By Simon Liseli
A-two-year old mud brick making project that was launched in Katima Mulilo in 2015, to serve as an alternative in mitigating the escalating price increase of cement and deforestation in Zambezi region is in progress.
The project is an initiative by a 31-year-old unemployed young man of Katima Mulilo who borrowed the idea from his uncle when he paid a visit to him in Zambia. The idea is to reduce the cutting down of trees for building mud houses in suburb locations of the town and to the entire region as he plans to extend his project to rural areas.
It started with three casual workers for processing and do testing wherever possible to realize the potential in it after testing; the number that have now advanced to ten employees who are able to make 1000-1500 bricks per day.
Speaking to CVNEWS Mr. Peter Mungabwa the project manager revealed that the bricks are made out of clay soil dug underground and mix it with water that is burnt for consecutively seven days in an oven and changes into reddish or gray color before they are ready for use by applying cement to make the house stronger.
“In Namibia I truthfully understand that we have a challenge for low cost housing and with that challenge this is the alternative because these bricks are cheaper, people can make it themselves and build their houses without cutting trees or any expense, we made some research and we found that truly they strong and can construct a standard house” explained Mr. Mungabwa.
At the moment the project is busy making 15000 super mud bricks that were placed on order by a certain individual and will continue with other 3000 bricks for the other woman who also wants the same project to construct her house since they also have a technical know how and qualified builder who can do the work using their own made materials.
“Its easy to make these mud bricks by using quality molders made out of wood that we are ordering from neighbouring Zambia at N$150.00 per molder and the reason why is where they are qualified carpenters who are making them and they have been in this industry for quite long” he said.
He pointed out that his project is facing challenges with its workers because among them others are eager to do the work but others are not. He said in business they are different challenges with difficulties to face stating that to be successful in a business you have to over come these challenges by working hard.
“Though they are these difficulties and challenges is what I have to face in business and am not going to give up because of problems I have to push the project to be successful” he stressed.
Mr. Mungabwa called on people in the region who do not believe and understand how these bricks works during construction of their houses to visit his project for advices and see how they are made and how they save the forest since they are only using little wood to burn their bricks making them strong to get ready for constructions.
“This project saves our forest because instead of cutting lot of trees to construct a house you just use few wood to burn the bricks and construct your house which is the best and cheapest way of saving our forest” he noted.
Mud bricks are mainly used in countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania and other countries and in Namibia people doesn’t have knowledge about mud bricks and Mungabwa’s project have brought it for the survival of people to live a decent life.
Mungabwa’s project workers uses pick exes and shovels to dig and extract the clay soil underground where the bricks are made after mixing it with water and compact it in molders to make bricks. Bricks costs N$2, N$3 up-to N$5 in accordance of its size as they are producing three types of bricks which are super normally called pan bricks, medium and standard bricks.
The project was started off the ground with three workers before they start soliciting for some assistance to make it more sustainable and it’s located at WENELA opposite University of Namibia, Katima Campus.