Day Six at Ongediva Fair

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By Wezi Tjaronda ONGWEDIVA Hundreds of people are braving the blistering heat of the North and continue to flock to the Ongwediva Trade Fair, which has become a household name here. The Fair offers a variety of interesting things for show-goers, including toys and games for children, clothes for both men and women, the rich and the not-so-rich, old and young, jewellery for all ages, banking services, entertainment, food, and many other services that have been brought right to the doorsteps of the people of the North. From the day the Fair started until Tuesday evening, 23ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 people had entered the showgrounds. This figure is only from ticket sales and excludes people who bought booklets. Those who have seen the Show grow since its inception ten years ago, feel that a lot of effort has been put into this year’s Show to meet the expectations of show-goers as well as traders and exhibitors. Most of the exhibitors who brought their products for sale, have been here time and again over the years and are people who usually reserve their current stands after the Show has ended. The Trade Fair has also brought temporary employment for hundreds of people who clean the facilities, assist with the selling of products at a number of stands. The local people have an added advantage due to the fact that they speak the local language and can communicate to a wider market. The Small and Medium Enterprise tent, where most if not all traditional foods and beverages are being sold, and also the entertainment area where the food and alcoholic drinks have been housed, have attracted a lot of people so far. Damian Egumbo, Chairman of the Ongwediva Trade Fair and also the Chief Executive Officer of Ongwediva Town Council, said the fair has become renowned for its traditional cuisine and foods that are served, which demonstrates the people’s traditional and cultural norms. Some feel this year’s Show is much better compared to that of last year in terms of the number of people visiting their stands. Others, however, felt business was slightly slow. Whilst some complained about the strict security arrangements at the Show which, for example, makes it difficult for those who lost their ID tags to get them to their stands until they part with more money to replace their tags, others like Engineering Centre of Windhoek, felt that if security arrangements were up to date, they would not have lost their exhibition items. On Tuesday night, for instance, a company which usually participates at other fairs but was in Ongwediva for the very first time, lost LED torches and other products worth between N$7ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 and N$8ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000. “When we came this morning (Wednesday morning) everything on display was gone,” said a disappointed Van Wyk who, together with her team, dismantled their stand yesterday. Van Wyk said even though they still had some stock to sell, their products also do not seem familiar among the population that are frequenting the Show. “We are demoralized, and with this theft we think it is best just to pack the stuff and return to Windhoek,” she added. Engineering Centre specializes in industrial electronics, but also sells the torches and other stuff as a separate service. Egumbo said so far three incidences of theft had been reported, with the other two being a pistol and a bag of merchandise which an exhibitor lost.