8 000 People Buried At Walvis in 81 Years

HAD a similar number of people died in urban Walvis Bay over the past 80 years as had been recorded in the latest mortality statistics released by the Namibia Statistics Agency in June (159 people over a period of 12 months), there would have been about 12 720 deaths since 1933 – when land was allocated for the first cemetery there.

That would mean there are about 4 720 bodies unaccounted for considering that, according to local municipal records, only about 7 947 people had been buried in the three cemeteries in the harbour town.

Walvis Bay’s municipal council, during its latest budget tabled in June, indicated that it intends to establish more cemeteries in Narraville and Kuisebmond at a cost of between N$4 million and N$5 million.

Work on the Narraville cemetery is expected to start during this financial year, but expansions on the Kuisebmond cemetery should be within the next three to five years.

The new Narraville cemetery is expected to be immediately north of the De Duine school, while the new Kuisebmond cemetery is planned north of the Tutaleni township extension.

The Namibian learned from the department responsible for cemeteries that the current Walvis Bay cemetery, near the town’s water works, was established in 1933, and that 1 792 burials had been done there to date.

“The cemetery in town still has sufficient space for quite a number of years. When an extension is made, it will be done on the immediate northern border of the current cemetery,” said Walvis Bay municipal spokesman, Kevin Adams.

The Narraville cemetery was established in 1965 and 1 761 bodies have been buried there, while the Kuisebmond cemetery, established in 1960, has seen 4 394 burials to date, according to municipal records.

In total, since 1933, 7 947 people have been buried in the three cemeteries.

“The original information seems to be correct, according to the department responsible for cemeteries,” said Adams when this newspaper queried how few people had been buried in one of the biggest towns in Namibia over the past 80 years.

After further inquiry it was learned from Adams that there were sections of the local population that apparently have the tendency to send the bodies of their loved ones to the North. This could account for up to a third of those who have died in Walvis Bay, according to him.

“Many of the older residents that came from the North to work in Walvis Bay, and have in the meantime retired, also return to their places of origin,” he said.

Another reason why burials could be unaccounted for, according to the department for cemeteries, is that there had in fact been another cemetery somewhere in Kuisebmond of which the burials had allegedly not been recorded, probably because it fell under the old colonial system.

It is alleged that this unknown cemetery could have had a few thousand graves.

Source : The Namibian