Many shun it but yet for David Kaiko the trade of plumbing is an art and a calling, something that – he says fondly – is his passion and wishes many other young people could fall in love with this trade.
Kaiko is a father of four whose full-time job is at the reception desk at Avani Hotel and Casino in the city centre of Windhoek. It is here that one would find him resplendent in his official formal wear smiling and courteous as he helps guests to this four-star hotel.
However, on his off-days, and indeed after hours, Kaiko would jump from his formal wear to overalls, pick up a toolbox and off he goes plumbing wherever the call for the day might be.
“Plumbing is a calling in a way, in the sense that you are helping out people with the problems that people have in their homes,” says Kaiko.
His calling involves helping people with their pipes, water leakages, and clogged drainage systems as well as replacing taps and other smaller items.
“The proceeds that you get from there are not what you look at first but getting the job is the priority during any task given to you. And that is why I say it is a calling because you try to help people while carving a living out of it for yourself,” he explains.
Although plumbing is considered a second-class job, as far profitability is concerned, Kaiko is not moved by these negative perceptions.
“I am yet to see a situation whereby when you get into a shop and buy something the shop will refuse your money because it comes from plumbing,” he says.
Kaiko says it is not how much money one gets but how they invest their resources.
“When I was a fulltime plumber I could afford to pay for my room and buy food as well as take care of my kids. I have done that for three years and have been a plumber for five years.”
Kaiko says when one looks at plumbing they should do so in the spirit of and hope that it can and will contribute towards turning Namibia into an industrialised nation, as laid out in the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) and other national development goals.
“If you look at the developed countries, for example, they are industrialised nations. These include artisans such plumbers, electricians and manufacturers in different ways. How do you look down on a plumber while you need a plumber to become a developed nation?”
He believes that government has very good policies and strategies in place, which focus on vocational training but stresses that the burden should not be carried by government alone.
“Local and foreign companies should carry the task of complementing government’s efforts in ensuring that a lot of people get training at vocational centres in different fields to lead our country into becoming an industrialised nation.”
Kaiko says a lot of young people, who shun this trade and all other vocational fields, are sitting at bars indulging heavily in alcohol and other destructive habits.
“This should not only be in the plumbing sector because there are so many things they can do instead of looking down on some us while waiting to be handed over everything on a silver platter.”
He welcomed the government’s decision to invest N$11 million in the training of the children of the liberation struggle.
“Although some of us question these so-called struggle kids, what remains at this stage is the fact that we are investing in vocational training.”
He continued: “It does not matter who is getting the training, what matters here is that we are getting the job done.”