Standard Bank Namibia (SBN) yesterday officially introduced Namibia’s multiple Paralympic medalist Ananias Shikongo as its new ambassador for the bank’s Buy-a-Brick initiative.
Last year, the bank pledged to build Shikongo a house worth N$500 000 as a reward for his breathtaking exploits at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he scooped three medals – a gold medal in the men’s T11 200-m race and two bronze in the T11 100-m events.
Speaking at yesterday’s unveiling ceremony in the capital, Standard Bank’s acting head of marketing Advocate Sigrid Tjijorokisa said the new ambassadorial agreement between the two parties is an extension of the great relationship they have developed with the visually-impaired athlete.
“We all know a new year means new beginnings, new opportunities and new partnerships and today I am so pleased to announce that we are cementing our new found relations with our very own Paralympics gold medalist Ananias Shikongo.
“As you may recall, it was in November last year when Standard Bank recognised Shikongo’s profound athletic achievements, despite his disability. As a good corporate entity we saw the need to reward Shikongo for this determination and courage to achieve his dream against all odds,” Tjijorokisa said.
She added: “It is in this context that we’re signing a contract with Shikongo to partner with us in raising more awareness about the Standard Bank Buy-a-Brick initiative through various marketing activations over a one year period.
“Before the age of seven, Shikongo lost both his eyes in two separate incidents, but he made a choice not to let his circumstances determine his future. It is this kind of courage and determination that Standard Bank recognised and decided to intervene in this young man’s life.
“The latest house donation is being made possible through the bank’s corporate social investment Buy-a-Brick housing initiative. This community-based project is geared towards raising funds from both the public and private sector to enable residents of low-income households to build decent dwellings for themselves through the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia.”
Last year, Standard Bank handed over a total of N$1.4 million to build 40 new houses for Shack Dwellers Federation members in Rehoboth. So far 17 houses have been completed and the remaining houses are expected to be completed by March.
In his short reception speech, the fast-as-lightning sprinter thanked the bank for choosing him and according him an opportunity to be part of an initiative that aims to help fellow Namibians and government efforts in the housing sector.
“I am really grateful and would like to thank Standard Bank for realising that athletes living with a disability can also make a change in society and that is what I plan to do for the duration of this partnership. It is a great project that aims to house as many Namibians as possible and I would like to join that effort, along with Standard Bank,” an excited Shikongo said.