Okahandja's woodcarvers struggling to survive

20 July 2020 | Business

Woodcarvers and vendors operating at informal markets in Okahandja said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has robbed them of their livelihood, due to a lack of customers and the fact that they often don’t sell a single product in many months.
Speaking to Nampa on Sunday, the vendors said most of them have been selling their products at the informal market for many years and that they have never experienced the hardships they are going through now.
One of the vendors, Johannes Hipo, said he has been operating there since 2004. When business is bad, he makes around N$600 and during good months it can go to thousands, without revealing amounts. However, since the pandemic began, there has been no income.
“Most of our customers are tourists and foreign visitors, because locals don’t really buy these things. But ever since this Coronavirus started, we have not had a single customer to buy our products. There is no income anymore because of Covid-19. It robbed us of our livelihood,” Hipo said.
Another vendor, Natalia Ismael, who has also been operating there since 2004, said Covid-19 has created many problems, including that that they are unable to pay for electricity and basic needs.
Erastus Aukongo, who started operating there in 1994, said business had always been good, but that the pandemic has disrupted everything. “We are struggling to provide for our kids because there is nothing coming in. Our business depends on tourists who are no longer coming into the country. Government should look at us like any other Namibians and help us,” Aukongo said. – Nampa

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