Dan Craven is an ex-pro cyclist from Namibia. When he wrapped up his racing days, he knew he wanted to do something…more. So he helped put together a frame building workshop in his hometown of Omaruru, teaching Namibians to build gorgeous steel bikes.
A decade later, and those bikes are ready for prime time and a potential source of high-paying employment for the locals. Craven has started a new brand called Onguza, led by builders Petrus Mufenge and Sakaria Nkolo. Here, Craven explains:
“Does the world really need another bicycle brand? No. But my hometown, Omaruru, does.
Namibia is a country of talented makers stuck in low-value jobs. Many struggle to find work aside from farm labor. Building world-class steel bicycles is a high-value trade that matches the quality of their workmanship.
From the start, I knew we could build bikes as good as the best steel frame builders in the world. But it became clear this wasn’t enough.
What do you picture when you hear “African bikes”? There’s a good chance you’re not thinking of a luxury, world-class bike. And you’re not alone. We need to change the way people think about goods made in Namibia – and from Africa as a whole. Name a luxury brand from the African continent…? We have our work cut out for us.
Our first builders, Petrus Mufenge and Sakaria Nkolo, are building world-class steel framed bikes on a dusty farm in Namibia. It’s maybe the last place you’d expect something extraordinary to come from. But we’re doing it. And I need your help, so please come along on this journey with us.”
We’re super stoked on the vibes just pouring out of the initial images.
— Dan from Nam (@DanFromNam) March 21, 2022
Check ’em out, here.
Photos from Onguza’s website.