service than money

Most young people, including university graduates, are often reluctant to enter the civil service because they believe it is not well paid. But Fourie Nhoni-Shuuya warns young people that public service jobs are not just about money.

Nhoni-Shuuya urges young people to pursue careers in government as it is the only sector that offers a sense of financial security and employment. It is also honorable to serve the general public.

“The government, as an employer, promotes people and provides them with opportunities for growth through scholarships and bursaries,” she said.

Nhoni-Shuuya is an administrative officer in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture based at Westmont High School in Windhoek.

She is responsible for an array of duties which include filing, answering phone calls, sending emails and maintaining records, while always maintaining a sense of professionalism and a polite disposition.

She is also in charge of the school’s finances and provides reports to the auditors.

Her role at the school is more like that of a liaison officer, as she is also responsible for managing communication between the school and all relevant stakeholders, including parents, the community and the ministry.

Nhoni-Shuuya, who was born in the Omusati region, studied journalism and communication at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She also holds a secondary education degree from the University of Namibia (Unam).

Why the public service?

Nhoni-Shuuya, mother and wife, joined the civil service in 2016 after a casual job in the retail sector, where she worked for two years.

She says she always wanted to work in government.

“I have always admired all service-oriented men and women, and I have always appreciated and admired those who serve their country,” she noted.

She added that the civil service offers convenient work

environment and benefits, including market-related wages, pension, and medical aid, among other benefits.

Nhoni-Shuuya said she joined the civil service at a time when she had just graduated and needed a job to support herself and her toddler.

A journalism graduate, she says her dream is to find work in the media sector, including working for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation.

However, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy her administrative work.

“What is most satisfying in my job is the stability. All I need is to give my best, meet the expectations of my employers and develop myself further,” she beamed.

Challenges

“Every job has its own set of challenges, and it is our ability to overcome them that defines our level of perseverance, continued Nhoni.

She highlighted the financial aspects of the job, that is, the accounting part and the recording of statistics. “The load I’m exposed to daily has taught me endurance and I’m not afraid of overwork.

Asked about the usefulness of her expertise for the civil service – in particular her school and her ministry – she said: “My expertise is valuable for the ministry because there is transparency in the management of public funds. And also, with my background in communications and experience in customer service, I know how to handle people from all walks of life, which elevates the school.”

Despite the infamous public misconception that government employees are unproductive and slow-moving, Nhoni-Shuuya was quick to disagree and called it “a negative connotation far from the truth.” I totally disagree with this sentiment because it’s a generalization that can’t be tied at all. Personal attributes and strengths differ from individual to individual. I may not be proactive in all areas of my job, but I learn as I go,” she explained.

His future

“I have been in service for six years and am open minded to work when and if something appealing comes my way, I will seize the opportunity with both hands. The possibilities are endless.

“I would like to work in my field of study, which is journalism or communication, perhaps for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies as an information officer, because I know that I I will work with passion and that I will excel at it. Also, I would like to make more business investments and just live better,” Nhoni-Shuuya said.