Windhoek – Gone are the days when the white man would swing the clubs and the black man would go and fetch the ball – gone are the days when the white man would stroll along the greens while the black man carries the bag.
Nowadays, a significant number of former golf caddies have invaded golf courses en masse, taking their masters on at their own game.
Traditionally, the game of golf has always been regarded, or rather reserved, for the minority elite inhabitants of the country but this misplaced perception has been thrown in the dustbin of has-beens with a number of golfers from the previously disadvantaged communities making serious inroads in the game.
Aged 21, and hardly out of his pair of shorts, Likius Nande would be seen hitting golf balls in the dunes in Kuisebmond, but the handsome young man whose looks could be easily mistaken for a hip-hop star has taken Namibian golf by storm.
Nande is currently ranked number one golfer on the local circuit and boasts a remarkable résumé, tumbling several course records across the length and breadth of the country at the slightest provocation.
A former midfielder with Danzil Bruwer’s Invincible Football Academy, young Nande switched allegiance to golf, exchanging his football togs for golf clubs.
“Professional golf coach Andy Hangula came to our school where he invited young boys to take up golf and that’s when I developed interest in the game.
“I started playing competitive golf at the Rossmund Golf Club near Swakopmund as an 18-handicap in 2007 but lost interest and went back to playing football. Nonetheless, I returned to the greens in 2010 and officially joined the Rossmund Golf Club the following year. By 2012, I dropped to six-handicap.”
Nande went on to represent Namibia at the World Junior Golf Open in Liverpool, England alongside compatriot Jessica. He finished in the top 60 out of 197 juniors.
He rose to prominence when he won the national open championship at the Rossmund Golf Club in 2015, shattering the course record (66) with an astonishing nett score of 65.
Demonstrating that his victory was no fluke, Nande stunned the golf community when he shot a personal best of 61 to claim the national championship, breaking the course record (63) in the process.
Next stop was the Walvis Bay Open where he once again left his competitors picking up the pieces, shattering another course record from 65 to 65 in devastating fashion.
Despite his fairly young age, Nande has participated in eight international tournaments – in England, South Africa, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
He currently holds national titles that include the Oranjemund Sperrgebiet, Northern, Walvis Bay, Mariental, Rossmund, Central and Omeya Open as well as the prestigious Gold Cup. Nande was the Namibian junior champion when he upgraded to the senior division at the age of 18.
With all his astonishing achievements, the Namibian golf wunderkind is certainly destined for greater things. And as it stands, he wants to continue playing as an amateur for the next two years before turning professional.
“Golf is a very expensive sport so one needs sufficient sponsors to compete at the highest level internationally.” The Namibian golfing sensation appeals to good Samaritans for funding if he is to realise his dreams.
“I need to partake in at least eight international competitions per year, but sadly that’s not possible as the Namibia Golf Union is only committed to funding two events abroad.”