Dan Craven is a former professional cyclist from Namibia. When he was done with his racing days, he knew he wanted to do something…more. So he helped set up a frame-building workshop in his hometown of Omaruru, teaching Namibians how to build beautiful steel bicycles.
A decade later, these bikes are ready for prime time and a potential source of well-paying jobs for locals. Craven launched a new brand called Onguza, led by builders Petrus Mufenge and Sakaria Nkolo. Here, Craven explains:
“Does the world really need another brand of bicycle? No. But my hometown, Omaruru, yes.
Namibia is a land of talented designers stuck in low-value jobs. Many struggle to find work outside the agricultural labor force. Building world-class steel bikes is a high-value craft that matches the quality of their craftsmanship.
From the start, I knew we could build bikes as good as the best steel frame builders in the world. But it became clear that this was not enough.
What do you imagine when you hear “African bicycles”? Chances are you weren’t thinking of a world-class luxury bike. And you are not alone. We need to change the way people perceive products made in Namibia – and in Africa as a whole. Name a luxury brand from the African continent…? We have our work cut out.
Our first builders, Petrus Mufenge and Sakaria Nkolo, build world-class steel-framed bikes on a dusty farm in Namibia. This may be the last place you would expect to see anything extraordinary from. But we do. And I need your help, so please come with us on this journey.
We’re super thrilled with the vibes that emanate from the initial images.
— Dan from Nam (@DanFromNam) March 21, 2022
Check them out here.
Photos from Onguza website.