Make your own bricks, build your own home, and if you’re good, sell them to Build it
The dusty crossroads town, Otavi, served as the location for the last Brickmaking Academy conducted by partners Ohorongo Cement and Build it hardware stores, for this year. A highlight of the training session was the presence of the town’s mayor who attended, not as an official but as a homebuilder keen on learning how to make her own bricks.
Her Worship, Cllr. Martha Shipanga and 22 other trainees from across the vast Otjozondjupa Region came together in Otavi on Wednesday to learn the finer skills of brickmaking using a manual brickpress. During the 3-hour session, the aspiring brickmakers learned about aggregate, mixture, cement, water and curing.
Ohorongo Cement and Build it hardware stores have conducted several brickmaking academies in various centra over the past year. Wherever the academy was presented, it drew a large crowd of enthusiastic trainees. The training venture is also actively supported by Regional Governors as witnessed by their contributions at each of the sessions.
“I have learned that most successful people got their hands dirty at some point in their lives. Irrespective of my title as the mayor of the town, I also need these sustainable skills, because I believe it is my duty to set a good example, and inspire the people of the region. I can not be a leader and not know how to do the basic things in life,” said Mayor Shipanga.
“The fact that you involve the government through liaising with the various Governors with this initiative, shows transparency and dialogue, true dedication for the cause. It proves that big companies still have a caring heart at its core,” said Moses !Omeb, Special Advisor to Hon. Otto Ipinge, the Governor of Otjozondjpa.
When the initiative was launched, little did the academy partners realise what pervasive demand there is country-wide to learn more about the technical side of making one’s own bricks. Although most people attend the sessions to produce bricks for their own use, Build it has thrown in a sweetener, committing to buy the finished product back from the brickmakers provided it conforms to minimum quality criteria.
“We are very fortunate to join forces with Ohorongo Cement in this venture. Not only does this Academy strengthen smart partnerships, but it also empowers future tradesmen, not only with new skills, but also with the assurance that the Build it Group of companies can and will provide all Namibians with top quality building materials,” said Paul Hinson, Category Buyer for the Build it Group, confirming their eagerness to help some individuals turn into entrepreneurs with their brickmaking skills.
Pictured are the Mayor of Otavi, Her Worship Cllr Martha Shipanga and the Brickmaking Academy instructor, Jurgens Nel, a technical advisor from Ohorongo Cement.