• September 18th, 2018
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‘I just came from the mortuary’… Otjomuise victim’s father at a loss for words

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Alvine Kapitako & Selma Ikela Windhoek-Maria Megameno Kamati, the latest victim of violence against women who was shot dead on Monday morning in Otjomuise, has over time relayed to her family and friends the physical abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of her live-in partner and father of her two minor kids. In fact, New Era is told, just on Sunday, she was seen with a bump on her forehead – suspected to be from a fresh assault on her earlier that day. That bump was never to heal again as she was shot dead the next morning – allegedly by the man she deeply loved and whom she gave the life gift of two beautiful kids. The fact that she paid for most of the household needs, including rent for the flat she shared with her unemployed boyfriend, did not seemingly matter as she suffered abuse day after another. The boyfriend, 41-year-old Erastus Heita, allegedly sold and abused drugs. When he was not high on drugs, he was a dream boyfriend, those close to the couple told us. But he was a different animal when high, they said. Her family was well aware of what she was going through, but, says her stepmother Peneyambeko Moses, it was culturally impossible to intervene in the couple’s personal affairs. Her father, Lucas Kamati, was a broken man when New Era visited his house in Golgota yesterday. He left all the talking to his wife, the deceased’s stepmother. “I can’t talk. I just came from the mortuary,” said a visibly overwhelmed and emotional Kamati when New Era visited the family home in Golgota yesterday. The grieving Kamati could barely keep his head up as he tried hard to hold back tears. He consoled himself by looking down, fiddling with his fingernails as he fought back the flood of tears. The New Era team visited the Kamati family home at around 10h00 yesterday. It is here where the late Maria Megameno Kamati’s stepmother, siblings as well as other relatives were preparing to receive mourners who would visit the residence during the day. Moses repeatedly described the deceased as “a good girl”. She said Maria, who celebrated her 31st birthday just last week, was generous and always ready to assist the family financially and through other means. She also related how Maria, who recently ventured into business, constantly looked out for her younger siblings by assisting with some needs, whenever she could. “If she wanted to spoil her siblings she would come and take them for shopping and then bring them back again,” related an emotional Moses while wiping tears from her eyes. She also spoke of her oshitenya (in-law), Erastus Heita, saying he was a man with "a good heart". Moses said that the family does not know where Heita – who appeared in court yesterday - got a gun because the one he previously owned was confiscated by the police. “But he used and sold drugs and that is where the bad temperament stemmed from,” explained Moses. The deceased’s family recollected that the couple often fought when Heita was under the influence of drugs. “She used to call me to tell me about the challenges they had in their relationship. When he was sober they were fine but when he was under the influence of drugs that is when they had problems,” a family member said. Moses said that she and her husband could not interfere much in the relationship, except to give advice from time to time. Culturally, it is never advisable to interfere in people’s relationships, she said. “They were not married. They only lived together and culturally in Oshiwambo when that happens we cannot really get involved when conflicts arose because proper formalities were not followed for them to move in together,” explained Moses. She also said that at times Maria would visit her father’s home to share the differences she had with her boyfriend. Other times, New Era was further told, she would relay her pains to other relatives and friends. Just on Sunday, she confided to a friend that she was "tired". On several occasions, she briefly moved out from the house she occupied with her two children and partner but he always insisted that they get back together and that things would get better, related Moses. “What can we do? We cannot do anything but to accept,” remarked Moses, saying holding grudges and being resentful towards Heita would not bring the deceased back. “Even his (Heita) family did not know that he would kill her. It’s not their fault.” Moses and Kamati were already at work when they received a phone call that their daughter had been shot dead. “When we got there (flat) we could not utter a word for one hour and her father held his hands on the head in shock,” said Moses. Gender activist, Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi yesterday stressed that enslaving cultural practices contribute to gender-based violence. Such cultural practices make it difficult for parents and children to openly discuss matters of relationships, he explained. “Culture as it is right now is not helping,” said Karuaihe-Upi, also calling for an end to enslaving cultural practices. “We need to embrace new ways that work for us. If your culture is not working for you change it,” said Karuaihe-Upi. The couple had two minor children.  
2017-10-04 09:12:54 11 months ago
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