Hopeless, destitute

A lack of national documents is worsening the poverty and suffering of people in the Kavango East Region.

14 June 2019 | Social Issues

A family of five at Kayeura village in the Musese constituency of Kavango East are living amid hopelessness in a makeshift structure made of pieces of a mosquito net, maize meal sacks and plastic bags.

They sleep on the bare ground and every day is a struggle to get food to eat.

Kornelia Sindimba (79) shared how difficult it is for her to care for her three grandchildren and three-week-old great-granddaughter.

Namibian Sun observed the terrible conditions the family faces.

They sleep in a two-metre by two-metre makeshift structure in which there is no bed or anything else, apart from a cloth lying on the ground.

Dogs and chickens move freely into this structure, as one can see the sky from inside, making the rain and cold unbearable.

Sindimba does not benefit from a monthly government pension grant as she is yet to collect for her ID, because she does not have transport money.

“We are suffering, we have no proper place to sleep in, as you can see, there is no food for us to eat and even soap to take a bath,” Sindimba said.

She said in order to survive she used to do odd jobs such as working in mahangu fields and getting a bit of mahangu, which they will use sparingly.

However, due to the current drought situation, Sindimba is finding it even harder to survive, as no one is approaching her to work in their fields.

They now eat porridge once a day at suppertime, as their food has nearly run out.

“We only eat once a day and that is in the evening. We cannot afford to eat twice or else the little mahangu, which was difficult to get, will be finished,” she said.

Sindimba indicated the entire household does not have national documents, which also deprives the children of their government grants, which can improve their livelihood.

Sindimba said she does not have money for transport to collect her ID at Nkurenkuru, which is about 60 kilometres away.

Her ID collection slip is dated February 2018.

“It's been a while since I went to Nkurenkuru to enquire about my ID and if I ask a neighbour for money to get my ID the question is: How will I pay back that loan?” Sindimba asked.

Sindimba said her daughters left their children with her and it has been years since she has seen them. Her grandchildren's fathers don't pay a cent and have also abandoned them.

One of her grandchildren, 18-year-old Renalda Nedimbo, who is the mother of a three-week-old baby girl, said she dropped out of school last year while in grade 5.

When approached for comment, Musese constituency councillor Sakeus Kudumo said he is aware of the situation of people sitting without national documents, something he described as a “disaster”.

He said this is worsening poverty levels in the constituency and the Kavango East Region at large.

“It is a disaster. This is why most of the communities are poor,” Kudumo said.

He said even before Namibia gained its independence, people from Kavango were not interested in getting national documents.

Kudumo said in his spare time he visits communities and transports those without documents to home affairs, where they can acquire about the documents.


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