Kishi’s legal success

By Honorine Kaze
April 2012
Women in Business
Intelligent, young, adventurous and a risk-taker, determined to stop at nothing to fulfil her destiny, Frieda Kishi is an example that with hard work and determination, any dream is achievable.

Armed with a legal mind made legit with a B-Proc degree from the University of Potchefstroom in South Africa, Kishi is the first female director at Dr Weder, Kauta and Hoveka Inc.; a law firm operated in Windhoek with a branch office in Oshakati.

Her journey into the legal profession started by accident as her long-time passion while growing up was to be a dentist.

The Walvis Bay-born and bred did her primary school studies in Arandis and completed her high school education at De Duine High School in Walvis Bay.

At tertiary level, she joined Potchefstroom University, now called University of the North but realised that the institution did not offer Dentistry.

“Given that Potchefstroom University did not offer Dentistry, I decided to go for my second option. I had a bursary, which I turned down to pursue Law,” she points out.

As a Law student, she was amongst the first black students to be accepted at Potchefstroom University where she obtained a B-Proc degree in 1995.

Before venturing into her own law firm, Kishi first learnt the ropes of the legal profession by working as a public prosecutor from 1996 to 2004. She later joined a law firm; Metcalfe from which she became a partner in 2006.

After a decade in the legal profession, Kishi decided that it was time to ascertain her professional independence and opened up her own law firm; Kishi Legal Practitioners, in Ondangwa but is currently based in Oshakati.

“I had a client who motivated me to open up my own law firm. Besides, I wanted to do my own thing and take responsibility for my decisions,” Kishi states.

She recently merged her law firm with Dr Weder, Kauta, Hoveka Inc. from which she became the first female director; a move she perceives as a big achievement. The merger meant professional growth for Kishi; a step she believes she was ready for after going through all the necessary growing stages in her career.

Dr Weder, Kauta & Hoveka Inc. is a corporate law firm of 10 directors, with a total staff complement of over 60. The law firm, regarded as one of the premier law firms in the country, operates from Windhoek but Kishi is in charge of its Oshakati office.

Kishi describes her career as a very demanding job in which hard work and determination are the key qualities behind the success or down fall of any law firm. Although many believe a law firm ought to be an immediate multimillion-dollar opportunity, Kishi doesn’t seem to see it that way at all.

“The legal profession offers the opportunity for growth and development; it is a very demanding career in which you might have to play numerous roles, such as being an HR manager together with being a book keeper, a lawyer and a psychologist. You have to look at the long-term view of your business and know that you will not make money overnight but if you are dedicated, you will reap the fruits,” Kishi emphasises.

In order to keep up with her demanding career, Kishi has a busy schedule, which starts at dawn when she familiarises herself with her files before heading to her office for a short while, as she spends almost the whole day, every day in court. Five o’clock does not mean the end of a working day for her, as she has made it a culture to always bring work home, in order to be on top of her game.

In order to get through this hectic schedule and career, Kishi relies on spiritual inspiration.

“Spiritual inspiration is my daily bread. I have realised that I am nothing without God and I am only what I am because of His grace. I can achieve all through Christ Jesus our Lord,” Kishi asserts.

Going through Kishi’s legal career lane, one would think that it has been a smooth ride but you have to realise that no one gets to attain great achievements without going through challenges, which are the qualities that distinguish between a winner and a quitter.

“It was not easy settling down in a market filled with several established attorneys, mostly dominated by men. Our people are quite chauvinists to a certain degree that they would rather opt for a male representative than a female one,” she points out.

However, she regrets the fact that men still dominate in most areas and think that gender equality has not advanced greatly; she would like to see more women in higher positions in the country.

She furthers points out that the legal department in the country is at a good stage right now but believes that more developments are still needed.

Regarding the development of the youth in the country, specifically for the accomplishment of Vision 2030, Kishi believes there is still a lot to be done as well.

“I have realised that the youth need to improve their skills capacities. Furthermore, Government can do much more to create support structures for the youth to develop. I do not think we have achieved even one third of our goals, we need to empower our people so they can be self-sustainable and provide jobs for themselves as well as to others.

Like they say, ‘no man is an island’ and in this regard, Kishi appreciates the support network she has always received from friends and family in all her endeavours.

She describes her sister Kauna and mom as her heroes and inspirations in her life. Beside her family being her source of inspiration, she also appreciates and gets inspired by hard working people; a value, she stresses, is necessary to get anyone to succeed.

A lot of work and no play makes job dull; Kishi understands that although hard work and perseverance pay, one needs to unwind and relax to recharge their ‘batteries’.

Kishi reveals that in her free time, she loves shopping just like any other lady does. However, when it is time to unwind, dance is her most favourite hobby, “I love dancing and if I were not a professional lawyer, I would be a professional dancer.”

Looking behind into her journey, Kishi has come up with the definition of success as, “Achieving the goals that I have set for myself and not goals set by society, when I achieve my goals, I am happy. A person without goals is like a driver without direction. They drive without ever reaching their destination.” PF