RUNDU - Villagers spend days in the dense forest harvesting thatch grass and then put it up for sale along the Trans-Caprivi Highway, especially in the Ndiyona and Mukwe constituencies of Kavango East.
One of their regular customers is Norbert Karangana, who makes a living off building thatch-roof structures with this grass locally known as ‘Nangondwe’.
Karangana (32) uses only quality grass when he is hired to construct grass roofs for houses, businesses or lodges in any part of the country.
He got inspired to do thatch-roofing over six years ago while on a job-seeking mission in Ondangwa.
“I came across some people doing thatch-roofing. Out of curiosity, I asked them where I can also learn to do it. They referred me to KAYEC in Ondangwa, and I enrolled for a year and eight months. I got the skills and some tools, and the skills have fed me and my family since then,” he told Youth Corner.
“One also needs to be fit and focused because if you fall while up on the roof, you will lose your life or get seriously injured,” he added.
The Rundu-born Karangana expressed dismay that some people don’t want to pay as quoted.
“Maybe it’s because it appears to be easy, but it’s really a lot of work to build a strong, quality structure that will stand for years”.
He said many people want to decide on the price without knowing the hardships they face and the quality they produce for them. “Sometimes, they just come to you and tell you this is what I have, and I want you to construct a thatch roof for me,” stated Karangana, who is raising his four children.
Despite the challenges, he moves on and can go anywhere for a project, even outside the country.
His message to fellow young people is that this is their time, and to use their minds. “We can’t wait for jobs to present themselves. We have to go out of our way, even if it means moving from your home town or village to a different place to search for bread. Maybe by going out there, you will stumble upon opportunities and bring something home.”
Karangana now recruits fellow young people to uplift them too. “Just like any construction business, I recruit according to a given project, and the number depends on the project. I don’t praise myself; people tell me I deliver beautiful infrastructure. They tell me I’m good at what I do.”
He is reachable on 0817930192, or on Facebook under his name.