Patrick Hashingola: The complexities of corporate Namibia

Responsible for the communication, both internal and external of Namibia’s leading beverage manufacturer, the Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL), is Patrick Lapitaominda Hashingola.

Hasingola was appointed to this position in 2008, a position whose responsibility he describes as “complex” as he has to facilitate and advise on meaningful communication to NBL’s various stakeholders.

Internally, he is leading a team tasked with implementing an Employee Engagement exercise which seeks to bring the employees and the business on one footing.

For a decade, Hashingola has been roaming the public relations and corporate communications field.

A dozen of those years have been spent in the public relations corridors of Ohlthaver and List (O&L), the parent company to NBL, assuming different positions until he was appointed the Group Manager: Public Relations.

This for a man whose working career started as a junior consultant at Trip Travel shortly after returning from German’s Matthias Hohner AG Trossigen in 1998 where he was an Apprentice Industrial Merchant.

Now 39, his department at NBL comprises of only five people and functions in line with the broader corporate affairs division which includes the company’s corporate social investment.

He regards the company as being on the verge of becoming a high performance company, “a business committed to strong financial performance but at the same time taking a holistic perspective to realise the important role of its employees in achieving this financial goal”.

This is highly achievable, considering that NBL exports to over 27 countries globally, but he sees the major challenge being how best these countries can assist the company while moving forward at the same time. This, in addition to dealing with new markets as well as building new concepts within these new markets.

“Our function fulfils a “boundary role” and ensures that our business is well in touch with its external environment. To fulfil this role, we engage in strategic relationship building with our stakeholders and moreover provide expert advisory services to our internal divisions,” says Hashingola.

NBL products include Windhoek Lager, Windhoek Draught, Tafel Lager Windhoek Light and Heineken which it brews under licence, locally. It also produces juices under the license of the Ceres Beverage Company.

“We have successfully launched our products in many different countries so far and have been in the market for more than 90 years. It’s a reflection of our authentic Reinheitsgebot Purity law, which is a food law that allows only three ingredients in the brewing of alcohol and we have managed to stick to that standard since then.

“March 2010 marked a historic event in the history of NBL having celebrated the Sedibeng Brewery in South Africa where our products are produced under licence for sale, a sure sign that we are poised for growth,” says Hashingola.

Growth and employee satisfaction is now key for a man whose education stretches to as far as East Germany where he spent much of his childhood.

Having returned from East Germany in 1990, he attained the Cape Senior Matric Certificate at the DOWS (Delta School) in Windhoek in 1993 before attending college in Cape Town, South Africa.

“I can describe myself as a struggle child. If it was not for my family members, I would probably not have survived the liberation struggle. I was raised in the SWAPO Kinderheim (children’s home) in Bellin, East Germany where I attended Kindergarten and school.

“This helped to mould the kind of person that I am now. I would describe myself as a person with a healthy portion of self confidence while at the same time reserved in my own nature. I don’t enjoy people who infringe on other people’s rights. Well, perhaps this is all thanks to my socialist education,” Hashingola adds.

Through his diverse background, Hashingola is eloquent in German, Oshiwambo, Afrikaans and French.

He believes he has the right international network to keep NBL on the map and argues that society can develop if its people are developed without an individualistic.

A fervent believer of African tradition despite strong European roots; “Tradition is very important to me as it defines who you are in the wider societal context. It gives identity in a globalised world.”

Aside from his daily chores at NBL, Hashingola has acquired a plot in Eenhana (Ohangwena region) for his mother and the rest of the family, to utilise for chicken breeding.

A homely professional, Hashingola is an avid reader with a soft spot for English Premiership team Chelsea FC as well as being a religious follower of the German Bundesliga.

His favourite food includes Italian dishes, pasta and the famous Oshiwambo chicken.

His most prized possession is his book of certificates (Zeugnis) since his first grade in 1981 in Germany.

Hashingola concludes by encouraging people to drink responsibly and as for his parting shot, ‘Always say yes to life as it is a gift to live’. PF