10 January 2018

Namibia: Daring Omuthiya Carpenter Carves Own Niche

Omuthiya — A young entrepreneur says he was destined to be a carpenter despite the wide perceptions of belittling individuals that went through technical training at the expense of those that graduated from academic tertiary institutions.

Johannes Petrus, well-known as Chester by his army of admirers, was born and bred here in Omuthiya. The 25-year-old advised fellow youth to pursue what they are good at instead of succumbing to peer pressure and pleasing society.

"I could have been a nurse or a teacher or anything, but I chose to do what they termed as odd jobs because it is my passion. My artistic talent influenced me to do this and make use of this God-given gift," said Petrus, whose careers spans over five years. Last year he opened his own business, christened Johnson Joinery and Kitchen Renovating cc.

The venture marked the beginning of his road to economic freedom because he could now work for himself and provides employment to others. "I was inspired by my cousin who worked for Impact Manufacturing and Interior Services in Okahandja in 2013. I saw the good work he did, and I related to my artistic skills and that was it," stressed Petrus, who studied through national water utility Namwater's technical training.

"Omuthiya presented a lot of opportunities for me, and luckily I came at a time when the town is developing as there is a lot of construction happening," he said.

"The fact that I am the only one doing joinery in town gives me some advantage. Many people here had to hire workmanship from Tsumeb, Ondangwa and Oshakati in the past, which was too costly for them. Now I am saving them additional expenses as I am just a call away."

His business does construction and repair of building frameworks and structures such as stairways, doorframes, partitions and rafters made from wood. He also installs kitchen cabinets and bar shelving.

He said at the moment he cannot do everything, citing that his rented workshop is too small.

"I have it in mind to employ at least five more people, but the space is small and I cannot do much hence I rely on small tenders, repairing and designing upon request from specific customers. So we don't have readily available products due to storage," says Petrus.

One of the setbacks he also pointed out was that he does not have all the much-needed equipment for the job. "Never give up in whatever you are doing, it does not yield enough money today but once you keep soldiering on tomorrow will be a better day. Therefore, struggle today for a better tomorrow," advised Petrus.

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