Eulogy in honour of Melba Tjahere
The woman of substance, the business icon is no more.
Thus in offering this homage to this unique individual, one does not know where to start and where to end.
Thus one cannot help but being eclectic because she meant so many different things to different people.
She was a wife, a mother, a friend to so many people and, of course a business lady at that intersection of Antiochie and Reverend Bartholomeus Karuaera Streets in Katutura location.
Melba or Otjikaendu as she was affectionately known to many of us established a place where people could come/converge and have a meal or simply come to socialise, especially in those early days.
If you call a friend, he or she would ask where are we going to meet, the answer would invariably be: at Otjikaendu.
The most important product that attracted people to the den, at that corner, was the popular “goat head” which was basically the equivalent of Kentucky Fried Chicken because she made it so different from others – she kept the ingredients secret.
If one is travelling out of town the goat head would be one of the items in your travel kitty – padkos if you like.
We still remember that Otjikaendu was one of the few business people who were selected to go on business study tours to the Philippines and Malaysia.
And some of us would jokingly say “Tjikaendu but you do not speak English so why were you selected to go to those places?”
And she would proudly respond saying “business English is different from your so-called academic English”.
One other thing we still remember is that heavy calculator she used when you have taken some drinks on credit the previous day. You would dispute the amount.
But this time the customer was not always right because when you take the drinks on account it means you have taken one too many in the late hours of the night. This time the “bar lady” would be right. After all you do not want to spoil your chances next time you need some drinks on credit. So, you pay and move on.
One other thing that still rings in our minds, we do not quite remember what the occasion was, is when she prepared a whole warthog with milk in one of those big pots that was given freely to regular customers.
It was so special – a warthog prepared with milk.
She was a great human being. She usually socialised with her customers whoever they were. One of her favourite employees was Wilemina who would go AWOL to the North for weeks and when she returned she would just start where she left off.
Coming to work, she was always hands-on – she would not just sit there and give directions. No.
This tribute was prepared on behalf of those who used to frequent the Den – the regulars if you like.
Melba Tjahere was buried at Ondjombojorukune in the Omaheke region.
Let her soul rest in eternal peace.
*Alexactus T. Kaure