Kapana women choose money over beauty

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Obrein Simasiku

Omuthiya-Women in Omuthiya have chosen money over beauty, because they see no point in being beautiful while suffering, hence they have emerged in the lucrative business of selling flame-grilled kapana meat, which is widely considered as a man’s work due to its very nature of working around fire and smoke.

This can be attested to by the women of Omuthiya, who occupy all kapana braai stands at the famous Omatala open market, with not a single man in their midst. Men operating at the market prefer to rather sell clothing, and said they don’t want to be the face of the market, hence they prefer to be behind the scenes. In addition, they said they don’t want to burn themselves.

They said unemployment led them to face the heat, the burns and smoke, hence they do not see any obstacle to prevent them selling kapana. However, the women said they couldn’t venture into any other business, such as tailoring, selling vegetables and traditional products, because many people were already offering such services.

“We chose to sell kapana because it was the only business which was not dominated by many people, therefore competition is not too much. In addition, one does not make a loss, at least on a daily basis you will get a little something to buy bread.

“Basically we are selling for bread and we only save on a minimal basis when business is booming like end of the month” stated Nangula Titus, who said in two weeks they sometimes make a profit of N$400.

She added that the only thing draining them is the high price of meat from their suppliers.
“Let me say a full leg of [beef] can cost you between N$1,500 to N$2,000, depending on the size, in return you only make a profit of N$400 from that. And it is not a guaranteed you will attain it in one day. This can take you a week, or even two weeks for that meat to be sold out completely. So, we are not really making that much, although generally business is good,” added another kapana vendor, Ndilimeke Elao.

“We have no choice. If we don’t sell then it means we are not getting any money for bread. If there were job opportunities definitely we wouldn’t be here. We would somewhere else” stressed Titus.

Kapana vendors are of great benefit to other traders, like those selling tomatoes and onions. As they indicated, their best customers are the kapana vendors, who buy their products to make sauce.

“If it was not for them we would be making a total loss, considering that a lot of people are trading onions and tomatoes all over town. Sometimes we buy seven boxes and end up only selling two while the rest get spoiled,” Laimi Sacaria explained.

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