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Repair shop thrives in Katima

Fatty Nyambe has built his auto business on his solid reputation as a mechanic. With Development Bank funding, he is growing his enterprise to cover more aspects of the auto trade. (Photograph provided by DBN)Fatty Nyambe’s love for his trade as a mechanic reflects in everything he does. With skills and experience in the driving seat and finance from the Development Bank of Namibia, he has established a thriving repair and parts business in the Caprivi.
“To run any business successfully, you have to be a qualified and have solid experience in a trade, because you have to be able to do the work yourself and understand the core of the business. I went through a lot of hardships during the training, but was determined to get qualified and become a professional mechanic,” says Nyambe.
In 1980, five years after he completed Matric, Nyambe decided to pursue his dream of becoming a mechanic. After joining the Caprivi Administration he was sent to Durban for three years of studies. This was followed by an annual six months of in-service training in Johannesburg, over a four year period.
In 2004, after 23 years in the Government service and four years between 1992 and 1996 working at Namdeb, Nyambe decided to establish his own garage, in Divundu.
In 2007, he spotted an opportunity in his hometown, Katima Mulilo to provide repair and breakdown services. Nyambe says, “In Katima I built the garage from nothing, from the ground up, and called it 435 Repairs and Breakdown Services.”
However, he realised that Katima Mulilo had a shortage of suppliers of vehicle parts, especially engines, engine parts, gear boxes and exhaust systems, and so he decided to grow his business. “I wanted to set up a workshop and spare parts shop, and applied to the Development Bank for a loan to buy quality equipment and stock. This is how KSNS Auto Parts and Exhaust Centre came to be.”
With the facility from the DBN, he invested in a trailer and towing equipment, and began importing vehicle parts from South Africa. With his skills, equipment and facilities, he has been able to win contracts to service and repair companies and government fleets.
“My wife does the books, but she also knows the basic aspects of being a mechanic core function of the business. I taught her the basic aspects of being a mechanic, so that nothing goes wrong when I am not here,” Nyambe adds.
His advise to other entrepreneurs is to: “Never be shy to ask for assistance, information and learn skills from others. Never be scared of competition, it gives you strength and the motivation to always provide a quality service and never give up. Failure gives a person experience. Have a lot of patience and concentrate on the quality of work you produce and not the time spent on the work.”
His passion for the trade, dedication to work and sustained pursuit for knowledge and experience make him a very able entrepreneur, which are the same qualities, which contributed to the DBN’s decision to finance KSNS Auto Parts and Exhaust Centre.

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