• October 1st, 2020

Kwatoko Joinery brings wood to life

John Muyamba

RUNDU - Kwatoko Joinery owner Kandjimi Ndumba is not resting on his laurels, despite the grim economic situation across the country. 
The 50-year-old, who runs the Rundu-based business, said he remains committed to his work, although there are notable challenges. 
Ndumba and his seven workers do a lot of work from wood, including cabinet and furniture, joinery and carpentry, among others. “We also repair broken wooden products. 
We sell our products mainly to local customers. Lodges around Rundu also bring in their orders and we do things for them,” said Ndumba, adding that his business was severely affected by government’s ban against timber transportation. “Without it (timber), we won’t have work. We need timber planks to work with; it is our bread and butter. 
For some of us, it is our only source of income, and I support my family with the income I source from here,” he said. Woodwork or joinery has potential and people can make a living off it. 
“The beauty of this work is not like a mechanic where one needs to wait for cars to get damaged before they can work; we work every day to make beds, tables, doors and other products that we sell on display at the open market and at certain places,” Ndumba elaborated. 
“People walk in and see what we have and they buy. We also attend to orders. You can come in with your design and we do it for you. We also have our own design albums where customers can look through and we make it for them.” Kwatoko Joinery has done work for some lodges and other establishments around the two Kavango regions. Some of these lodges include Tambuti, Sarusungu and Rundu hotel, as well as some local guesthouses. The business started operating in 2005 but the company was only registered in 2007. 
“Then we started hiring some staff, and in 2009, I got equipment assistance from the ministry of trade, which started to make our work easier and we started producing more products.”  
Kwatoko also helps out with internships for those doing woodwork or joinery as a vocational subject. Kwatoko Joinery operates at the Rundu industrial area at a facility owned by the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA) which they have been renting with other joiners and wood carvers for many years. 
“I came to work for Kwatoko Joinery in 2005 – I got training here, as I got to learn on the job and mastered it. Now I specialise in making wooden beds. I have also learned that doing handy work is good because one cannot struggle to make a living when you take it seriously,” said 30-year-old Siremo Nekongo from Rundu’s Sauyemwa location. 
“I dropped out of school years ago when I was in grade 8; this is how I make a living now – from wood work. I am grateful to Kwatoko Joinery for the job they entrusted me to do.” The 34-year-old Wajila Johannes from Rundu’s Ndama location said he joined Kwatoko Joinery in 2018 and it has become his source of livelihood. 
“It has become my bread. I have learned a lot since I started working here. I specialise in making wooden tables, as that is what I have mastered. Joinery work keeps my body fit because I have to deal with heavy wood daily and I like it,” he said. “I also didn’t finish school; I just went up to grade 7 at Ndama Combined School. I also learned to do joinery here and it is awesome.”

John Muyamba
2020-01-29 07:37:10 | 8 months ago

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