AS the old saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”, the same can be said regarding the safety of our children. A village in this case can be referred to a group of people that lives in one geographical location or community collectively.
I grew up in Onethindi village in Oniipa constituency during the 90s. Back then we were children to everyone older than us. We belonged to the community. We are raised by collective efforts of the entire community and kept safe by the same principle of unity of purpose. There were social contracts between the people in my community to do to other people children and would do into their own. Hence when I played truant as a young girl and wandered around Oniipa playground, any adult would stop to ask why I was not at school. Consequently, they would report me to the school or take me back to school despite my mischievous protest. If I am found doing something that I ought not to, it has always been the responsibility of such adults to correct.
We were never alone because neighbours and vendors at the street corners were parenting us. We had no fear because there was always an adult watching us. As children, we sometimes didn’t like this practice but it kept us safe.
In the light of the heart-shattering, gruesome murder of young Cherly Avihe Ujaha, (May her soul rest in peace), I found myself thinking: shouldn’t we perhaps go back to this old practice to form a village that will raise and safeguard our children? This could have been my child or anyone else’s.
Surely, somebody must have seen her walking around. Someone in the community should have stopped her and talk to her. Someone should have notice the distress look of a lost and frightened child. Someone must have driven pass a young girl walking alone. We should have done something to protect her! But we are so pre-occupied with our own issues that we hardly notice anyone else’s
Dear fellow Namibians lets us build a close knit, caring and loving village where every adult have an obligation towards any child; a village where we are mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters to each other’s children.
Let us watch and treat every child in the society as our own. If you would not let your 9 years old child wander around alone, you should be worried when you see any child of the same age in the street alone.
I do believe that if we combined our faith in prayers, we will protect our children as one united family and root out these demons from our society.
Anna Mwadina Hamalwa
Mother & 3rd year Communication student, NUST
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