For some people, being born with an obvious bodily defect can be a lifetime challenge, leading to despair, but for 28 year old Natangwe Beni, his disability never quite registered in his mind, in fact he does not even consider it disability.
Beni was born with a congenital birth defect called Thrombocytopenia-absent radius (TAR) syndrome, which caused his arms to be much shorter than they normally should, and have three fingers less on his right hand.
However as a registered car guard in Independence Avenue, Beni is making the most of his abilities. Most mornings he is watching over cars in the area just off the Municipality building, where has gained everyone trust and affection.
With the money he makes there, he is able to support his two younger brothers, Amarwa and Nanganga.
He came to Windhoek in 2009 and started to look after cars. It may not be what he had always envisioned for his future, but it put the food on the table for him and eventually, he was able to build his own home in 2011 in Oshitenda ,a shack made of corrugated iron plates after saving up enough money.
“I have never thought of my disability as a bad thing. After all, I can do what everyone else can do. When I was at Anamulenge Church Home, a school for the disabled, I felt like I didn’t belong there,” Beni says. It is to this effect that he says he did not last long at the school. His concentration lapsed and after failing Grade four, the Sisters at the school released him. He enrolled at Uutale Vanade School after that.
Many of the people that pass by the street wave at him or stop by to have a word with him; it is clear, with the Universal church just some meters down the road, Beni is the celebrity here.
“People give me money depending on what they feel. Someone might give me five dollars, another will give me N$10 and sometimes I will even get N$100 or N$200,” reveals Beni.
Beni makes yearly travels back home to Omatando where he visits his parents and grandparents, taking them gifts and money.
However looking after cars is not Beni’s lifelong plan. He enthuses, “I watch over these cars but I know I will drive one myself one day. It will have to be an automatic car of course because a manual would be tough for me to navigate. I would like to start my own business soon. I have been saving up for it. In fact, when I have enough, I will find myself a nice girl and settle down.” Those who wish to aid him can contact via mobil - 081 24 22378