Namibia: Women Thrive On Omagongo Sales

IT IS that time of the year again when women in northern Namibia cash in on the sale of wine made from marula fruit locally known as omagongo, which are in season.

Many women who brace the blazing hot sun travel long distances to towns and areas near the road to sell omagongo which is a favourite beverage for many in the north.

The wine is sold in large plastic containers at the local markets and along the highway. The Namibian caught up with Rukeno Mwendeleli, a wine seller from Onamambili village near Ondangwa in Oshana region.

She has been selling omagongo wine for more than five years and she said the business is thriving and she has been able to provide for her family and buy school essentials for her children.

“The business is going well, especially this year. There are, however, some months when customers are few but on a good day I make good money and I’m grateful to my regular customers. I sometimes also send wine to Windhoek and to the coast. It’s a small business but it’s worth the effort because it is better than sitting idle at home waiting for the man to provide.

“I also sell eembe (wild berries) and oil from the marula fruit. Times are hard but we have to go out and make the impossible happen,” said Mwendeleli.

Mwendeleli sells her wine along the highway near the Andimba Toivo ya Toivo Airport at Ondangwa and her customers are mostly taxi drivers and long distance truck and bus drivers.

On a good day she says she can sell three 25-litre containers at N$30 per litre, but on average she makes N$500 a day.

Ndapewa Salome sells omagongo at Oshakati open market and told The Namibian that business is booming even though there are many wine traders at the place because each trader has their own customers who prefer buying from someone they know well.

“Business is good and we cannot complain much. It is that time of the year when the marula wine is in abundance and we have to sell to make money. People like marula wine, especially elderly men. It brings people together to enjoy a cold glass of wine,” she said.

While marula fruits are in season from January to April every year, the omagongo wine can be stored in refrigerators and consumed until the next season.

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