WINDHOEK – Fellow pupils, friends, family, teachers and politicians bid an emotional farewell to slain Cheryl Avihe Ujaha at a fully packed memorial service at Gammams Primary School in Khomasdal yesterday morning.
Learners from Windhoek’s primary schools shared their messages of condolences and poems, including financial contribution to the family.
While the school hall was full to capacity and it could not accommodate everyone. Some of the mourners stood outside.
Ujaha’s best friend Hitjivirue Ndjitaviua affectionately known as Pelepele calmly bid farewell to her friend. “Dear best friend, you are gone but you will never be forgotten. Although we are apart, your spirit is with me forever in my heart. Rest in peace. I love you,” read the grade five pupil from Namibia Primary School.
In attendance were Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Lucia Witbooi, Director of Education for Khomas Region Gerard Vries, parents and principals.
Ujaha’s death appalled and shook the entire nation, during the past week, people visited Ujaha’s maternal grandparents’ home in Wanaheda to convey their heart-felt condolences to the grief-stricken family.
Namibia National Teacher’s Union (Nantu) Khomas Regional Chairperson Kevin Kahungi called on constitution to be amended for the death penalty to be introduced.
Mourners agreed as they applauded to Kahungi’s call. In addition, Kahungi said the life long sentences should be given to perpetrator and that no bail must be granted. “We Nantu Khomas hereby appeal to the highest authority to kindly review our laws which protects women and children and bring supreme charges to these perpetrators. Violence against woman and girls robs them of their dignity and pride,” remarked.
Green Leaves primary school principal Chanville Mackrill, who is former HoD at Gammams, adding children knew the world changed overnight and subconsciously people live in fear. “We came here to say this will not continue. Children need to have future and hope,” said Mackrill who added that fear need to be eradicated and replaced with hope.
Gender and Equality Deputy Minister Lucia Witbooi stated that the time has come for the nation not to tolerate any form of abuse against anyone, even more so vulnerable group such as women and children. “It is everyone’s responsibility to report,” stated Witbooi. She said that it is our responsibility to teach children how to identify danger and dangerous situation and to move away from it.
While, referring to schools, the Deputy Minister added they should teach children to identify risky situation and protective behaviours and skills. She said the school boards and parent’s association should collaborate with parents to sensitise and raise awareness on violence against children. “They should also reach out to government institutions such as gender, police and health if they need assistance,” Witbooi said.
Reading out Ujaha’s Eulogy is her aunt Cynthia Kauami who said her niece was born in Manchester, England January 2009. Ujaha and her mother Sylvia Kaimu returned to Namibia when she was only three months old. Ujaha had an older sister Jessica. She said Ujaha is a top performer and beautiful, lady like, feminine, loved taking care or herself. Kauami said, “Ujaha would put on make-up and would stand in front of the mirror.”
Kauami said the late Ujaha was a leader and wherever she went she will take on leadership role. Pelepele complained to (Ujaha’s) mother that she wants to take over wherever she went, but she was still her best friend.
Ujaha’s aunt Batseba Kaimu said there will be a public memorial service today at the After-School Centre in Grysblock at 16:00. Kaimu added that from 14:00 they will march from the After -School Centre and march to the spot where Ujaha dismembered body was found. From the spot, they will submit a petition to Katutura Police Station. Ujaha will be laid to rest this Saturday.