Driven by quality service
At the age of 28, Shilongo operates two branches of his gravestone and funeral business.
26 February 2021 | People
Barnabas Shilongo established Shilongo Gravestones and Funeral Services in 2017, but only officially registered his business in 2019.
“Shilongo Gravestones and Funeral Services specialises in tombstones, funeral services, flower arrangements and we also have printing, piano, videography and photography services,” says Shilongo, the 28-year-old entrepreneur born at Othika village in the Omusati Region.
His company has branches in Oshakati and at Okahao and he currently employs 18 people. He is in the process of opening a third branch at Outapi.
A qualified artisan, Shilongo completed his vocational training in boiler making at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (Nimt) in Keetmanshoop in 2015.
“I went for vocational training because I love working with my hands and it has always been a passion of mine,” he says.
“I noticed a gap in providing high-quality tombstones here in the North so I saw this as a business opportunity. I also used to weld part time when I was working for another funeral service company from 2015 to 2017.
“I was then inspired by previous boss, Wilbard Johannes, and my cousin, Sem Angombe, to start my own business,” he tells Careers Hub.
“I started by buying tools from hardware stores and the material is supplied by local suppliers.”
Although the business is growing, he says Covid-19 has also caused a negative impact because his suppliers struggle with getting material.
“We also struggled to find an office and make sure everything was up to standard. We also wanted to have samples at the front of the office,” he says.
Shilongo plans to grow his business by providing the full range of funeral arrangements.
“I want to stand out and provide all our clients everlasting memories. We are available to provide services nationwide and cover the entire country.”
Photo 1: Barnabas Shilongo of Shilongo Gravestones and Funeral Services at his head office in Oshakati.
Photo 2: Shilongo during a day’s work.
PHOTOS TUNOHOLE MUNGOBA