PyDev of the Week: Ngazetungue Muheue

This week we welcome Ngazetungue Muheue (@muheuenga) as our PyDev of the Week! Ngazetungue helps organize PyCon Namibia and is the co-founder of Python Namibia. He is an active speaker and a member of the Python Software Foundation.

Ngazetungue Muheue
Ngazetungue Muheue

Let’s spend some time getting to know him better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

I’m Ngazetungue Muheue, a Namibian, developer, conference speaker, based in the city of Windhoek in Namibia. I was born here in Namibia and raised in a remote part of the country behind livestock. I am a farmer although recently I’ve jumped ship into tech space.

I graduated with a Diploma and Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Honours) from the University of Namibia. Although I took a few technical classes, my interests were mainly in programming. Going and educating myself in areas of programming has broadened my horizons, I do solve problems from a variety of different angles.

I’m a Python Software Foundation Fellow with a strong interest in fighting for underprivileged or underrepresented groups of people in the tech space and making the language more accessible to everyone around the world. Hopefully, the world would be a better place if we share the same goal. I’ve been an active volunteer in the Python community for several years, advocating for the usage of Python in Namibia and around the globe.

When I’m not working on code, you will find me at a sports field with friends, riverbed listening to birds sound and around the fire with my grandparents listening to their childhood stories. Besides, I like Chess games. The funny part, I am not good at watching movies, I can pause it for two days and continue with it the third day. Hopefully, I will work on that.

Why did you start using Python?

After high school, I got involved in a car accident, which nearly paralyzed me and caused me to be in a hospital for an entire year. I couldn’t move; my arms and legs were not working.

I began questioning myself, how am I going to help myself, what if my arms don’t work again, what am I going to do? During that time, I bought my first laptop. I remember using Facebook and wondering how people could communicate with someone in the United States and other parts of the world. That was the spark that started my journey.

In 2014 I got accepted to the University of Namibia for a two-year program to get a computer science diploma. During my first year is when I was introduced to Python. In 2015, we had our first Python Namibia conference organized by the University of Namibia and Cardiff University and then I decided to be more active in Python. I fell in love with the language because of its syntax and it was easy for me to use it in my project at the university. The more I use the language, the more I realised that it has an amazing community that has become part of my life. I’ve made a lot of friends from all over the world who help me a lot. This is one of the reasons that reinforced my desire to keep using Python.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

Currently, I don’t have a favourite programming language other than Python and Javascript. I use the Django framework in most of my projects. I worked with Visual Basic and C# before during my Diploma level at the University and currently, I am learning React. To be honest, I’m more into Python and haven’t experimented that much with other languages.

What projects are you working on now?

Currently, I am developing an SMS Notification System for one of my former schools in a remote area in Namibia using Python/Django. I hope the system will improve the communication between parents and the school management. This will reduce unnecessary visits in and out of school during the COVID-19 outbreak. I have other projects that are on the pipeline.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?

I like pathlib, it provides an object API for working with files and directories easily.

What made you decide to be a Python advocate in your country?

I have been an active volunteer in my community for several years, and in 2015, after our first Python Conference in Namibia, I decided to start advocating for the usage of Python in Namibia and around the globe. I know most of the developing countries around the world depend on open and user-friendly technology and increasing community engagement and teaching Python will have transformative power for both our countries and citizens.

I wanted to bring more young people and women into tech and to take part in our journey. Women inspire me, and I believe a community without women is not a community.

Finally, I still believe that bringing together the Python Community in Namibia will help us to create a new generation of Python Developers from as young as primary school learners. All of us in Namibia could become Python developers if we hold hands and start contributing to it. More than that, I thought my involvement will change the future of software development in Namibia.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Well, the Namibian Python community is getting ready for the seventh edition of PyCon Namibia this year in June. I’d encourage anyone reading to follow our page @PyConNA for more updates.

Thanks for doing the interview, Ngazetungue!