Living a parent’s nightmare
Every parent’s nightmare – the brutal murder of their child - became a reality last week for Woman Solidarity Namibia Director and Dolam Children’s Home founder, Rosa Namises.
To add insult to injury, Namises found out about the rape and killing of 22-year-old Rosina Bono /Gaoses, who she had raised as her own since the age of five, via a video of her lifeless body that went viral on Facebook.
Namises, who is a prominent voice on gender issues, was in Switzerland with work when she logged into the social media platform and saw the video of the young woman she affectionately called Bono or ‘Bones’ laying in a riverbed in Sukkot Street in Dolam, Katutura.
Bono’s body had been discovered by the police on Heroes’ Day. Preliminary investigations revealed that she was pregnant at the time of her death.
Bono was studying toward her Grade 10 certificate at NAMCOL.
Namises raised the young woman as her own, after Bono’s biological mother died in 2002. But three years ago, her father claimed her, and she was placed under his care.
This week, just a few days after the young woman was laid to rest, a distraught Namises said she cannot get any work done, as her mind is just not present.
Sitting in her office when the Windhoek Observer visited her, the look on her face was of a woman trying valiantly to be strong, but there was an emptiness that abide.
She stared at nothing in particular, as if she was swimming in the deepest in thoughts.
The pain was tangible, and although she tried to hide it, her eyes told a story of deep hurt and agony.
“My heart is bleeding; if I could turn back the hands of time I would do so,” Namises said.
“What is it that my child had that they killed her for? She didn’t have anything, not even a cellphone. She just had her body. What did she own that she had to die for?
“People say it is God’s will, but it is not, it is just a brutal killing and murder of a young woman.
“They took a life from us and the community and what makes me angry is that her life was taken in vain.”
According to Namises, the gentle free-spirited young woman had a very difficult childhood, after a tragic car crash ended the life of her biological mother.
Namises remembered the first day Bono was brought to Dolam Children’s Home.
“She came in very quiet, but had a radiant smile. She was very respectful and would never talk back to her elders. She was an introvert, but also firm in her beliefs, as well as resilient, which was displayed when she had no place to live (before she was brought to the shelter,” she said.
She could not help, but break down, as she remembered how she and Bono used to write letters to each other.
What is even more heartbreaking is that just recently, Bono wrote a letter to Namises, in which she said that she viewed and regarded her as her real mother.
“I am sorry, but when the teacher asks us about our mothers, I describe you as my mother, because I feel you are my mother,” Bono wrote in the letter.
“That has been something that stayed with me. She was tiny, so I always felt very protective of her. How do I collect myself, I am a bit torn apart,” Namises said.
She added that the person who took a video of her daughter’s lifeless body was “making someone’s pain a spectacle”.
“There is no sensitivity towards these horrendous crimes. It is as if what is happening in our community is normal, while we have all become wordless and motionless. We make a mockery of serious and hurtful issues,” Namases said.
In her view, churches are letting people down, as they are not discussing such issues openly.
“When people go to church, it is just a normal church service; the pastors do not discuss what is happening in the community.”
As she continues to mourn, Namises is slowly coming to terms with the fact that Bono is gone, but it has not been easy especially knowing that whoever is responsible for her brutal death, is still roaming the streets.
“As family members, we need to know what is going on with the case, but nothing is being done, which leaves us wondering what it is that they are looking at. It is frustrating and sad,” she said.
“I think it is not impossible to find the culprit; it is possible with a thorough investigation and a considerate approach, but I feel the police are not aggressive enough.
“These kinds of crimes have become a non-issue for them, because they happen more frequently. Death in the country has been normalised, just like car accidents.”
Bono’s peers and foster sisters, who she grew up with at the Dolam Children’s Home, have also been torn apart by her sudden death.
One of the girls, who regarded Bono as an older sister, said that she was sad and could not believe that ‘Bones’ was gone.
“She was a very good person and she did not deserve to end up in this situation,” the girl said.
The police are yet to apprehend any suspect. Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi said that investigations are ongoing.