frans indongo

How Frans Indongo Became The Richest Black Namibian

How Frans Indongo Became The Richest Black Namibian

Many Namibians are familiar with the legendary Indongo. Rumour has it that he became rich from selling sweets on the streets, well, not quite.

In this article I am going to share with you the life story of Renowned businessman Frans Indongo, well mostly the business-side of his life.

Fransisco Aupa Indongo (84 years old) was born in Ongwediva on the 15 of January in 1936. He is the third child of Kandjengo Enkono (mother) and Indongo Enkono (Father). He has 5 siblings.

He spent his early childhood herding his father’s cattle as this was the norm back in the days. He attended elementary school at Amutanga and Omega Primary schools respectively.

After completing his primary education, He was selected to teach at Omega Primary school at the age of 16 in 1952 and stopped teaching there in 1955.

Throughout his teens, Frans Indongo used to make money from hunting, selling dried meat, cutting wood, selling handcrafted goods and sewing clothes. He spent very little of his earnings and mostly saved it or reinvested it back into his businesses.

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Young men arriving in Walvis Bay (Uushimba) in 1958 to work as contract workers.

In 1956, Frans Indongo decided to become a contract worker in Walvis Bay. He worked for the Walvis Bay municipality and later worked for Etosha Fishing Co.(Formerly Ovenstone). There he would place fish on conveyor belts for canning. He did not lay back and watch Netflix(at least the equivalence of it, lol) in his spare time though. He used his spare time to make some extra money by working for a brick-making company.

Contract workers lived in compounds so they received free tobacco, tins of jam, boxes of matches, soap and other foodstuffs in excess. Frans saw this as a business opportunity and sent most of these items to his sister Paulina to sell in northern Namibia.

He managed to purchase a sewing machine and started selling more traditional garments especially to workers in Oranjemund who were not allowed to sew back then.

By 1961, Frans Indongo opened his first shop in Omusimbotsi in the Oshana region and managed to open similar shops around northern Namibia.

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Frans Indongo at one of his stores in Okatana (photo taken in 1964)

He always believed that;

one should never squander their profits but rather invest it in their business to ensure their company has a future and the ability to reinvest in Namibia

His chain of supermarkets made him some wealth but most of Frans Indongo’s wealth came from smart investments that he made throughout the following years.

He ventured into the property investment industry and bought shares in a handful of profitable companies in Namibia. Today Frans Indongo owns Frans Indongo Gardens, Farm Gelukwater, Select Service Stations, Continental Enterprises, Bokomo Namibia, Tongaat Hulett Namibia, Wispeco Namibia, Grain Carriers NamibiaVarious shares in Namibian real estate, fishing and mining companies, and his most recent major acquisition Indongo Toyotas.

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Indongo Toyota Walvis Bay inauguration on 9 September 2011

As of January 2020, Frans Indongo is estimated to have a net worth of over 1.3 Billion Namibian dollars. He is the third richest Namibian behind the Pupkewitz and Olthaver & List families.

Frans Indongo is a philanthropist and enjoys giving back to the community. He recently donated one million dollars to the office of the Prime minister to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic in Namibia. He has even donated multiple times to the drought relief programme.

He has always been patriotic to his country. He conducts most of his businesses in Namibia and re-invests his profits back in Namibia. He believes that only Namibians can build and develop Namibia hence, he encourages the youth to take pride in their country.

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Frans Indongo showing a model of the Indongo gardens to Founding president Sam Nujoma and his wife Kovambo Nujoma before it was built.

If you wish to learn more about Frans Indongo’s life in details, read The Most Successful African Businessman in Namibia book by Shiimi. It is an official biography of Frans Indongo.

I hope you are inspired by Indongo’s story and wish you the best of luck with your future endeavours. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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