The floods from neighbouring Angola cause some destruction across northern Namibia, but they also bring along bountiful fish, which end up in the Oshitutuma floodplains in Omusati. The fish harvested from the floodplains have become a source of food and employment for the community in the area.
When New Era visited Oshitutuma last week, there were more than 40 men and women catching fish. According to angler Mirjiam Shanghala from Okalumbi village near Oshitutuma, they catch fish by using nets and fishing tackle, but cannot use the traditional fishing baskets since there is too much water.
“We have been here for long now. We are camping here, although sometimes we spend one week at the floodplains, and one week at our homes,” narrated Shanghala. The fish they catch is either sold or used for domestic consumption. She said most of the people camping along the floodplains travel long distances, as some come from Outapi, Okalongo and surrounding villages, hoping to catch fish for survival.
“We always wake up early in the morning to check the nets, and before we sleep. If there is a catch, we take it out and recast our nets, but we do this all together at the same time,” she explained.
Shanghala said they then stand along the roads, selling their fish. “We sometimes make about N$400 per week, depending on passers-by,” she observed. She also camps along the floodplains every year after the seasonal floods. Her business partner, Naapopye Immanuel, told this newspaper that they have to do this to feed their families and to be able to send children to school.
She is furthermore able to save part of the money she makes from the fish she catches and sells. The anglers said they are thankful that so far, none of the government officials or headmen stopped them from catching their fish.