With the festive season in full swing, the bustling north, where families reunite at homesteads, bars and eateries, is filling up and is a hive of activity, with Namibians spending their hard-earned salaries and bonuses on wedding clothes, hairstyles, meat and food and drink, among other things.
Ondangwa tailor Rosina Amunyela says the number of customers has doubled over the festive season.
“We are currently understaffed because the customers are many. Every day we have people queuing outside requesting our services. We have wedding clothing items that we are busy with and we also have baptism clothing items to work on. The workload is too much and we hardly get enough time to rest around this time of the year.
“We are working day and night to cater to our customers because we do not want to turn away anyone. I have about five weddings of which we are making over 200 traditional dresses and shirts for men. Wedding clients order a lot of items and put us under so much pressure.”
Another tailor from Ondangwa, Diina Mathews, echoed the same sentiments.
“It’s December and almost everyone has a wedding to prepare for and the more weddings, the higher the demand for our services because everyone needs to be dressed in some stylish traditional clothing.
“Last week, I had to turn away some customers because we were busy and could not attend to everyone, unfortunately. If only it could be wedding season all year around, we would really thrive on our sales.”
According to Anna Nangombe, who owns a beauty salon at Ongwediva, the salon business is going well, especially now that it is the wedding season.
“We are mostly booked for weddings. Weddings are a lot this year, but we also get booked for other ceremonies. Sometimes, we help clients even when they do not have the full amount because we can all see how bad the economy is.”
AT THE CUTTING EDGE
Jeckonia Haihambo, who owns a barbershop at Oshakati, says the influx of people to the north has improved business.
This can be observed by the long queue of customers wanting a haircut.
Haihambo says weddings have boosted his business.
“I can even get seven clients from the same wedding who require different hairstyles and hair treatments. It’s exhausting but we have to make use of the chance to make money.”
With many people finding themselves in the Ohangwena region and looking for venues to host their weddings and other ceremonies, Johannes Gabriel, the owner of a rest camp at Okongo, is cashing in.
Gabriel says the venue has been fully booked since the start of the festive season.
“People cannot resist an environment that is so natural and breathtaking to host their guests. Being booked every day is amazing.”
Gabriel says the festive season has brought more customers, which means more business.
FARMERS AND AGRICULTURE
Lazarus Shaningwa, who owns a fruit and vegetable farm near Outapi, says the festive season has brought a high demand for their fresh farm produce. Shaningwa says two farms near the Olushandja Dam supply cabbages, which is an indication that the demand is high.
“We are attributing this to the weddings that are currently happening in the north and people need vegetables. We sell cabbages, tomatoes, onions, butternut and many others.”
He says the only challenge is the extreme hot weather that affects their seedlings.
“But we are watering them. Hopefully, it will not affect our harvest in February.”
Another farmer in the area, Sylvanus Naunyango, who owns a vegetable project, agrees that the festive season migration has created much business.
“The demand for vegetables has improved in comparison to the middle of the year. Even the produce wasn’t that much due to poor rain and the quality of produce, so people were a bit choosy but now we have improved the quality.”
MEAT SELLERS AND BUTCHERIES
Shaningwa, who is also in the meat industry, sells meat and meat products at Oshifo, Ruacana.
He says the market for meat has increased with the many weddings and other ceremonies taking place.
“We sell meat and meat products. We also sell oxen for meat and breeding. Our meat and meat products are locally made, thus we say it gives them a unique element.”
Epafras Eshumba, the manager of a farmers cooperative in the Otamanzi constituency, says the meat industry is negatively affected by drought, which also compromises the quality of meat.
“This has forced us to resort to value added tax products such as biltong, sausages, russians and viennas, so that we stay competitive.
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