Patricia Ileka: Dedicated to the art of archiving

Preserving Namibia's historical records
As a records manager and archivist, Patricia Ileka is passionate about ensuring the preservation of historical records for future generations.
Nankali Kamwanga
Patricia Ileka, a records administrator with nearly three decades of experience, exemplifies the power of passion and dedication in a career.

Born in Katutura Hospital and raised at the Dobra Catholic Mission, she embodies the essence of hard work and perseverance – traits she said were instilled in her by her parents: John Hans, a former soccer player for Black Africa, and Klara Hans, a dedicated nurse for over 55 years.

From an early age, Ileka showed a keen interest in education, completing her grade 12 at the age of 18 before pursuing a diploma in human resources at the University of Namibia.

She delved into archiving during her third year of studies, when she took on a part-time role as an assistant archivist at the National Archives of Namibia. This experience ignited a passion in her for preserving historical information and ensuring its availability for future generations.

Career trajectory

Over the years, Ileka worked at various organisations, including the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Namport and the Swakopmund municipality, honing her skills as an archivist and records manager.

She completed her honours degree in archival science through Unisa in 2015 and continued to expand her knowledge through programmes such as the management development programme at Stellenbosch University and a postgraduate diploma in business administration.

Currently, she serves as the manager of records and archiving at the Social Security Commission (SSC), where she is responsible for overseeing information governance and ensuring the preservation of historical records.

Creating order

Despite the challenges posed by the digital age, she remains committed to her goal of educating others in the field of archival science and preserving Namibia's rich history. Outside of her professional life, Patricia enjoys cooking, baking and reading. She also has a passion for mentoring and educating youth, believing in the importance of transferring knowledge to the next generation.

Reflecting on her career, Ileka emphasised the importance of dedication, hard work and a commitment to excellence.

“I learned that the sky is not the limit; if you put your mind to it, you can achieve a lot. I learned to look outside of the box and explore other boxes. Be dedicated, work hard, pray and show commitment. Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.”

Her advice to those starting their careers in archiving is simple. "If you don’t have a passion for creating order, don’t study records management."