Southern Times Writer
Gold-winning Paralympian Ananias Shikongo received his dream home on 13 August, courtesy of Standard Bank through the Buy-a-Brick initiative.
The R500,000 two-bedroomed house, with main bedroom en suite, kitchen and lounge area was built in collaboration with the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) and took six months to complete.
Standard Bank resolved to reward Shikongo for his inspirational work. However, although he had become a nationally celebrated hero by winning gold at the Summer Paralympics in Rio De Janeiro, he still lived in a shack like so many other Namibians from no or low-income households.
“Like many others in his circumstances, Ananias could have given up on his dreams after he lost his eyesight. However, he did not allow that to stop him from dreaming, instead he used it to fuel him on to become the third Namibian to win handsomely at the Summer Paralympics. We are, therefore, proud to have been able to make his dream of owning a decent home come true,” Standard Bank’s Head of Marketing, Communication and CSI, Magreth Mengo, said during the handover.
She added that the house was the bank’s way of celebrating the athletic hero’s great achievements.
“We hope that this serves as an inspiration to all Namibians that they should never let their circumstances in life determine their success. We all have it in us to become the best versions of ourselves and fulfil our dreams. Ananias, allow me to thank you for being a hero to every Namibian, able-bodied and disabled, for showing us that we are the only ones standing between us and our own success; for showing us that hard work really does pay off,” she stressed.
NHE CEO, Gisbertus Mukulu, also expressed his elation at being able to contribute to making Shikongo’s dream come true. He said he hoped the NHE would go down in history not only as a company that builds houses, but one that provides people with homes and changes their lives for the better.
Delivering the keynote address, the Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service, Agnes Tjongarero, stressed that the only disability in life was a bad attitude, pointing to Shikongo’s success as a testament to that.
“I am deeply humbled by the gesture of Standard Bank and the Buy-a-Brick initiative…We all know about the economic circumstances we are currently experiencing. These economic conditions are deplorable and for Standard Bank to have built and donated this house is really commendable,” she stressed.
Tjongagrero also added that sports development in the country could not be left up to the government alone, and as such she was pleased to see that private institutions such as Standard Bank and NHE have heed the call.
Unable to contain his joy, Shikongo said he was pleased to have finally changed his life from a ghetto life to a city life.
“Standard Bank should serve as a great example to other companies that often overlook the plight of the people in the country…,” he said, expressing his gratitude. Recounting all his struggles that led to his success, he also urged those who have dreams to work hard because they will eventually be rewarded like him.