Namibia: Teacher Doubles As Backyard Mechanic

15 September 2021

JOHANNES Jacob (23) from Elombe village near Ongwediva in the Oshana region is a teacher with his own auto mechanic workshop at home.

Jacob obtained a degree in education from the University of Namibia last year, and teaches biology, agriculture and life science at Oshinamumwe Combined School in the Oshikoto region.

He says it has always been his ambition to be an auto-mechanic, even though he studied education.

"I ended up being a teacher due to unforeseen circumstances," he says, and adds his father, Naftal Jacob, who used to be an auto mechanic, is his source of inspiration.

"He taught me how to fix cars from a young age. Now I am here as an expert because of him," Jacob says.

"I started with this type of work when I was 13 years old. Whenever my father went to fix a car in the community or at home, I always followed him and checked what he was doing. Eventually I started fixing these old cars, and one day it started working out."

Jacob says he can repair any kind of car, since his father taught him everything.

"I can detect what is wrong with it by just looking at it. I have up to 14 years' experience, and I do auto-electrical work and panel beating too," he says.

Jacob says fixing cars was a source of income for him as a child, which reduced the burden on his parents.

"I wanted to be independent," he says.

His father says: "I can say he is better than me now. He is really an expert. I trained him at our garage at home whenever I was fixing cars. He has mastered everything, and nothing is a challenge to him."

Jacob says when he attended primary school at Oikango Combined School he used to fix his teachers' cars.

"He is such a busy boy. People are always looking for him to get their cars serviced. He loves his work," Naftal says.

One of Jacob's former school teachers says she could not believe Jacob could fix cars when he was a little boy, until she saw him working on a vehicle.

"He is such a real mechanic. I could not believe it, because he did not go to any university or for vocational training to do this. He always fixes my car, and now it is like he is the car's doctor. He does not care where you are. He will even help you telephonically if he is unable to reach you," she says.

Jacob says he does his second job over weekends and on holidays.

"My friends refer clients to me, and that makes me well known," he says.

Jacob says he uses the little he receives to buy tools and equipment, and to invest in establishing his own garage.

"I am still working hard in order to come up with a proper garage structure for my clients to visit," he says.

He still dreams of going to study auto mechanics to become a certified mechanic.

His advice to young people is the following: "Do not be dependent. Be independent. Work for yourself. Create chances for yourself and identify your skills. It is never too late to do what you want."

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