Land Surveying in the heart of Swakopmund

JERUSHA Hangula (JH), a professional female land surveyor in Namibia who is currently the Managing Partner and Senior Professional Land surveyor at N.J Hangula professional land surveyors has over the years served Namibia providing land surveying services to government, local authorities, town councils, village councils, private clients and developers. Based in Swakopmund, Hangula is highly qualified in cadastral surveying. In an interview with Confidente’s Hilary Mare (HM), Hangula shared her experiences in the industry and what the future holds for land surveying.

(HM): Can you briefly introduce yourself to us and share with us what your job entails as a Land Surveyor?
(JH): I am a professional woman Land surveyor in Namibia. I attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Land surveying from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) in 2009. I trained in South Africa and Namibia and hence today I am registered with two Professional Councils within the SADAC Region- South Africa a Professional Land Surveyor with PLATO (PLS1241), in Namibia a Professional Land surveyor with SURCON (PLS41) and Sectional title Practitioner (STP19) also in Namibia.
In simplistic terms, my job entails the measuring of land – and from these measurements creating of maps plans, diagrams are created and used in the land and construction sector. My profession in academic terms is best described as the science of accurately determining the position of any points on land. Or in other words, it is the science of accurately acquiring position of points based on a three-dimensional system derived by global satellite positioning systems (GPS) in space in orbit around the Earth.

(HM): What made you venture into this field of construction?
(JH): My passion for this field was driven from a young age since I knew when I grew up I wanted to do something that was unique and different from other fields in construction. I want to be in something that gave me a passion and drive in the work environment every day, something that would challenge me. I looked for a career that was also essential and will always be relevant. Land is a commodity throughout history. There is always a need for land. As there are many women engineers but not many professional woman land surveyors so I chose land surveying and land surveying ticked the box for my life’s adventure. I applied for a bursary in 2003 and I was successful.

(HM): What are some of the challenges you have faced bearing in mind a slowing construction sector over the past few years?
(JH): In the construction sector, land surveyors are commonly mistaken for being Quantity Surveyors. They are entirely different fields of expertise and so are product and work service provided.
Land surveyors deal with all aspects pertaining to Land and measurements. Creation of Cadastral diagrams for Registration purposes of land, Subdividing Land for Development and Construction, Consolidating land for Construction and Estate or Sectional Title development, Surveying of Manholes construction or bulk services or road construction and acquiring data for Airports upgrades or aerial mapping for expansion purposes. All of the above aids the Construction Industry, without the accurate position or height of the Land and Dimensions. No designs will proceed with success by Engineers and other Professions. And with the slowing down of the industry many land surveying applications become stagnant, Fewer and Fewer clients found the need for Contour and Elevation topographical plans. But Land survey did not entirely seize since our applications are versatile. Land surveying is a profession that is male populated. Being the first woman in Namibia as a Professional Land surveyor, I had to prove my reputation across the scope of Public and Private Entities and stand out to make a local Authority or any Entity consider me first based on my service and reputation.

(HM): Do you think the sector is going to find its feet again as a leading sector in Namibia’s construction?
(JH): Yes, in foreseeable future absolutely, land is a huge commodity around the world and will regain its leading role in Namibia. When land and title security is accessible it creates a directly proportional gain to the construction industry. It is humanity’s born natural desire to subdue and have dominion. Construction is the way of building and securing the future. It will rise again.

(HM): What are the pros and cons of pursuing a career as a Land Surveyor?
(JH): Pros: No portion of land can be created without a professional land surveyor. Purchasing of land needs a diagram only produced by a professional land surveyor under the Land Survey Act of 1993 under the guidelines of Survey Regulation and Surveyor general office. Therefore, there is always a need for a professional land surveyor at any point of time in the construction industry.
Cons: It is quite demanding field of work. It’s not an in office job all the time it’s a field based high intensity job that requires one to be fit and persevering.

(HM): The demands of your work do not complement the need for personal and family time. How do you balance these two?
(JH): Honestly, finding the balance is quite delicate. It is a give and take relationship for me. As a mom to two little ones, my hands are full on most occasions. Therefore having help to assist me is quite crucial for me to maintain my workload and my family life. Travelling to projects all the time poses imbalance but with excellent planning and time management I achieve my goals.

(HM): What do you think needs to be done to create more opportunities for those who want to venture in Land Surveying?
(JH): They should be more exposure to the field of survey. The relevant higher-level institutions should provide OPEN day material on the study on Land surveying profession whereby potential students will find out about land surveying. And encourage the passion for survey by offering bursaries for land surveying.

(HM): In your view what is the quality of Land Surveyors produced in Namibia in comparison to those in other parts of the world?
(JH): I didn’t study under the curriculum hosted in NUST, but I do believe the NUST survey department has begun to implement many new courses in the field of surveying that is going to positively affect the outcome of the professionals in Namibia. All the information is available on their website.

(HM): What inspires you to keep working this Land Surveying space?
(JH): I simply love this space! I love the demarcation of a new township or demarcating a Farm prior existing, or planning the setting it out a new street for road construction, making a difference and just working with land never gets boring for me.

(HM): Would you like to add anything else? Please do.
(JH): I have a message to all young people reading this; you have the chance to make a difference in your country. Namibia is your Future. Focussing on school matriculating is your first step to a world of opportunity so you can become a prevalent force of good change in Namibia.
Allow yourself to be great now for the Future of Namibia and yourself.
Hard working girls in high school don’t give up you will become prominent woman in diverse profession needed in Namibia tomorrow. Hardworking boys in high school don’t give up you will become prominent men in profession needed in Namibia tomorrow.
The imperative word is hardworking. Education is the key to unlocking a future of greatness for you and then uplifting those around you.
Personally, I grew up without my dad since I was eight years old. My dad died in an accident he had at home. My mom could not work since she was disabled by epilepsy. I thought my life was predicted for me based on my family situation. But it was not, I found my way out of poverty by education. Just believer in yourself find the confidence within you to focus. Have a vision for your life and make it happen. Nobody can stand in the way but yourself. Do not lose sight of your bright future. See it and become it if I did it you can too.