Making a living from discarded bricks


Selma Ikela

An unemployed man who resides at Okahandja Park on the outskirts of Windhoek is using his creativity and entrepreneurial skills to turn discarded brick strappings into household items, such as mats and baskets, which he sells

Thirty-two-year-old Danny Mwanyekange collects discarded brick strappings from construction sites free of charge and makes mats, chairs and baskets, amongst other goods. His handmade items sell for between N$100 to N$600.
Mwanyekange quit his job as a wheelbarrow pusher at a construction site after salary payments were delayed for months. He explained that following economic slowdown, which affected various industries, including construction, many workers found themselves without jobs or any income.

“I found myself being paid one month and not the next month. So, I left the job. But then I have a partner and children to take care of, so I started weaving various products from brick strappings,” says Mwanyekange, as he effortlessly demonstrates how to make a mat at his residence.

“I realised I have a talent from God and people started ordering various products from me. This is how I sustain my partner and my two children with the income,” he remarked. Luckily, he does not have to pay rent, as he is accommodated by his brother.

Mwanyekange says they live from hand to mouth and the little income he generates he spends almost as soon as it comes in. He uses it to buy food, clothing and other necessities, as well as to travel to the north from time to time to visit his relatives.

Mwanyekange said on of the challenges he faces in his business is that people do not honour their debts: “Some people take an item on credit and fail to pay the outstanding amount, but its really bad because I depend on that income.”

He encouraged unemployed people to keep on trying, just like he is doing. “With the economic slowdown there is no work in Windhoek, so they must use their talents to create an income,” he advised.


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