Once a troubled 19-year-old with a stint in prison for shooting a police officer in the leg and several assault cases, Angolan-born Legend Nafuka is now a reformed young man with business interests in mining copper.
The 35 year old also quit selling drugs and abortion pills as well as dealing in illegal firearms and ammunition, and ventured into learning as much as he can about the mining industry in Zambia, Congo, Kenya and Uganda.
“It wasn’t easy to quit those activities but I had to. After quitting, it also was not easy for me for a few years without work. Temptation came in now and then to go back to selling cocaine, but I held fast on not going back. Unemployment was becoming a challenge for me so I decided to venture into mining,” Nafuka told Youth Corner.
Nafuka said with the hope of a better life, he went to Zambia, Congo, Kenya and Uganda where he worked in the mines. That encouraged him to be his own boss in the mining industry as Namibia has much to offer in that area as well as create employment for the youth.
“To be employed means someone else is benefiting from your energy and to deploy yourself means you are using your energy to be productive. So, instead of waiting for someone to give me a job, I created my work and no one can fire me from it,” he explained.
His first mining job was in 2019 in a mine in Zambia, where he extracted copper and manganese. Nafuka later moved to DRC, mining gold and diamonds, and later to Uganda and Kenya to mine gold.
“I came back home last year and registered for my mining claims earlier this year. I have two mining companies one is Legend Nafuka Mining and Trading and the other one is called Ore Wealth Mining,” he stated.
Although he has also registered for claims of lithium, gold, tin and diamonds, Nafuka only mines copper now and has recruited 15 young Namibians from various communities.
“The process of becoming a small-scale miner has not been easy in terms of lack of funds for machinery as well as environmental clearance certificates and mining licences. This makes it difficult for the youth to venture into mining,” he noted.
Nafuka explained that when venturing into the mining sector, one has to apply for land with minerals at a fee, and there is still a need to do an environmental impact assessment that will ensure no damage will be done to the animals, people and the environment once the mining process starts.
“An environmental consultant charges between N$30 000 to N$100 000. After that is done, the ministry of environment then issues an environmental clearance certificate and with that, the ministry of mines will grant you a mining licence to mine legally but with that, you still need machinery and mining equipment and that’s when investors come in,” he said.
“So, instead of looking for investors, why don’t we look for partners? If we could just shift the entire mechanisms of how we approach development, a lot of young people will find their businesses.”
Nafuka said Namibia has a lot of natural resources, with the greatest resource being the intelligence of its people, and thus encouraged young people and Namibians at large to refocus their entire culture of development.
“That is not just providing natural resources and materials for the world but how about providing products to the world. Instead of becoming a consumer, why do we not become a producer, and instead of becoming an employee, why do we not become employers of the world? Instead of letting other people take our resources, we should develop them ourselves and sell them to other people,” he stated.