Paulina’s new chapter

Paulina Malulu is a Namibian model and beauty pageant owner and titleholder who represented Namibia and participated at the Big Four international beauty pageants. She competed in Miss International 2012 and was in the Top 15. She went on to compete for Miss World 2013 and Miss Universe 2013 and Miss Earth 2014. In 2017 she moved to northern Namibia to focus on some interesting projects. She was recently in Windhoek and made time for a quick sitdown

Where were you were born and raised?

I was born in Angola, bred in Windhoek and buttered around the world.

What role did education play in your family?

In education, there is a term called “parental involvement” and to a greater extend as African, community involvement. A caregiver is responsible for the care, nutrition, safety, health and development of a child from birth. That is all part of education. Education is not limited to books and instructional teaching and learning. My family was and remains the teacher of values, culture, diversity, emotional intelligence, financial literacy and hygiene. So how I understand, value, care for and celebrate my culture is a reflection of the educational role my family plays when it comes to teaching me about my cultural roots.

Was there any visible cultural difference being born across the border, but having roots in Namibia?

Where there is more than one person, there is difference. Just like how we differ as individuals, so does culture and how we express it. But what matters is the values behind those expressions. In Angola, a Kwanyama girl is expected to wear her hair a certain style to demonstrate maturity. In Namibia, a Himba girl is also expected to wear her hair a certain style to demonstrate puberty. How these two girls wear their hair is just the expression. The value is the same. A demonstration of a rite of passage to adulthood.

How much did your background inform your sense of philanthropy?

Hospitality in our family is a trait many possess. Both maternally and parentally. We love to host, support and nurture. Philanthropy is just an extension of that. Serving beyond the family unit.

Namibians came to know you as Miss Namibia in 2013. Can you share that journey with us?

It was a journey that came with the perks to network, travel and influence. But like the saying goes, “not all that glitters is gold”. It took resilience and the will to pursue my intended purpose to enter and win and still recognise myself in the mirror after my reign.

Is the PMT still operational? If so, can you please share some of the activities?

The trust is still in existence but since COVID, no activities have taken place. But there are plans in the pipeline to revive it come 2025.

A couple of years after your reign Paulina disappeared from the limelight. What have you been up to?

I have been finding myself, and prioritising on the people and things that matter most to me.

It’s very rare for people to move from the urban areas to the rural areas. Can you share the experience with us?

I have always loved nature and the outdoors. There is something grounding about life beyond tall towers and buildings. In the rural area, I can actually smell the flowers and feel my inner powers. Although I was raised in the city, the congestion of traffic lights and take out is not my thing.

You chose to write children’s books. Why is this so important to you?

I am passionate about education, it is a primary area of interest to me. Particularly child development. So writing books for children and not adults makes sense to me.

You are writing these books in Oshikwanyama. Why is that?

Like I said, I was raised in the city. Exploring the depth of my culture was limited to April, August and December holidays at the villages up north. The older I grew, the more I wanted to speak better Oshikwanyama better. There is just something beautifuil about being able to fully express oneself in their own mother tongue, and what better way to learn than learning to write books in Oshikwanyama?!

What is importance of writing books in our indigenous languages? Especially children’s books?

Language carries culture and culture carries values. An Oshikwanyama speaking child can only express themselves like a Kwanyama if they can speak the language. When they get hurt, they say…memeeii. An English speaking child will say, ouch!

Tell us about the first children’s book you’ve published?

OINAMWENYO yOityadina taitwikile is a rhyming picture book of animals in Oshikwanyama. It teaches children names of animals, and the similarities and differences between these animals. All through rhyme and children love it.

Clearly a lot of research goes into the books you are writing. Tell us how you go about that.

It takes days to years to put something together. It requires constantly and proactively having to enquire from those more knowledgeable, reading, studying and doing extensive field and desktop research. Eight years ago during a trip to Etosha, I could only identify some small and big game. Eight years later, on a game drive in March this year, I could identify and name every single small and large game that I saw on that game drive. That took eight years of enquiry, research and curiosity and man was I proud of myself.

What have you learnt about yourself during the process of writing these books?

That I am genuinely doing something that I love and that which fulfils me, and because of that, it allows me to intentionally pursue the maturity level or second phase of my life with intention.

What is your opinion of the literary culture in Namibia in general?

It is small. We are not writing enough and those who do write are not getting the necessary support. I would like to see more books written in indigenous languages. We have local linguists lecturing and researching at local universities and schools but majority are not writing books. In my head, that does not make sense. However, we are also not reading enough. The culture of reading still remains an issue. We have learners in high school who cannot read or follow basic grammar rules of writing. If they cannot read now, who will write later?

Do you mind sharing your ideas for the next book which will be published?

OINAMWENYO yOdikwa imwe will be part 2 of my Oinamwenyo series. A picture book galore of real life, high quality pictures of animals from the same families. The rodents, felines, canines, you name them.

Will you ever be involved in the beauty industry?

Yes, pageantry remains a core activity for the PMT. Come 2025, Miss Republic of Namibia – Cultural Ambassador will return for its second edition in 2026. But with a twist.

How can people access your book?

The first book is sold out and we will not be re-printing that first edition because we have new additions to make to it. But there is a shorter AVEB version available on Youtube. Readers can searc “Oinamwenyo” or follow the link:

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