Baking bread for his community
27 June 2018 | Local News
This month Ewi lyaNooli caught up with Benjamin Elago Mbandeka (46), a teacher by profession, who spoke about what inspired him to start the bakery.
Mbandeka says his bakery opened on 12 March this year.
He says he wanted to be different by offering a product that would benefit the entire community.
“If you go around in villages, many people just want to own a cuca shop, but I told myself that if I wanted to do business, it should be something people in the village and surrounding areas can't live without and have to travel long distances to get.
“That is why I decided to establish this bakery because people are always in need of bread and they spend a lot of money on transport to go to Oshikuku to buy bread. I believe I have made life easier for my community now.”
Mbandeka currently has two employees. They bake up to 140 loaves a day. The bread is sold from his house, but they also drive to surrounding communities to sell bread there.
“The aim currently is to make sure people in Omagalanga and nearby villages can buy quality bread at an affordable price,” Mbandeka says.
The whole batch sells out every day.
“You won't find bread here that was baked the previous day,” Mbandeka says.
He says some people buy up to three loaves per day to feed their large families, and sales are increasing by the day.
One of his bakers has 40 years' experience and he does not compromise on quality, he adds.
At the time of the interview, Kaunambili Mushiki, a villager, came to buy bread and said she could not thank Mbandeka enough for establishing the bakery.
“We used to go buy bread at Oshikuku and it's N$20 for transport but now we just walk from our houses to Mbandeka's bakery and buy bread. We are now saving the N$20 we used for transport to Oshikuku and buy bread with it. We are really thankful and appreciative for what Mbandeka came up with,” Mushiki said.
Mbandeka says he aims to expand the business and produce bread in bulk to feed the people of his region.
The bread served at some school hostels and hospitals in the region comes from other regions, which he believes should not happen.
Mbandeka feels that local people should be empowered to produce food for the region, which would address unemployment and poverty too.
“If I could get bread-making equipment that can bake more bread at the same time, I'll have to employ more people and through that we will tackle the issue of poverty which is high in our country.”
Mbandeka says in the future he hopes to sell bread to schools and other government institutions in the region.
He encourages fellow Namibians to be innovative, saying that opportunities are unlimited and people should believe in their ideas and make them work.
“We should always look out for opportunities. They can be anywhere and I believe that there are Namibians out there with great ideas but they have not put them into action. The time is now and we must work for the people of this country,” Mbandeka adds.