My Experience as a DaaD Student in Windhoek (Namibia University of Science and Technology(NUST))
MS MAMOQENELO PRISCILLA MOROLONG
MASTER OF COMPUTER SCIENCE NQF: 9
Often a times poverty contributes more to children and people not having an opportunity to further their studies or rather to achieve their dreams. The financial crises encountered by most people have proven to be an obstacle to achieving one’s dreams. A lot of young people have got beautiful dreams that can change our Africa and aid in achieving our agenda 2063 however the socio-economic challenges faced by our continent are fueling to lack and poor education hence the increased poverty we are faced with.
Coupled with poverty, ignorance has proven to be one more obstacle from realizing one’s dreams. With ignorance, it becomes difficult to know what the world has got for us. Worst of it, lack of access to resources such as the internet hinders one to be exposed to global issues. But how do I speak of global opportunities when family responsibilities and the need to provide for a family is all that occupies a graduand mind?
There is a whole lot of struggles hindering one to further their studies, but for some when the opportunity hits, they leave all and follow their hearts' desires. It takes courage to make such a decision as leaving a family behind to achieve one's dreams, the criticism from the family members and the community members who never understand ones desires make it such a horrible thing to take such decisions, but despite all that criticism there are a few who understands and support the desires.
From the beginning of 2015, the desire to further my studies hit but reality would not allow that to happen, the only way of funding studies I knew was the study loan from the Lesotho National Manpower, with the already existing loan for my undergrad it became so hard to think of where to seek a scholarship from. I was aware that there was an Indian scholarship for Basotho but was not aware that. It was only for government officials. After receiving the rejection letter from the first trial, I knew I had to search for more.
Until one day I received a link regarding the Namibia University of Science and technology DAAD scholarship, I knew I had to try, but reality hit again. How will I leave all the haphazard things? But the desire to leave the comfort zone also hit and then I took a leap of faith and drafted my applications and submitted. Well they say where there is a wish there is always a will and it happened, I got selected and became one of the 8 first cohorts of the DAAD scholars at NUST in the faculty of computing and informatics. What an excitement?
Imaginations started flocking my mind, visualizing my life as a student at a University in Namibia, believe me, I had all the good thoughts and imaginations about my two years as a student. That day to leave my beloved family members approached and got myself ready for a new adventure.
My new life began without hesitation, I met my supervisor and other DAAD 2018 students and made friends. Having left school in 2011, I had to readjust my mind and thinking. I had to reprogram my thinking, but it was not that bad as I had more than just supervisors; Prof Fungai Bhunu Shava and Dr. Attlee Gamundani. They mentored me and showed me the way and I felt more than welcome at NUST. They made my study struggle bearable.
I got myself engaged in a couple of activities; well I honestly loved the exposure. I enjoyed being amid intellectuals with beautiful ideas. I became part of the NUST cybersecurity team and loved the learning associated with the pieces of training. I participated in a couple of workshops and conferences organized by our faculty, internet society and Ministry of ICT. The amount of learning I did in Namibia cannot be compared to anything, my head Is heavily pregnant with information.
Do not forget that I enrolled for a Master of Computer Science measuring with digital forensics. The mystery behind digital forensics is that it is hardly separatable from information security and cybersecurity. I ended up being more on cybersecurity than DF, however, my desire to one day utilize computers to fight cyber-crime and corruption in Africa stood out and I pursued that through my thesis. The desire to use technology to investigate cybercrimes even though I looked at the policy side of it was elevated. I found myself delving more on cybersecurity, networking where I took CCNA classes and assisted with lecturing some network security, CCNA, information security and mobile forensics classes. What an added skill? Since I was doing my masters with research, I learned to organize my days and balanced my time to an extent I had time to volunteer with the Namibia Internet Society Chapter on their regular ICT related workshops and conferences.
My research was titled “Designing a BYOD Real-Time Digital forensic investigation framework for Data leakage through mobile devices”, where I carried out a case study with one Anti-corruption agency in my motherland and focused more on Android device security risks when used to perform work-related activities. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) simply means usage of personally owned mobile devices for work-related activities while at the same time they are used for personal purposes. The study discovered the risks involved with the trend, the solutions and experimented with how android devices leak data unnoticeably and I finally came up with a framework that serves as a guide for organizations to properly manage and implement BYOD and how to carry out the digital forensic investigations at real-time. I fell in love with my research and that made the journey very interesting.
I did not only learn academic things but I also learned about Namibia’s diverse tribes, I made Vambo friends and learned a little bit of Oshiwambo like (Oatokelwaponao meme meaning good evening madam, Olipeni meaning where are you and Tangi unene meaning thank you so much), met gorgeous Himba ladies, made Herero friends and learned to eat meat like Herero’s. I could not miss Namibia’s Kapana (Braaied Beef) and honestly, I enjoyed going out for Kapana on some good days.
It wasn’t so difficult for me to adjust to the City life (Windhoek) except for the expensive accommodation as compared to Maseru however the struggle wasn’t that much and I slowly adjusted and adopted to Windhoek life, thanks to Ms. Rachel Amundaba who became my biggest sister and exposed me to Windhoek life and showed me most corners of Windhoek. I like the Structure of the city itself, the well-structured road infrastructure and the cleanliness of the whole city. I enjoyed every single moment of mountain Hiking Saturday mornings and movie outing we did with my landlady. The only thing I did not like about Windhoek was the way foreigners were treated by the ministry of home affairs. It was always one lengthy and stressful journey to acquire a study permit and that happened for the whole of the two years I had to apply for the permit. It made my life a bit of misery I hated going to that place. However, with the help of the international relations office, the process was a little bit bearable. I just wish the government can improve the home affairs system to make it bearable for foreigners.
I also did not have any problems with the food as they are no different from what we eat in Lesotho except for mahangu (Vamob’s pap made from millet) and mopane worms which I did not like. I loved the abundance of dried meat sold around the informal settlements of the city of Windhoek. What was a bit different was, I could not eat motoho, our sweet soft maize (Lehoetla) and moroho but otherwise I enjoyed the Tilapia fish and other food I had?
To sum everything up, DAAD made me achieve my dream to further my studies and I am more than grateful for being one of the first intakes of DAAD students with the NUST Faculty of Computing and Informatics. Namibia became my second home, and I am back home with a Master's degree and a lot of knowledge, skills and experience from NUST.