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Demand for handmade abacus increases.

The demand for handmade abacus has increased tremendously, so much so that an elderly man has turned abacus making into a full scale business.

Pieter Garobeb, a Windhoek-based self employed abacus maker, says the demand for stationery has increased and that he is already out of stock after a school recently ordered more than 30 abacus.

The 65-year-old entrepreneur started the abacus manufacturing initiative towards the end of last year and has not looked back since. Garobeb, who worked as as an electrician for over 20 years before he became an abacus maker.

Working on his own, Garobeb uses an environmental friendly approach by re-using and recycling different material to make the abacus.

He makes the mathematical stationery out of pine wood, round balls from roll-on balls, seeds, beads and other materials. On average, the medium size abacus costs about N$100 and comes in different sizes.

Although business is progressing well, Garobeb said that he is faced with a number of challenges including limited space in which to store finished products. This delays the production process, he explained.

"I am also faced with the challenge of limited availability of raw materials needed to make the abacus," he continued.


In order to source materials, Garobeb usually works together with various schools. The collect the necessary material in exchange for a token. But even so, the material is scarce.

Garobeb operates from home in Katutura and can be reached on the following number: 0816253013.

By Johanna Absalom
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Title Annotation:Community & Culture
Author:Absalom, Johanna
Publication:Namibia Economist (Windhoek, Namibia)
Date:Mar 11, 2011
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