Madon Canu Korupanda is a seasoned farmer in the Eiseb area of the Epukiro Constituency of the Omaheke region.
He farms on Otjisuverua plot in the dense acacia thorn bush of Eiseb, an area he has called home for the past 20 years or so. His speciality is breeding bulls from his beloved Brahman breed, which he does for other farmers.
Although he appears to be steady in his farming enterprise, the road to the present day was not as easy.
In fact, some three years ago, he was convinced his life had come to a complete standstill.
Korupanda, whose love for soccer has made him one of the best young midfielders to emerge from the Omaheke region, had his career cut short by a nagging knee injury in 2018. Before that, he had played for the school team of every school he attended from his native Otjimanangombe village school to Epako High School in Gobabis and eventually for the Okakarara Vocational Training Centre.
It is at Okakarara where he earned his stripes and his nickname ‘Canu’ –after erstwhile Nigerian striking wizard Nwankwo Kanu.
When tragedy struck in October 2018, and his knee could no longer carry him on the soccer pitch, it was hard for Korupanda to imagine doing anything else.
“I went to the village in December of the same year after the injury. I was feeling very down, and did not know what to do. For the first time in many years, I had to watch my beloved game of soccer from the sidelines,” he said. When his friends returned to cities and towns, Korupanda remained behind in the village, as there was nothing left for him in town. It was, however, at this time that he decided to take on farming full-time, as it has been the only other thing he knew well and was groomed into by his parents.
“I suddenly realised that my life is not over. In fact, looking back now, I realised that my life only started at that moment I decided to take on farming full-time. It made perfect sense, as it was an area I had come to know and love since birth,” he noted.
With the previously dormant farming seed in Korupanda watered, he took on his favourite breed, the Brahman, and decided to farm on a commercial basis – even if he was still on communal land.
His mission has been to make sure he provides quality-breeding bulls to his fellow farmers – a task he has been accomplishing since 2019.
The Eiseb area, just like any other part of the country, is faced with livestock theft challenges, which often sets farmers back and force some to start over, as animals are lost to thieves. Also, the gifblaar, a poisonous plant that grows in the area has proven to be an even bigger challenge for full-time farmers like Korupanda.
“These are, indeed, challenges that make people question if farming is really profitable. Those who have a choice might choose not to go into farming for these reasons – but for us who farm out of both passion and necessity, it is not something we are prepared to go through,” said Korupanda.
Looking back at his years of playing soccer, Korupanda realised how lucky he was to have turned to farming at the right time. “Imagine if I was not injured and played soccer until I was way much older? What time and power would I have for starting afresh? I think it was really a blessing in disguise for me,” he noted.
Korupanda advises other soccer players to make hay while the sun shines, as it might be too late, in the end, to pursue other dreams when football does not work out.
“Go on and spread your wings. Always have a Plan B. Life is so unpredictable, and no one knows what tomorrow holds, “he said.