HAVE YOU MET MARTHA KAMATI?
Could you please introduce yourself briefly?
Hello, my name is Martha Kamati. I am a young Namibian business analyst and digital SHEro – at least that is how I call myself sometimes. One thing about me is that I always have my mind set on different ideas, some small some big, but eventually they all make a difference. So basically, I am someone who likes being a change maker by pushing the development agenda in Africa.
In three words, please describe your first three months in Germany.
To describe my first three months in Germany in three words I would say “very beautiful” – okay, those are two words – so it’s “beautiful”, “challenging” and “enlightening”.
Which cultural aspect do you find especially interesting?
I notice that people love their beer, sausages, and pommes. Apart from that: There is a culture of literature here, in terms of reading books and being very informed. It is something that is really fascinating to come to a country and everywhere you go someone has a book, someone is talking about what is going on. I am very glad that I find myself in such an area, where I can also move into that direction and to try to read more often.
How do you spend your free time in Bonn?
To be honest, I would say “sleeping” because it is cold in Germany and so I spend most of my time sleeping – as much as that sounds very off. But apart from that, I spent some weekends with my AK10 fellows, we hang out and have a fun time. Because AK is not only about work and meetings, it is also about networking and engaging with other people. Sometimes I also play basketball with some of the fellows. Luckily, I have a court where I stay in Poppelsdorf, and I go play Basketball there sometimes. I also do Graphic Designing, that is something I enjoy really a lot in my free time.
What do you miss most about home?
I would say my family, mostly my grandmother. I honestly miss the sessions were we just sit, talk, laugh and also her giving you all the weird food that you can eat. Being here is kind of lonely, but we have the AK10 fellows that are a family away from home and we have GIZ that is checking up on us.
What was the most important aspect about learning German for you?
What I find interesting is how words have gender, which is feminine and masculine. Some are Dativ and Akkusativ. And trust me, I am still finding my way around that, even if I passed my German exam – thank you very much!
What are opportunities for you to practice German outside the course?
I practice my German skills with some of the fellows. Sometimes I try to speak when I go buy something. For example, I practice outside a shop what I am going to say, and when I go in, I forget the entire practice I had going on outside and I end up asking them if they speak English! 😀
What are your general expectations towards the company phase?
I would say that I expect the first days to be a hand-holding period from my company to take me through what they are currently doing, who is working on what, how the team process is flowing, so that I can understand where they are coming from and what the target is and how I can fit in the team. I think I would really appreciate if they also give me a platform to freely ask questions and if they give me clarifications about the job and what I am supposed to do.
Is there anything which makes you nervous? What would help you to be more confident in this respect?
Talking and people. I have this thing of whenever I start a conversation or someone asks me a question, I get really nervous. But funny enough, and this can be an advantage, when I am extremely nervous my physical appearance or my face do not show that I am nervous, even if I am dying inside.
However, that is something I have been trying to improve. I hope that I am given the opportunity to speak freely, to practice, and to be in an outside environment more often, meeting people, having that platform to communicate without getting nervous or taking a deep breath before I say something.
How do you think you can enrich the partner company?
I can enrich the company with my firsthand knowledge of the way our companies in Africa operate and the experience that I have in finding business solution. They will get a different perspective from an entirely outside source from Africa and obtain different ideas on how to tackle business problems or system problems. That is what I want to bring to the table.
My expectation is that we are able to exchange freely our cultural differences, not only on social level, but also on a business aspect level. So, it is basically just interchanging the cultural aspect between Martha and Boehringer Ingelheim and my team members.
How do you benefit from the contact to the other fellows?
I have noticed that even though we are 54 fellows, we all have different experiences, different backgrounds and different cultures, even if we are all from the same continent. But I realized that all our experience can be helpful to each other. If at some point I need to understand something, I can always call someone up and ask.
We also get to exchange on a personality level: How do fellows deal with people, how do they deal with conflicts, some of these things you observe from a distance and some things you also observe when you are with the person for a cup of coffee.
You get to exchange and then you are sometimes like “Oh, this is how I can handle a situation, this is much better than what I normally do!”
This interview was conducted by Matthias Ogiermann. Matthias was an intern in the AFRIKA KOMMT! programme from October 2021 to March 2022. He studied Geography and Mathematics in Münster, focusing on Development Geography and International Cooperation.
He particularly enjoyed being an intern in the programme since it allowed him to meet many brilliant young leaders and visionaries from Africa and exchange with them about their ideas for sustainable development in both Europe and Africa. When not interning, he is enthusiastic about listening to podcasts and hiking – as a Geographer self-evidently without map and without getting lost.