Family pained by undignified burial

21 May 2019 | Local News

The family of the 78-year-old man, who was initially suspected to have died of Congo fever, have held a memorial service for him at his homestead at Onethika B near Ontananga in the Oshikoto Region.

Elifa Kuyewa Iita Shiindi died on 7 May, after he arrived at the Ondandjokwe Lutheran Hospital. He was given an undignified burial shortly afterwards, with his body being ushered into an isolated Niitewa cemetery grave by a front-end loader.

He subsequently tested negative for Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF), according to blood test results from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa.

His family and community members said they were shocked to hear about his death and burial on the same day.

His widow Johanna said her husband started complaining of chest pains on 7 May.

“Later on he became serious and started discharging blood when he was coughing. We decided to take him to Onandjokwe hospital. Just when we arrived at the hospital he was pronounced dead, and after I told the doctors what his complaints were, they just told me they are suspecting that he died of a deadly disease and he had to be buried that moment,” she said.

“It was difficult to take but due to fear we had to do as the health officials told me. I and few of my grandchildren spent a few days in the isolation unit at the hospital for observation. This is a painful moment in my life, as I will not be able to accord my husband the kind of burial I wish too.”

This past Friday the family held a memorial service and on Saturday a few family members went the grave to lay a wreath.

Speaking at the memorial service, Johannes Mbulu said he was shocked to hear about Shiindi's death and burial.

“It was around 11:00; I was traveling from the grazing area using the way that passes by Shiindi's house. I found him seated in front of his house surrounded by his grandchildren and his wife.

When I stopped he told me that he was not feeling well and was looking for transport to Onandjokwe hospital. Unfortunately I was only going home. I, however, took him until the cuca shops to make it easy for him to get transport,” said Mbulu.

“I later heard Shiindi passed on and was already buried. I could not believe it because it was something I have not heard about before.”

Frans Iimene said he offered Shiindi and his wife a lift to the hospital.

“When we got to the hospital, I just dropped them and went to Ondangwa. After a while I received a text massage saying Shiindi was no more. I stopped and called. When I called meme Johanna told me that they were busy preparing the burial and that she will call me later. It was just hard and difficult to believe,” Iimene added.


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