One grocery store and one clothing shop serve thousands of people at Khorixas and the surrounding villages.
OK Grocers and Pep Stores are the only two shops available to the 10 000 residents of Khorixas, who are forced in most instances to travel to Otjiwarongo and Outjo for basic shopping and medical care, as the available shops in Khorixas do not meet all the needs of local residents.
The town has two automatic teller machines (ATMs) that constantly break down. Telecom also closed its offices at the town last year. However, thanks to a small business initiative, internet services, MTC and DSTV are accessible to the residents and Nampost tries by all means to fill the gap in banking facilities.
According to residents, the situation makes them feel somewhat trapped, as they do not have any real choice of where to shop or bank, as there are simply no alternatives available to them. The open markets at the town have apparently also become too pricey for many; hence some of the poorer residents rarely buy vegetables from the markets and are obliged instead to embark on long shopping journeys to the nearest towns.
According to Hermina !Gomes, travelling has also become a rather expensive and time-consuming process: “I don’t know when we will have basic shopping outlets, such as Shoprite here. We’re really struggling, as some of the items are very expensive. Also, the people with small shops at their homes don’t always have what we need, forcing us to travel to other towns.”
According to Abner Xoagub, a medical doctor that hails from Khorixas, access to quality medical services for residents and tourists is one of the major challenges the town faces. “Currently there is no pharmacy at the town and this is one of the most basic essential services that is a must for a community with such a [large] population,” Xoagub said.
These are some of the key issues the leadership of the town needs to address if they want to develop Khorixas as a tourism and agricultural centre, and to realise the envisaged and much-needed economic growth, he said.
Bisey Uirab, the CEO of NamPort, who also grew up in Khorixas and its surrounding areas, on his part said he is concerned about the fact there is only one supermarket and clothing shop at Khorixas for about 10 000 residents.
“This impediment forces local residents to travel to Otjiwarongo and neighbouring towns for their shopping, draining the town of the little available economic resources that would have otherwise contributed towards the building and development of the town’s infrastructure. There is a need for more shopping facilities to speed up local economic activity,” he argued. Uirab, along with other businessmen and women from Khorixas, agrees all stakeholders and those who have the best interest of the town at heart need to come up with strategies that will enable the town’s people to remain and take part in the development process instead of leaving for greener pastures.
“We need to open up opportunities for our young people, to see how we can meet them halfway. We need to attract investors and revive our agricultural college. Khorixas is also one of the towns that has plenty of tourist attractions. Let’s see how we can use this and attract investors to our town and retain our human capital,” he said.
He is also of the opinion that the business community should invest in young people and equip them with knowledge, so that they can start their own businesses locally. He further said it is necessary to create avenues for local and foreign investment focusing on tourism, mining, retail, agriculture, transport and logistics sectors.
Uirab said: “Council and leadership must make land available, seek partnerships and decide on factors that give you natural competitive advantages and focus there. Stand up and be aggressive. Only we can make Khorixas the town it used to be – the oasis of potential and a training ground for leaders, who today occupy key roles in our nation. Ask yourself the following: will we ever again produce doctors, engineers and CEOs?”