‘I’m not a failure, God knows I’m not a failure’

Andreas Kagola

Andreas Kagola (31) still dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, but a lack of money has hampered his efforts over the years.

Kagola, from Ondangwa in the Oshana region, came to visit relatives at Walvis Bay at the end of 2010, after completing his end-of-year Grade 12 school-leaving exams.

He was supposed to be on vacation only, but ended up staying because shortly after arriving at the harbour town one of his relatives informed him that Namsov Fishing Enterprises was looking for casual labourers.

He immediately applied at the company’s offices.

He started working as a casual general worker on Namsov Fishing Enterprises vessels – Sunfish, Namibian Star, Starfish and Jupiter – from 1 January 2011 until early 2018, when he was informed, along with other casual labourers, that there would no work for him any longer due to drastic cuts to the company’s quotas.

Kagola’s name appears on a list published as a public notice by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in early 2020 of “former employees of Namsov who were retrenched due to non-availability of quotas”.

He hadn’t done well in the Grade 12 exams of 2010 and saw the job as a way to pay to improve his grades.

While he didn’t earn much – between N$1 400 and N$2 000 on average per month for the months that he worked, he nevertheless could make ends meet and contribute to his brother’s household, which he was a part of at the time, as well as send a little money home.


The big paydays for casual workers usually came at year-end when the permanent employees would go on leave.

Kagola says he earned N$13 000 one December.

That was the most money he had ever made as a fisherman.

What Kagola really wanted to do was go to university, so he saved a little money along the way.

In 2015, having sufficiently improved his grades over the intervening years, he applied to the University of Namibia for a qualification in logistics and was accepted for the 2016 academic year.

However, he was accepted for business administration, instead of what he had applied for.

The acceptance meant he had to relocate to Windhoek.

Kagola needed and wanted to keep his casual fisherman’s job and so an understanding supervisor arranged that he would be called to return to work when he had time or was on academic holiday.

“I needed money to survive in Windhoek,” he says.


Given that he had only saved a little money, Kagola applied for a loan to the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NASFAF), but was unsuccessful.

He also tried the Namsov Community Trust, but was informed that part-time workers were not considered for study loans from the trust.
“I was utilising my savings, but they got depleted,” he says.

“Family couldn’t help out – my parents were unemployed and my brothers had their own children to take care of.”
That first year was hard “because of the funding situation”, Kagola says.

He says as his financial situation worsened, the stress of it caused his mental health to deteriorate.

“I needed transport money. I needed food. I needed books,” he says.

“At some point I had to skip classes to come and struggle here [at Walvis Bay]. I had no choice.”

This situation impacted his studies.

“While I was here my classmates were given group assignments and they were writing tests and some individual assignments, but I wasn’t attending to them,” Kagola says.

He says while he did well in some subjects, he still failed his first year.

He re-registered for his first-year in 2017 and passed that year, but couldn’t register for his second year at the start of 2018, because that was when he lost the job he had come to rely on heavily.

“We were just told there are no jobs [any more],” Kagola says.

And that was the end of his university studies.

“If I had enough money I would go back, but there’s no money,” he says quietly.


Kagola says he can’t get by with the N$4 000 a month he has been receiving since the beginning of 2021 under a scheme arranged between the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and fishing companies which are awarded quotas from which to pay the unemployed former fishermen a monthly stipend.

To supplement the N$4 000 he does occasional stevedoring and, when available, manual labour at a local salt packing company.
But he often goes months without work.

In spite of all the hardship, Kagola did not give up on his dream of getting a qualification and in 2021 he registered with the Namibian Maritime and Fisheries Institute at Walvis Bay for a six-month course to become a class 6 deck officer.

Due to his financial situation he only managed to complete the course in 2023.

With his qualification in hand, Kagola has tried to find employment in the fishing industry, but has been met with the same answer everywhere: “Apparently there’s no job.”

Aside from constantly thinking about ways to make money, Kagola, who says he now lives in an “ugly ghetto” (shack) in Kuisebmond, says he also thinks about starting a family, given his age.

He’s been seeing someone on and off since 2017, but he realises his employment and financial situation is an obstacle.

Luckily, he states, he has no children, saying: “I don’t have a child, because I can’t afford to feed a child. I want my child to live a decent life like any other.”

This is a personal story of how the Fishrot scandal impacted fishing worker Andreas Kagola, as published in the Institute for Public Policy Research report, titled ‘Human Rights Impacts of the Fishrot Scandal: We Are The Ones Who Suffered The Most’.

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