It is no longer strange to notice the usage of slash when individuals describe what they do. It has risen in professionals who choose not to title themselves by their day jobs alone but choose to include various ‘side hustles’ in their professional titles, independent projects and loftier but perhaps less lucrative pursuits to which they devote their time in addition to their eight-to-five.
An acclaimed Namibian singer, Lize Ehlers is one of the personalities who uses a slash to her names. She is an actress, poet, musical director, facilitator, TV personality, puppeteer, producer, a mentor as well as the founder and director of Song Night, which is a free platform that develops upcoming vocal talent in Namibia. Having started performing at the age of three, the thirty year old is also a wife and a mother of four.
“Apart from singing professionally, I am very passionate about developing new Namibian voices through Song Night. My mantra in life is “Just Show Up” but it is not about being the best, it is about giving your best at all times and actually being present in your own life – meaning being brave, taking risks, but also knowing your worth by creating your own value and doing so in the lives of others. Showing up for my hopes and dreams and showing up for people, has shown me the power and beauty of support, as well as the power of community”, narrates Lize.
It is no surprise that Lize was awarded the Most Socially Responsible Artist of the Year. She does a lot of community work through donations and performances at special schools like Moreson. “I also organize various industry showbiz workshops for fellow performers at the Warehouse Theatre and support the Hope Village, Namibian Children’s Home and Huis Maerua.”
Speaking about her current project, Lize says that she is busy with the Delta Secondary School Fundraiser with talents from Delta. “It will be more than just another talent show. It will be a fun engagement exposing the fears we all have as human beings, the simple joys that life has to offer and of course the magic that appears when you put in the work. This will be a fundraiser to assist and to support Delta Secondary School in their financial needs for the school.”
“My work always has to carry a message because that is what the Lize Ehlers brand is all about, ‘Message Music’, ‘Theatre with Heart’ and ‘Work with Purpose’. My late mother always said to me: “Do work that matters Lizbit.”
Lize further says that the best way to juggle between many jobs is to plan. “Plan, plan, plan, it is not easy but if you plan your day and you set out to get something done every day, then soon enough, every step you take will be one step closer to getting you to the mountain top. Sometimes, I am completely overwhelmed by all my duties, from being an involved mother, to doing homework and preparing meals, and playing board games. Furthermore, without the help of my incredible husband none of this would be possible. Not my career, not my family life, none of it. He is my number one support foundation,” she says.
Also known as the songbird of the South, Lize adds that for one to live their passion they need to have the right support structure. “Work hard and plan properly. Know that looks do matter, (it is just a packaging for your passions to make money) so take care of yourself even when it is very tough, define your brand and incorporate all the parts of you, because you are definitely not only one thing. Work creatively and live to spread integrity and dignity. Read more, laugh more, drink more water and just try to invest in the happiness you deserve. It is not easy, believe me I know. Cry if you must, rest if you must but never and I mean never give up,” urges Lize.
Thaddeus Shigwedha is also another slashie who juggles between being a company CEO and a TV presenter. “As a TV presenter I have to wake up as early as four o clock to prepare. Immediately after television I go for my eight to five job of being a CEO.
“It’s of course not easy especially that I am in an investment company and with the current economic trends one needs to push and give their full attention. The downside is that you do not have enough time for yourself and your family.”
Regardless of the challenges Thaddeus says that nothing could prevent him from exploring his full potential. “I think that I am at the age where I need to work hard enough and do all the things that I need to do in my life, while I still have the energy,” he says.
Thaddeus further notes that for one to balance the juggling they need to read a lot, saying that reading gives so much knowledge which makes one’s work easier. “Such people need to have a schedule to adhere to. It also requires a lot of discipline because it means that you can’t have a very active social life. It’s not a difficult life, it may be difficult at the beginning but eventually it becomes part of your routine and everything falls into place,” says Thaddeus.