Moving through the world in green
Marita Walther strives to be the change she wishes to see in the world.
07 August 2020 | Business
The vibrant and energetic Marita Walther is the managing director at Ebikes4Africa, who strives to create a greener and more environmentally responsible world.
She was born in Stellenbosch, South Africa, but at the age of five her family moved to Gobabis, Namibia. Walther started her studies at Stellenbosch University, getting her BA degree in international studies. She then went to Rhodes University, getting her BA (Hons) degree in journalism and media studies. Walther further expanded her skillsets after completing her master’s degree in documentary photography at the University of South Wales in the United Kingdom.
Since she was young, she’s always wanted to become a writer, which runs in her family with her father who is a writer and a lot of linguists and teachers in her family. “I guess it’s in my blood,” Walther says.
In grade five her favourite teacher, who also had the name Marita, gave her her first diary and told her to write down all her thoughts, memories and experiences. “That really started the fire and the spark to start writing,” Walther says.
After that she started writing poetry and short stories while still in high school.
At the end of 2014, after finishing her master’s degree in the UK, she came back to Namibia wanting to start a business and proceeded to launch the company Ebikes4Africa at the beginning of 2015.
The first two years of the business she worked freelance in public relations, communications as well as a freelance writing for an extra source of income.
Walther is currently the managing director at Ebikes4Africa and her partner, Bernhard Walther, is the chief executive officer.
Her main task during the day is to take care of general operations of the company. She also takes care of customer acquisition, communications, marketing, public relations and staff matters.
“It’s fantastic working for yourself, because you have a lot of freedom and you are living out your dream and not someone else’s,” Walther says.
She is really proud that she is doing something that has a positive impact on the world and helps the community. The main challenge she experiences daily is the fact that Namibians are not always open to change and providing funding, which is essential for a business to grow.
In the last few years Ebikes4Africa has won numerous awards that helped them get their name on a global stage and create awareness.
Their biggest accomplishment so far is the fact that they managed to revamp their business during the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, on 12 November 2019, Walther was shortlisted as one of four female-led enterprises in Namibia as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Network’s prestigious Entrepreneurship World Cup.
She took part in a six-week online accelerator programme before making it through to the Top 100 Global Finalists. The programme taught Walther a lot about running a business. She learned a lot about cash flow, budgeting and growth plans.
“Being selected as the Namibian winner to go to Rihad in Saudi Arabia was also an amazing experience because it’s such a completely different world than what we know here in Namibia. Being among other entrepreneurs from across the world was such a valuable experience and to learn how people operate in other countries was amazing. The Entrepreneurship World Cup is currently open for entries, so please, fellow Namibians, go and apply,” she says.
Walther is inspired by people making a change in their community, which is also one of the reasons why she got out of her comfort zone and started working for herself, making change no matter how big or small.
She is also an artist and in her free time she works with communities in regards to traditional medicine plants. Walther considers her skills of working with people as one of her superpowers.
Being a skilled and passionate writer is also an important part of who Walther is. She used to write travel articles for Travel News Namibia magazine and part of her job was to interview role players in the tourism industry. Among them was the director of tourism, Dr Sem Shikongo, at the ministry of environment and tourism.
“During one of my first assignments, Shikongo had a presentation about tourism and the industry, with a message at the end that stated, if you keep on doing what you always did, you’ll keep on getting what you always got. That stuck with me for a very long time,” she says.
“In the end, those were the words that motivated me to change, because I realised I’m writing a lot of amazing stories, but then I started asking myself, is it really making a difference? And that’s what encouraged me to become an entrepreneur.”
Walther says being an entrepreneur means taking direct action and implementing change in her community.
Walther has shown that you can be the change you wish to see, but that requires you to be passionate, determined and fearless in your pursuit of what makes you happy.