The Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair of 2022 attracted some 350 local and international exhibitors who used the period of 26 August to 1st September as a window through which to market and sell their products and services, as well as network.

The products on offer were many and differed in their diversity, such as the latest model of cars and tractors, beauty products locally made and imported, costumes locally made and those from other countries, and not to mention the many foodstuffs associated with northern Namibia such as omakunde (beans), ekaka (dried wild spinach), omungome (Oshiwambo bread), oxuxwa (Oshiwambo chicken), etc.

There were also several exhibitors who were selling books, such as Bibles, children’s books and even Kiswahili/English dictionaries.

But the one and only exhibitor who was there selling a book she wrote herself was a young woman from Ongwediva by the name of Justina Shatonhoka.

Justina was selling the book “How to Build Your Self-confidence: The Ultimate Guided Journey”.

Omutumwa News Online took a moment to chat with her as follows:

Omutumwa: Justina, you’re the author of the book “How to Build Your Self-confidence”. When did you write this book?

Justina: The first publication was in the year 2016.

Omutumwa: How did you get the book published?

Justina: I published it myself.

Omutumwa: After you published the book, how did you bring it to the market, how did you start selling it?

Justina: Initially I had contacted some bookstores in Windhoek and some towns in the northern part of Namibia. Some bookstores took in some books and put them on their shelves. And there were some supermarkets like Spar Ongwediva and Spar Oshakati, they had the books on their shelves but they are sold out now.

So that’s how I initially began. And I also have been going door to door, I go to banks, even to ministries and hospitals, I just introduce myself and highlight that I write motivational books especially ones that give advice on how to build one’s self-confidence.

I mainly went door to door, and the more I sell the more I print. But for now most of the books in the bookstores are sold out. The ones I have now are the ones I’m selling by hand. I am hoping to print more and put again in the bookstores.

But those who are far, they can as well order the books through my webpage: They order and make a payment, because it’s an ecommerce web page. Once they make a payment I courier the books to them.

Omutumwa: So far how many copies did you print?

Justina: Since I began in 2016, I had a printout of just over 2000 copies. Right now I am down to the last 100 copies. So I will keep reprinting.

Omutumwa: The printers, how cheap or expensive are they? How affordable?

Justina: They are ranging… Some are affordable, some are costly. Each printer has their own way of charging.

Omutumwa: You wrote a book on self-confidence, how to build your self-confidence. Why did you choose this topic?

Justina: First of all my observation among a lot of people, not only the youth but even those of adult age, is that they struggle to understand life when it comes to issues related to self-confidence. They have a lot of issues of their own image, self-imagery issues. They struggle to see the beauty in them, they struggle to see their worth.

So every time I try to make people understand, but it’s quite a length topic to discuss, so I decided it doesn’t hurt to put it all in a book. I just put there all that I want people to know. And then also I did some research, and compiled and put it in the book. So that when someone doesn’t have the time or chance to listen to me they can buy their own book and read it in their free time.

Omutumwa: Which age group have you realized that is more interested in your book?

Justina: All of them actually. I was surprised to discover that all age groups are interested. The youngsters, like the youth who are in primary school and high school, and those who are young adults, and the adults. I find that those in old age are a bit hesitant to buy the book, I think they have had more than life’s experiences, so I’m sure they believe they have more to share with us who are younger more than they can learn from us.

There are those who are interested though. I have met professors at the University of Namibia who are interested. But most of my customers are in the working class.

So even in the old-age range there are those who are generally interested, and those who are just curious to find out what it is I have written in this book.

Omutumwa: In Namibia we have a no-reading culture. Generally people don’t want to buy books. Or how is your experience?

Justina: I am not so sure about that. I also initially thought that way, but I was surprised to find that there are a lot of people out there who love reading. I come to them and say I wrote this book and through it I am offering advice on how to build your self-confidence, and they would be like ‘Waauw, this is so wonderful, I love reading. It’s not so much common to see a Namibian who wrote a book, I love it.’

That phrase ‘I love reading’ I have heard it so many times. So I kind of noticed that to say Namibians don’t love reading is because those who do love reading are mostly quiet about it. Therefore the voice of those who don’t love reading is louder, and so you get to think that there is a culture of no-reading in Namibia.

Omutumwa: Really?

Justina: Yes, if you go out there you will be surprised how many Namibians love reading. I myself was surprised. I began with this project of selling my books with hope but not that excessive hope, I had my own reservations, thinking that well I might find some customers who need my books but perhaps a few.

But the more I tried, the more I realized that more people actually love to read if you bring to them good books, books with important information. It was refreshing and surprising really.

Omutumwa: So, what’s your message, maybe to those who are not exposed to the beauty of reading?

Justina: A lot of knowledge is actually hidden in books. You got to stand up and make yourself read, because reading doesn’t just enrich your mind with knowledge, reading also kind of improves one’s language skills.

I have noticed that a lot of people who don’t love reading are the ones who struggle even in school to pass the language of English. And we all know the system of Namibia, you can pass and have straight ‘A’s but if you haven’t passed English it kind of slows you down a bit.

Omutumwa: In terms of support from institutions or individuals of note, did you receive any support in this project of yours?

Justina: So far I have not received any support. I am actually just taking it one step at a time. I have hope that I will get there eventually but it’s just a matter of how fast will I get there, how quickly will I get there. With financial support I can get there faster.

But without financial support I will get there definitely as I have hope and I believe in all possibilities although it will take me a bit longer without financial support or funding of any kind whatsoever. But I am managing. I am a believer, I know I will get there.

Omutumwa: You are a student. How do you sustain yourself? Do you get enough income from your books to live on?

Justina: Ja, I do get income from my books. As I have said, that most people underestimate the Namibian culture of reading. But my income depends on how much I put myself out there like I said. The less I put myself out there, the less income I get, the more I put myself out there the more income I get.

And with the help of my family I am managing, I’m so grateful to my family for helping me get to this point. So we shall continue struggling and get there eventually.

Omutumwa: Okay, thank you.

Justina: It’s a pleasure. Please don’t forget to tell people to look for my webpage

Omutumwa: Okay.

In the photo: Justina Shatonhoka at Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair. Justina can be reached at the email:   or  +264813441010.