The man who brought Ongwediva Trade Fair to Eenhana



Walde Ndevashiya is a true son of the soil. Born in Eenhana and studied at Haimbili Haufiku Secondary School in Eenhana, he has worked his way up the ladder.


He matriculated at Oluno and was a youth activist in Nanso, Swapo Youth League and other student movements, before taking up Public Administration Diploma at Unam in 1994. When Unam and the Technikon were split in 1995, Ndevashiya became a founding member of the first SRC of the new Polytechnic of Namibia.


He was the secretary for culture and was tasked with organising cultural festivals. Being orphaned he had look for alternatives ways to raise his own funds for his studies and joined the then Ministry of Higher Education as a clerk.


In 1997, he joined the National Assembly as a Research and Information Officer a position he held until 2000 when he joined the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (Alan) as a Policy Development and Training Officer. That is where his bond for local government development became intensified.


“I had to travel across Namibia to assist local authorities in the development of their strategic plans and identify their policy frameworks as a tool for development. I worked very hard in the success of the Local Economic Development Policy Framework. I was looking for a job outside Windhoek because I craved to work in the regions where development was needed.”


He got a job at the Desert Research Foundation a project manager for the Northern Central Regions, a move that allowed him to leave the capital, and in 2002, he became the Ongwediva Town Council Head of Economic Development and Tourism.


A story is told of how the Ongwediva Trade Fair (OTF) has taken over from the Windhoek Show.


“Initially they wanted me to be the marketing officer for the Ongwediva Trade Fair.  I was fortunate to be sent for training in Germany on Planning and Organising Specialised Trade Fairs. Upon my return, I so much wanted to aggressively market the OTF. I picked up that there was going to be an Indonesia International Day in Windhoek in 2003. My management refused to send me to seek business. I had to hitch-hike on my own. With my briefcase, I met the Indonesian ambassador at their function and they didn’t know about Ongwediva. They were impressed with what I had and agreed to come and see the town. Three months later, a plane load of Indonesians landed in Namibia. It motivated me to do a research project on trade fairs in southern Africa and all this empowered me to strengthen OTF, before I left them for Eenhana in 2006.”


He has written a proposal to set up a trade fair organising committee for all local authorities and is proud of the way his latest find, the Eenhana Expo is coming up. Already, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Electoral Commission of Namibia, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry have signed up to start massive multi-million dollar developments in the town for their head offices.  Some of the developments will start towards the end of the next quarter.


“One would want to be remembered as a change-agent. I like to see things happen.  Remember me as one who the difference in the life of the people. Any kind of development we are championing should be meaningful to the people. This town should move after I have moved on, so not everything should depend on me alone,” says Ndevashiya. PF