You gotta love the people of Omaheke

19 May 2017 | Opinion

The people of Omaheke are unique! Yes – not only are all of them self-made ‘farmers’ or experts on when it will rain, but they are masters at crafting ways that work for and suit their lifestyles better.

Here in Omaheke we all stop at Plaas Kombuis for that lekker biltong, beef chops and ‘katkop’ – Omaheke’s own version of the Indian Bunny Chow – every time we embark on a journey to one of the many villages around Gobabis.

You see, almost everyone shops at Plaas Kombuis before hitting the road and it is therefore a perfect platform to show others that you are a farmer of note. If you are seen in Plaas Kombuis during the day, in the middle of the week, chances are you are merely shopping around for specials.

But if you are spotted at this Take-Away/Grocer in the late hours of the day on a Friday, everyone slowly claps in appreciation as you enter (at which stage you are obliged to bow your head in appreciation). To them, you are a real man.

You are made to feel like Steven Seagal walking towards the camera in slow motion, with his shirt unbuttoned, carrying the almost lifeless body of an Indian girl he just saved from an explosion. Yeah, the hero has returned. Roll end credits!

After Plaas Kombuis, the next logical stop is the La bamba Service Station, where you would fill up your car – or your wife’s, depending on who has more moola in your home between the two of you.

La bamba offers Omaheke Residents the rare opportunity to mingle with each other and boast about the sizes of the respective Brahman bulls to each other, as they wait on the petrol attendant to serve them.

I recently overheard two Herero uncles, one driving a Toyota Hillux 2.4 Diesel and the other an Isuzu 2.5 Diesel, boasting about their farming activities. I tell you, if the petrol attendant had not intervened by asking “How much…” he should top up the Toyota with, we would have probably witnessed a fist - or knop kierie fight.

“So Kotjinjo, how are things at the village?” the first man asked

“Mbuae ourumbu uriri (Nothing much, just drought),” the other answered.

“Ja, that is good – let your cattle die. I told you that the lick you use is outdated and weak but you wouldn’t listen. Let them all die.”

“Mbuae how can you say that. It is stupid people like you who farm with Simmentaler and drives Isuzu who say such stupid things…”

“What? What about you old fashioned people still hooked on the Brahman and drive Toyota?”

That, my dear friends is life in Omaheke. I know of a village – in fact an entire constituency in this great region where everyone knows everyone’s cell phone number. Ok, let me put it into context; they might not know the owner of the phone personally but they know his or her number anyway!

I am told this happened after a certain shopkeeper went to Gobabis’ MTC Mobile Home and brought SIM cards serialised in chronological order, making all cellular phone numbers to follow each other.

The first cellular phone number, which was sold to a man from a village in the same constituency, ended in …300. The next was ‘301’ and so on – all the way to ‘399’. So, instead of giving their full phone numbers, the villagers would simply ask “What is your extension?”

In Gobabis, you are never known by your name; a taxi driver would for instance not ask a stranger to Gobabis as to which street, or Erf number the person is headed to – he would ask: “Who is the owner of the house? What car does he drive? Who is her boyfriend? Based on your reply on these questions – Mr.Taxi Driver will be able to take you safely ‘home’!

As for the laddies…eish, just get yourself a diesel bakkie my brother and you can already start planning you wedding. Women here are so attracted to a man driving a diesel bakkie, doesn’t matter the year model.

I recently acquired one – 1990 model. It is still resting on bricks on my backyard, but a diesel bakkie is a diesel bakkie broer. You just wait and see!

Until then…

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