By Musa Zimunya
WINDHOEK, Mar. 30 – The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston S. Churchill, once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
A true optimist, 29 year old Petrus Shikongo saw a gap at single quarters, where meat is available and roasted in abundance. He realised that for all the meat and salad at the customers’ disposal, there was no hardened porridge (pap) readily available to make the experience resemble a meal.
He began cooking pap at home and transporting it to single quarters, where he sells it to an eager clientele.
“I realised that there was a gap in the market, so I started making pap. I also sell drinks.”
However, not everything was rosy, as customers were skeptical of buying pap from a man.
“In the beginning it was very hard my brother. You know, people don’t trust that a guy can make pap. They didn’t expect a man to sell pap. But now, they have tried it and tasted it. I get very busy, especially on holidays like this (Easter,)” said Shikongo.
The first six months were a trying time for the entrepreneur, but with hard work and perseverance come results, and now, his business is flourishing.
“I began three years ago. I used to rent from a woman who was selling traditional food and drink. But she left and went to the North, then I took over and developed the stand. I sell drinks, also diluted drink, and of course the pap. The pap is what customers frequently visit for.”
Shikongo is a single father with two kids he takes care of.
“The biggest blessing one can ask for is children, and I am blessed with two boys. One of them is in kindergarten, the other will go next year. It is through this business that I am supporting my family and raising my two boys.”
‘The man who cooks pap’ paid a deaf ear to nay-sayers who found it awkward that a man would sell pap, and as a result, he proudly declares that he is contributing to the economy.
“They laughed, I continued. Where are they now? I now employ two people. I am also there in job creation and playing my part as a citizen of Namibia,” he boasted.
As the world recognises that gender equality is a requisite, so too do customers appreciate that a man can cook and sell pap.