Monday, September 21, 2020

The soapmaker of Goroka

Goroka soap maker
Barclay Kaupa
is a real maverick.
I know Kaupa from my years in Goroka from 1998-2002, when my late wife and I were regular customers of his for fresh honey, as well as homemade soap and detergent for the house, and can vouch for their quality.

Despite being a Grade 10 dropout in 1984, Kaupa’s extensive use of the Goroka Public Library and the University of Goroka Library – through a lot of reading – helped him to start his honey and soap business.
Kaupa ran Jauka Honey, a small honey and soap-making set-up at Kama in Goroka, until business was affected by the bee mite in 2008.
In May 2005, he was named as best small business by the Small Business Development Corporation at the PNG Coffee Festival and Trade Fair and pocketed the K800 first prize.
Reading was the secret to the sweet success of his honey and soap-making business.
Kaupa, from Lapeigu village outside Goroka, completed his Grade 10 at Asaroka Lutheran High School in 1984 – with no offers for further education or employment.
In 1986, the disillusioned young man managed to secure a job with Lamana Wholesale in Goroka, a job he held until the company wound up in 1990.
He had a coffee plot at Lapeigu, and soon realised that he could have a sustained cash flow all year round, if he grew coffee and raised bees together.
Towards the end of 1996, the young beekeeper approached Benny Jauka, the owner of Gamesano Trading in Kama, for assistance to get the honey project off the ground.
Jauka Honey was distributed mainly in Goroka and Lae, where – through Rabtrad – was distributed by Andersons Foodland stores nationwide.
In August 1998, the innovative Kaupa ventured into soap production using bee wax.
It was trialed in the hauslains of Goroka by the people who mattered – mothers – and they gave it the thumbs up.
Thus was born the Nokorowa Soap.
The soap proved to be a big hit in Goroka, and was distributed throughout the highlands.
Towards the end of 1999, Kaupa ventured into yet another product, the Nokorowa Soap Powder.
The soap is ground up into fine powder, and then packed and sold as a grassroots alternative to the familiar Omo and Cold Power.
Nokorowa Soap Powder is now a familiar sight in the shops of Goroka.
Kaupa is a fervent believer in self-reliance and independence, and speaks out strongly against the handout mentality.
On September 12, 2020, while in Goroka, I visited his humble set-up at Kama and he showed me around.
Barclay Kaupa can be contacted on phones 75209847 and 75209847 and email

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