Celebrating Multichoice Namibia’s 25th Anniversary with Freddy Nissen
The Road Less Travelled
So tell us about your journey with MultiChoice, your favourite moments, memories, highlights?
Well that’s a whole lot of favourite memories there definitely. When I returned as said in 1992, I started off at a company called Audio Video Service. That is probably a pioneer of the satellite TV business in Namibia and probably in Southern Africa.
I started off with mounting the large 3.2 metre dishes, at that time there was no real DSTV office or even M-Net office here in Namibia. It started off with Sharon way back and, we had a very good relationship. People wanted M-Net and CNN, that was during the Gulf War and there were quite a few people that were interested in watching CNN. On Sundays with Ruda Landman on Carte Blanche, those were the channels the people actually wanted.
It was hard work, a lot of fun though, building up those three metre dishes. It was all analogue, nothing digital whatsoever. It was quite tough, it was difficult. We would spend a day installing a dish and by evening the client would be watching M-Net.
Why did you become an installer and how did you become a MultiChoice installer?
When I left Audio Video Service, I started off at Elles Electronics and that was in 1995/1996 and that’s when the new satellite came up, the PANAM Sat 4. That is when more people were interested in having M-Net. Then it wasn’t really called DSTV, but there was a larger package available. PANSAT was one of the very first digital decoders. People then had to purchase a 1.5 metre dish and then these PANSAT decoders. We got them from South Africa and there were only a few installers, so I was pretty hands on. Explaining to the few installers how it works and how to do the installations.
I wasn’t an accredited installer then because, there was no such thing as an accredited installer. We were just installers and, much later it became important that MultiChoice had or then DSTV, needed an accredited installer to have a better overview of what the installers were really doing.
I remember when the next satellite for DSTV was launched which was then called, PANAMSAT 7, that was when everything changed and became more commercial. More interesting and more fun and easier for the installer.
The installer didn’t have to have these huge spectrum analysers and, knowledge, or technical or theoretical background. It was less of an engineering thing to put up a satellite dish and that is when we flew around in the country testing the signals. Prior to the PANAMSAT 7 satellite, it was very difficult. There were areas in the country where you wouldn’t be able to receive signals.
I remember, just outside Usakos on a farm, a fairly wealthy farmer wanted DSTV and technically it was not possible. Unless you used a big dish. Which he then did. I installed a 3 metre solid dish on his farm and it took me about two days. He wanted at that time, to watch something very specific, Formula One and it wasn’t very accessible. It wasn’t easy but I made it work for him and he had it. I grew in time and becoming a real accredited installer also then happened many years later.
How has being a MultiChoice Accredited Installer enriched your life?
The main thing that enriched my life was getting to know a lot of people here in this country. I love Namibia. I grew up here, and I consider myself Namibian. It makes sense to me to speak to a lot of people. To understand a lot of people. To have fun with a lot of people, and that is how it still is today.
Has that enrichment in your life, has it somehow filtered through to your family? Has it changed your life in any way in terms of entertainment and what it is that you do because you are also the man behind the scene?
Well yes. The thing is I always try my level best serve the client. Whoever that may be. To see the joy, their faces, once the signal is there, once the picture is there. Seeing the customer happy about his Explora.
I deal with people from all walks of life. The younger people are not really excited about it because, they know the technology. They understand it but the older people, they don’t. It’s really enriching to see the older people happy because they have something special. You know DStv is special, they always tell you, I want kykNET and I want this and I want that. I say yes of course it will be in your package. That is really enriching and that filters down to my family and, to my kids. They see a happy father coming home.
Are you in any way enriching the lives of your community by being an accredited installer?
As mentioned, the elderly people receiving DStv and being able to watch M-Net and kykNET and all these channels. Of course I believe that’s enriching somebody and making somebody happy. In the community, I’ve done many installations in remote areas. I can recall a place called Ombalantu. People were very happy there, it was a huge change because, now all of a sudden the kids had entertainment. Making a child smile, that’s what I do.
Has it been a feasible business?
Oh yes, absolutely ja. MultiChoice is hugely responsible for my wellbeing. Directly and indirectly.
Listen to Freddy’s story here: