The Nambahu family is taking the country by storm after becoming one of the few black families in the country that is involved in car spinning.
The sport, which involves dangerous stunts done at high speed on a large pitch, is slowly gaining momentum in the country.
Joel Nambahu has not only introduced the sport to his family, but also to the black community at large through various shows held across Namibia, including in Keetmanshoop, Lüderitz, Walvis Bay, the whole of the North and Okakarara.
Nambahu was introduced to the sport in his youthful days when he moved to Windhoek. The father of nine fell in love with spinning after watching his first show, and he has never looked back ever since.
“As a boy from the North where these things never happened, I was fascinated by how the cars were moving and how much people enjoyed watching the spinners. It was that wow factor that pulled me in. I have never spun, but I love the sport,” Nambahu says.
He loved the sport so much so that when he became a father, he vowed to introduce his whole family to the sport.
While waiting for his first born son to come of age, the Quantity Surveyor by training started sponsoring other upcoming spinners as well as investing in the sport.
In 2016, he built a venue for spinning in the capital known as the Windhoek Spin City, situated in the Northern Industrial area.
The main aims behind establishing the Windhoek Spin City was to discourage young people from spinning in the streets and to introduce the sport to disadvantaged Namibians.
“I believe the youth are the future of motor sport. As Windhoek Spin City, we want to take the lead to start an academy where we build cars as well as train people who are interested. We take the sport to the people.
“It is a good sport to take people out of the streets and away from crime. We have grown from a baby to one of the biggest clubs in the country,” Nambahu says.
In the same year, Nambahu stuck to his promise and introduced his then 15-year-old son, Wamboe Seun, to the sport by buying him his first car and getting him one of the best trainers in southern Africa.
His son put in the work and practiced to become one of the most sought-after car spinners in the country.
Seun, who is now 17-year-old, draws a crowd of thousands where ever he goes.
According to the nerdy looking Seun, he is only scared the first two seconds he starts spinning, but once the adrenalin kicks in, he feels right at home.
“It is a very exciting sport, I love entertaining the crowd. When I am in that car, I make sure people get value for their money,” Seun says.
Nambahu has so far trained three of his seven sons, including 12-year-old Noel (also known as Hulk) and five-year-old Joleon.
According to Noel, he was scared when he started taking part in the sport last year.
“I was so scared to do it, but with my family by my side, it became easier. I look up to my older brother who is doing very well,” Noel said.
“I did not expect my father to buy me a car. That only made me love the sport even more.”
Joleon, who says car spinning makes him happy, has so far taken part in two shows.
While the father was completely fine with helping his sons explore and take part in the sport, which many consider dangerous, his wife, Kanally, said she needed a lot of convincing.
Kanally almost had a heart attack the first time she attended the shows.
“I was scared, but after some time I stopped seeing it as a dangerous sport, especially if a person has received intensive training,” she says.
But that has not stopped people from criticizing her for letting her children practice this perceived risky sport.
“I do realise that it is a risky sport, just like any other. A person can also get hurt while playing football or swimming.”
Their son, Seun, has only been hurt twice when he fell and sustained minor bruises.
“The sport is risky, but it is done by people who are trained to do it,” Nambahu says.
He adds that the sport is so expensive that it needs commitment and dedication, knowing that you will lose more than you gain.
“After every show you have to fix your car. The sport is not beneficial; it takes more, so you need to earn an extra income. The most expensive part is making the car. The car breaks easily because you are driving it abnormally. You are actually punishing the car so it needs more attention always,” Nambahu says.
The Nambahus say the sport does not interfere with the children’s school as they practice only during some weekends.
Apart from car spinning, the boys play hockey at school which helps to keep them fit.
The father admits that support from the business community is lacking as they have just a few sponsors.
His dream is for the academy to become bigger where it can produce young men and women to take part in car spinning worldwide.
Car spinning goes back to the 80s when car thieves would escape into the townships at high speeds – partly so they wouldn’t get caught but also because the spinning and screeching provided an adrenaline rush that became a near obsession.
Over the years, it has turned into a sport.