Driving along the Oshakati-Outapi main road, the only attraction that can catch your eye at Ogongo, 50km from Oshakati, is a humble meat stall.
Here, motorists stop to buy from an assortment of raw, cooked or roasted meat. They can also choose from the fresh fruits and vegetables on display. The stall belongs to Bernard Iita, who started his business with virtually nothing some 13 years ago. Today, he is employing seven young people.
"When I completed high school at the Ruacana Vocational School in 2004, I did not gain enough points for further studies. So, in 2005, I started looking for a job, but without success. That is when I decided to start a business," Iita told The Namibian at his stall at Ogongo, where he and one of his assistants were serving customers on Sunday.
Iita's success story is an example of how a focused and determined individual can reach their dreams. In 2005, he started selling kapana at his village cuca-shops at Oshitutuma near Oshikuku in Omusati. He would get matangala (tripe) from the now closed Meatco abattoir at Oshakati.
"I used to cook meat, and people would buy. After a few years, I was able to buy more stock and even built a zinc structure to keep my supplies safe. I even bought two fridges," stressed the entrepreneur.
By then, this 36-year-old father of three had hired one employee as an assistant.
"I also started selling raw meat at pension pay points in the villages," he narrated.
Iita's business, christened Nakaye Butchery, grew in leaps and bounds over the years, and he now has three businesses situated at Oshitutuma, Oshipanda and Ogongo. Nakaye means 'It must go' in Oshiwambo.
At every business, he sells meat, vegetables and fruits. The business now employs seven workers - four women and three men. He also owns two vehicles which he uses to conduct business.
"I travel a lot. While my employees are based at the stalls, I have to go and sell elsewhere, or be on the road to collect stock," he noted.
Iita makes about N$4 000 per day from his three business outlets. According to him, he makes between N$25 000 and N$30 000 a month, after paying staff salaries, buying new stock and paying other expenses. He says he gets his vegetable and fruit stock from the Etunda Irrigation Scheme, and the meat from Meatco in Windhoek.
He said since the closure of the Oshakati Meatco abbatoir, ordering stock from Windhoek is expensive due to fuel costs.
When The Namibian visited Iita, he was busy selling meat to some customers at Ogongo.
"Most people say I should not be here. I should apparently be driving around in a luxury vehicle, and only do stocktaking. I do not work like that. I believe in working, and this will also motivate my employees," he reasoned.
One of Iita's most trusted employees is Twiindileni Kashinda, whom he had worked with for eight years. "She is my right-hand person, and knows this business and all its secrets well. I can leave for three months, and I will not worry about anything. She can take care of it," he stressed.
Kashinda also expressed gratitude at having a chance to work with Iita. "He does not have a problem; he only wants people to work and be honest," she said.
Regular customer and fellow villager Theobart Nangolo said Iita's story is worth emulating by the country's youth. "What he has achieved is a good example. The youth should not only wait to be employed by someone. They should also start their businesses and employ others," he stated.