Free food impacts vendors at Geingob memorial

The memorial service of president Hage Geingob this past weekend saw Namibians showing up in numbers to pay the late president their last repects, providing entrepreneurs with opportunities.

The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology allowed the general public to camp outside Independence Stadium on Saturday to sell food and beverages, however, many vendors were disappointed with few sales.

Tobias Nangula, a local food vendor, says he was very happy to learn that vendors would be allowed at the memorial service.

“Though we were saddened by the death of the president, I was also happy to be able to sell at the memorial service, because I knew there would be a lot of people,” he says.

“I was selling fatcakes and cooldrinks, and I was really disappointed at the end of the day, because I did not sell a lot. I bought so much stock with the hope of selling, but because people got free food, they did not really buy from us,” he says.

“I bought stock worth over N$1 000 and only made N$202,” Nangula says.

Another vendor, Hileni Timoteus, says although she did not sell a lot, she was grateful for the opportunity.

“I did not sell much, but I was really grateful that even though we were sitting outside, provision was made for us to watch all the proceedings of the memorial service,” she says.

Timoteus says she went to sell at the stadium to make extra money since it was a public holiday.

“I bought chicken and cooldrinks with a lot of other snacks. I mean when you hear 50 000 people, you buy a lot of stock. I, however, only made N$500 and now I have to find a way to sell all this stock.

“And cooked food goes bad quickly, so that is the greatest concern,” she says.

Timoteus says many vendors present at Independence Stadium share her experience.

“We sold a few fatcakes here and there. The highlight for me was when an ambassador from South Africa came out to buy some snacks. I don’t even know if he went to eat them, but it was a great opportunity,” she says.

She says business is unpredictable.

“One day you make a lot of money, and on other days you don’t. But I would like to request that the government always allow vendors to come and sell when they have large events.

“At least now we have this experience,” Timoteus says.

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