19 June 2017

Namibia: Budding Photographer Making Waves in the North

Three years ago, Erasmus Stefanus was just an ordinary youth with no vision of what he exactly wanted to do in life. Today, he runs a small but fast-growing photography business.

Stefanus (36), from Ondobe in the Ohangwena region, is the owner and director of Tutwala Investment CC. The name Tutwala means 'take us there'. He started the business in 2013, with savings from many menial jobs that he had been doing.

"The beginning was not easy. I always had this feeling of starting a business, but just did not know which one. But luckily, photography unexpectedly came my way, and I never looked back," he noted.

Stefanus said he attended a six-months training course on business management and entrepreneurship prior to the start and registration of his business. That was in 2011, and it was sponsored by a local bank and the Namibia Tourism Board, and conducted by a reputable South African university.

Stefanus, who has also been to Germany on training-related business, now employs two people at his business at Kandjengedi. He does photography and video filming at social, church, corporate, public and sports events. He also helps out at funerals.

Like any other businessperson, he is not immune to challenges. "The lack of equipment, lack of financing from banking institutions and the lack of a good place to rent are the main challenges we are facing," he told The Namibian on Wednesday. To compound matters, last year during the Oshakati totem expo, thugs attacked him and robbed him of all his camera equipment, money and personal documents.

"I was lucky, however, that they did not hurt me." He thus had to start all over.

Although he has an office, Stafanus does not confine himself to it. He is mobile, and if he is not taking photographs at events taking place across the north, you will find him at the Oshana mall at Ongwediva, or at the Game complex at Oshakati. " I can only be at the office when busy with something. Otherwise, I have to be in the field, " he stated.

Tutwala Investment is now growing in leaps and bounds. Stefanus took photographs at many events in the north such as trade fairs, expos, social and corporate events as well as traditional authorities' events.

He told The Namibian that he wants to grow his business, and offer a better service while offering employment opportunities to others, especially the youth. He was also grateful for the generosity of businessman Ben Zaaruka, owner of Oshana mall, for letting small businesspeople like him conduct business at the mall without any hindrance.

"That man, I do not know how to thank him. God bless him," he added.


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