Put Money in Your Community

Namibian young woman entrepreneur award winner, Twapewa Kadhikwa, says business people, especially those born and bred in Katutura, should start developing their communities and shun the tendency of running away from their locations once ‘they are well-off’ to go live in the high income suburbs.

Kadhikwa, who is the owner of the renowned Xwama restaurant in the heart of Katutura, said she is not ashamed to have been born and bred in Katutura and that fellow businesspeople should also be proud of their roots. “Many people are overwhelmed by the challenges of Katutura. As soon as they are ‘fasuluka’ [well-off] they relocate. But it’s your identity darling, tomorrow the Chinese are going to invest here. As Namibians, we always say they are taking our opportunities, but they are not. They are just taking aantage of what you did not want to develop. So if you leave your community where you had the opportunity to make an impact and you run to Avis but at the same time you want to see change in your community. Who is going to build private schools and hospitals here? And when the Germans and Chinese come, you feel like a victim but you didn’t want to stay because you are ashamed of who you are,” she remarked.

Further, Kadhikwa well-known as Pewa, said although business goes through growth, stability and decline, she personally faced profound challenges with the Xwama products, due to phobia and prejudice.

“First of all, people looked down on Katutura. They think Katutura is characterised by crime, alcohol, rape and rubbish. All sorts of social evils are pushed to Katutura and they think everyone from Katutura is stupid. I don’t agree, I think there are some gems born in Katutura, I am one of them. And I am not ashamed to have been born in Katutura. However, I believe in what Mahatma Gandhi said: “Be the change that you want to see in your community,” she noted.

Upon completion of her education at the University of Namibia (Unam), Kadhikwa figured out that if she wanted to see great things in her community, then she would have to do it. However, one of the biggest challenge she faced was her fear of the bank. “The business model available to people in Katutura was the biggest challenge, being a black woman from Katutura was an even bigger challenge. And then you are selling what? Matangara. So there was no business model. They only knew how to finance hotels, pizzerias and franchises, but there was no business model to finance Xwama. So I had to be a pioneer and really push against the odds,” she narrated.

Kadhikwa also rubbished claims by some individuals that she inherited her wealth from her father.

“My father used to be a businessman. Many people have this perception that Twapewa inherited things. My biggest inheritance is my culture of work that my father and mother gave to me. If you think money and buildings is what you need to succeed in business then you are wrong. It needs other personal traits and resources that you must have or acquire,” Kadhikwa maintained.

Adding that, “When you are in the community, you hear people making comments that “DBN gave us money”, but no, DBN did not give us money, they extended a credit facility to us based on the promise we communicated. DBN does not discriminate, you can get the application forms at the security guards. If you don’t approach DBN, how will they know what you want and where you are? People have to stop these negative talks and stand up and ask for the application forms if they meet the requirements then they will be assisted. They have stop talking rubbish and giving a wrong impression that, “It’s only some people who are connected get things, it’s a lie.”

She said everybody can approach DBN because they are offering a unique opportunity. Noting that their interest rate is 9.25 and commercial banks are 10.25. “The commercial banks will not give you a grace period of 10 months, the moment they dispatch that capital, tomorrow you start paying back the loan. That is not the same with DBN because they look at your developmental impact and decide to give you time to get into the market to grow and then you can start paying back. It is a great thing that government has done,” she said.

Source : New Era