Moulding a Business Out of the Will to Succeed

Meet Augustinus Ekandjo, the 46-year-old man who decisively fought hard not to be counted among the unemployed statistics. It took ingenuity and dedication from his part, as well as a helping hand from his mother, who in 1992 took a chance on Ekandjo’s dream of starting a small business that makes fencing wire, pots, and steel barrels from recycled aluminium and steel car parts.

Ekandjo’s mother sold some of her livestock – goats and cattle – to raise the adequate cash needed to buy a moulding machine.

Ekandjo had then just completed a course that help rural people to identify self-sustaining projects in their community, at the Ongwediva Rural Development Centre, under the ambit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development, as the ministry was then called. At the completion of the course, he knew instantly that the best small business in his village would be to produce fencing wire, three-legged pots and barrels that rural people use in their outdoor cooking or for other needs. At first the going was tough as, with no machines, Ekandjo used the crudest basic methods to do moulding.

It was when he turned to his dear elderly mother for financial assistance. “I had no money. That was when my mother decided to sell some of her cattle and goats to buy some machinery for me,” said Ekandjo, who aptly named his business Onkambadhala Project, which literally interprets, as ‘those who do not try do not succeed.’

Although Ekandjo has been surviving on this business income since its establishment in 1992, he now laments absence of financial and marketing supports for small businesses that want to expand and break into other markets in nearby regions.

From his Onandjo village, in Otamanzi Constituency, a remote area of Omusati Region, he sells to clients in Kunene Region, which borders Omusati Region. But Ekandjo wants his products marketed to other regions of the country as well.

For now though it is business as usual for Ekandjo and his four employees who churn out their products in their smoke-filled and scorching hot little workshop in the village. The heat is so unbearable that taking a picture of the melting and moulding process – in which aluminium car parts, iron and steel scrap are turned into wire, barrels and pots – is impossible. Not to mention the smoke and fumes from diesel and other liquid chemicals used in the process.

The smallest aluminium pot sells at N$100 and the largest pot goes for N$450, while the price of pots made out of recycled iron scrap sell for between N$50 and N$250.

To complement the income from his metal moulding business, Ekandjo established a garden in 1994. But that is also not going well these days, with poor harvests because of water being too expensive, he says.

“Water has become expensive and my water tanks are broken, so now I do not know what to do to help my family that I always want to support,” said Ekandjo.

Source : New Era