New Era (Windhoek)

16 November 2012

Namibia: Iyambo, God Father of ?Nyama Choma?

Eenhana — British novelist Virginia Woolf is quoted as saying, "one cannot think well, love well and sleep well, if one has not dined well."

"Dinning well" is the feeling one gets while digging into scrumptious nyama choma, and spinach at Ekanda Restaurant and Bar.

Nyama choma and ekanda, a Namibian delicacy that has become popular across northern Namibia, is grilled beef, pork bones, trotters (omakondo), fish and chips and Oshiwambo chicken. Iyambo the granddaddy of the Oshikwanyama nyama choma business explains how business is growing tremendously. "I first came to Namibia in January 1990 from Zambia with a dream of becoming an engineer. However, I discovered that going into business was better than being employed. We co-founded the nyama choma and ekanda Restaurant and Bar at the yellow complex. But I am the one behind the wheels," Iyambo relates.

The shy but extremely funny 29 year old Namibian child of the liberation struggle, a native of the Ohangwena region, worked for Standard Bank in Namibia for five years. "My inspiration to explore the nyama choma or kapana business was derived from my own personal hunger," adds the witty entrepreneur. "Besides enjoying nyama choma, I discovered that it was an unpopular business here in Eenhana. I used to go to other restaurants and everything sold was in large quantity. For example l would order an Oshiwambo chicken and be given the whole thing which I could not finish alone."

At his Ekanda Restaurant, grilled delicacies are served based on what the client wants. Costs range from N $ 20 to N $ 30 per plate. "It's customers who have made my nyama choma and ekanda business popular. When one enjoys a meal at a given place like Ekanda Restaurant, they will always tell friends about the amazing dish they had," Iyambo reveals adding that given the fact that it was a new business venture, he encountered several challenges but has been able to deal with them for the last five years. "This being a new concept, training the staff was a challenge and it took a lot of time. In fact we still do on the job training and sometimes send them for short courses like Customer Care and Service. The other challenge is moving from one premise to another. For example there was a point when my lease expired and was not renewed, so I had to look for other premises to operate but fortunately I was able to return here at the yellow complex, which is the main centre here in Eenhana."

The nyama choma and ekanda restaurant is frequently visited by top and middle income people from all corners in the Ohangwena region. It offers a variety of dishes which includes matangara, Mexican pizza, salads and fish and chips as well as the popular Oshiwambo chicken.

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