• September 20th, 2019

New mall set to stimulate Otjiwarongo economy

Kaylan Shipanga

OTJIWARONGO - A new shopping complex under construction in the heart of Otjiwarongo could bring close to one hundred jobs when it officially opens. 

Etemba Plaza is expected to open its doors in June in the town’s central business district, just across from the Otjiwarongo Town Square mall. The new N$45 million 4500 square meter centre is solely owned by Otjiwarongo entrepreneur and owner of Theo’s Superspar Supermarket, Theo Borstlap. 

Etemba will transform a previously aging complex into a modern centre that Borstlap says will uplift the entire area. Having purchased the property in 2018, Borstlap added that the location is very convenient for traffic, tourists, and local residents.   
“The space in itself is the last open business area in the heart of Otjiwarongo. I think it’s a really strategic site for any business no matter what business you want to put in there,” he said. 

Borstlap says all materials for the project were sourced from local suppliers to help support Namibians in the difficult economic times, and that despite the hardships, investors should consider Otjiwarongo open for business. 
“If you look at the influx of people coming into Otjiwarongo, I think in another 20 years there could be over 100,000 people. As an entrepreneur, I invest for the future—not the short term.”

“Although the economy is not so good, Otjiwarongo is still a growing town. So I think it’s a good place to invest due to the fact that it’s always growing. When I put up Superspar in 2006, people asked me, ‘Why such a big store in Otjiwarongo’ and I asked them ‘why not?’ They asked me, ‘Why such a beautiful store’ and I asked them ‘why not?’ What’s the difference between us and Windhoek? I believe that the community of Otjozondjupa needs decent shopping areas. We are one of the bigger towns in Namibia. There’s a lot of opportunity still to explore.”

An Otjiwarongo native, Borstlap has become a force in Otjiwarongo development. His entrepreneurial roots stretch back to his childhood where he worked at his family’s small farm store and sold sweets. In 1992, he opened a small take away shop, which years later mushroomed into Theo’s Superspar, the popular Otjiwarongo mega supermarket for travelers and locals. Borstlap believes passion, discipline, and hard work are the keys to successful entrepreneurship, noting some of his own Superspar employees who started out as bag packers and are now in managerial and ownership positions within the franchise. 

When Borstlap built Superspar in 2006, he says it was a high-risk project that ultimately drove new business to Otjiwarongo.

“So once again, perhaps it’s not the right economical time to do this kind of development, but I’m setting myself up for the future. We are saying to Otjiwarongo its not all doom and gloom—there’s a future for us. Hopefully, the rest of Otjiwarongo will take hands and let’s build the town.”

Etemba, which in Oshiwambo and Otjiherero, translates to feeding or drinking trough, will provide space for 21 shops renting from N$70 to N$250 per square metre. 

The largest stores include a Spar Savemor, Standard Bank Business Centre, packaging supply retailer Plastilon, Dros restaurant, and a Bureau De Change. Ten smaller shops are also in the complex to cater for smaller entrepreneurs and as of print, all rental spaces in the complex are reserved. 
Caption (Theo): Theo Borstlap, the owner of the Etemba Plaza under construction in Otjiwarongo

*This article was written by Kaylan Shipanga, an Information Officer at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Otjozondjupa regional office.

Staff Reporter
2019-05-23 09:22:02 3 months ago

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