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Winter bites San community

2022-06-08  Festus Hamalwa

Winter bites San community

As winter sets in countrywide, hundreds of San people in Omundaungilo constituency of the Ohangwena region are tormented by cold weather causing many to fall ill.

Members of this community which is based at Omhalapapa, claim that poverty is the driving force behind their woes as they do not have clothes or blankets to keep them warm. To make matters worse, this community has no access to clean water or any other form of sanitation. 

They now alleging that they are being discriminated against by their councillor who they said turned a blind eye to them and refuses to hear their plight.

 “He [the councillor] has been in the office for three terms but has done nothing. We need to vote for a new councillor who would listen to us,” they said.

The head and oldest member of this community, 86-year-old Helaria Haule said her community used to receive drought relief food but not anymore. 

“Me and my grandchildren sleep on the ground without blankets. They are constantly sick because it is too cold,” she said.

Helena Hamutenya (24) and her husband and their minor children cover themselves with plastic maize meal bags and lit the fire in their makeshift home to keep themselves warm.

“Now we have developed blisters and black marks on our legs because we are always sitting or sleeping next to the fire in our hut. We are also at risk of getting burnt in there since we sleep in the hut with the fire burning throughout the night,” she stressed.

“We, therefore, appeal to any Samaritans to assist us with blankets, clothes and food,” they stated.

The San also said they are forced to drink dirty water because there are no community taps in the area.

Approached for comment, the councillor of Omundaungilo constituency, Festus Ikanda said he has received countless complaints from the San community, despite the help that he always extends through his office. 

Ikanda said some members of this community receive social grants from the government but they waste their money on alcohol at local cuca shops.

“My office has been trying to assist them but they are ever bad mouthing me, claiming that I do not assist them. Sometimes, I organise community meetings but they do not pitch, as they are always at the cuca shops,” he said. 

The councillor added government has stopped supplying foodstuff to communities as it has decided to start giving grants for beneficiaries to decide and purchase their own needs.

2022-06-08  Festus Hamalwa

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