On their knees

Apart from a lack of food and other basic necessities, the family said they have not yet benefitted from government's drought relief programme.

23 September 2019 | Disasters

Johanna Ndumba (79), who lives with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren at Ngaramateya village in the Rundu Urban constituency is pleading for support, as they have no source of income.

The ongoing drought has brought the family of eight to their knees and they are finding it hard to survive.

They sleep on the bare floor and no mahangu was harvested this season, due to the poor rainfall.

Due to a lack basic necessities, the younger members of the family are not attending school and have no school uniforms.

Ndumba, who is visually-impaired, relies on the assistance of her grandchildren when she has to move around.

Her granddaughter Sarafina Mukuve (19), who dropped out of school after she fell pregnant, is now the proud mother of a two-year-old boy.

Mukuve said their worst challenge is a lack of food, as their mahangu reserves have been depleted.

With no one employed in the household, the family relies on the income they make from selling Mauni, known as monkey oranges.

They sell along the Rundu-Divundu main road and the meagre earnings are used to buy maize meal and other basic necessities.

Mauni sell for N$1 or N$2 each, depending on the size.

“Our biggest challenge is hunger, because we do not have food to eat.

We are suffering here and as you can see our mahangu field did not yield any harvest,” Mukuve said.

The family eat one meal a day. Those who attend school, however, do benefit from government's school feeding programme.

Mukuve revealed that Ndumba is not a pension grant beneficiary

This is because her grandmother does not have an identity document (ID).

Ndumba's only identification is her 1983 Full Gospel Church of Namibia baptism card, which indicates she was born on 12 August 1940.

According to Ndumba, she has visited the Rundu home affairs office on several occasions, but failed to acquire an ID.

Her last visit to home affairs was last year and they promised to inform her family about the ID's progress, which has not happened yet.

Ndumba said if she secures a monthly pension grant, she will use the money to uplift the lives of her family, more especially her grandchildren, who are in desperate need of assistance.

“If I was a beneficiary of a pension grant, I would ensure that I buy enough maize meal, so that my grandchildren can eat. I want to buy school uniforms for them and clothes to wear,” Ndumba said.

Namibian Sun has repeatedly reported on struggling families in which pensioners do not have IDs, which deprives them of a monthly pension grant.

Other families depend heavily on this grant, especially during the current drought.

Namibian Sun understands that Ndumba's children have travelled to places such as Windhoek in search of job opportunities.

“One of my son's normally comes back home and assists us, but that happens once or twice in a year,” Ndumba said.

Apart from a lack of food and other basic necessities, the family said they have not yet benefitted from government's drought relief programme, while some other households in the community have received food parcels.

Attempts to get comment from Rundu Rural constituency councillor Michael Sikongo proved futile.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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