Horrific Images Haunt Slain Woman’s Family

FREDRIKA Uises can still hear her daughter’s voice as she remembers the day she had promised to come home for the weekend from Swakopmund the evening before her murder.

Nine years have passed since Menesia Owoses, (34) was gang-raped and murdered in September 2005 by two men – Kinsley Dausab and Michael Tsowaseb – in what is considered to be one of Swakopmund’s most gruesome murders.

Menesia’s body was found on an open piece of land in Tamariskia township near the Herman Gmeiner High School on the morning of 4 September after a night out in the company of the two men.

Her body was allegedly violated. A broken bottle, stones and other objects were allegedly used to cut and stab her neck, face and private parts.

These are some of the memories her family still has as well as her framed photo that hangs in their tiny living room at Okahandja’s Nau-Aib location, where The Namibian met Menesia’s mother and her sister Ida Owoses recently.

Uises remembers the last telephone conversation she had with her daughter shortly before her death.

“She told me she missed me a lot and could not wait to see me because we had a lot of catching up to do,” Uises remembers fondly. She says she had not seen Menesia in a while and when she called to let her know that she was coming home to Okahandja for a visit, she was overjoyed.

What Menesia’s mother did not know was that it was the last time she would ever hear her daughter’s voice and laughter, because Menesia never made it home.

“We had a lengthy phone conversation on the evening of her murder, almost as if it was the goodbye,” Uises says.

She explains that she never imagined seeing her daughter, lying lifeless in a mortuary the next day, with her mutilated body covered in blood, a broken neck and bruises – a harrowing image she still struggles to erase from her mind today.

“I remember bursting into tears and asking why my daughter had to be returned to me in such a manner,” she says.

Menesia’s elder sister Ida Owoses describes her as a people’s person who made friends easily.

“She was always full of life. We had our normal sibling rivalry every now and then, but we loved each other a lot,” Ida says, smiling while looking at her younger sister’s old photograph.

Both mother and daughter try hard to hold back emotions as they open up about this painful chapter in their lives. The murder caused a public outcry among women at the coastal town who held a peaceful demonstration and lit candles in her memory.

But her family’s grief has only deepened because almost 10 years later the two men who allegedly raped and killed her are yet to be brought to justice.

Dausab is free on bail, while Tsowaseb is in police custody in Windhoek following three attempts to escape from justice in 2011.

The family says the news of Tsowaseb’s escape from prison in 2011 was a big blow to them. Ida recalls that the family prayed fervently for Tsowaseb to be rearrested, until she came face to face with him one evening.

“As if God had answered our prayers, I ran into him at a taxi-rank in Okahandja in April of 2012. He walked straight up to me and asked if we could take a walk together, which I found very strange,” she says.

Ida further says at first she did not recognise her sister’s alleged murderer because it was pitch dark and she was exhausted.

“But the next day when I ran into him again, I remembered his face and immediately alerted the police,” she said.

During the interview, a young boy wearing a school uniform walks past Ida and hurries into the kitchen to get something to eat.

“This is Menesia’s youngest son, Xander. He was only four-years-old when his mother was murdered. It has not been easy raising him without his mother. I wish she knew just how big he has grown now,” says Uises.

She adds that Menesia’s oldest son, Victory, who is now 25-years-old, has been withdrawn ever since the death of his mother.

“He keeps to himself most of the time and it’s hard because we never know what is on his mind,” says Uises, explaining that Menesia was engaged to her long-time boyfriend and father of her youngest son at the time of her death.

The family says they still cannot erase the horrific images of Menesia’s mutilated body from their minds.

“I remember looking at her face as she lay in the mortuary, fear was written all over her face. I could tell from the numerous bruises on her arms and hands that she had fought for her life, but I will never forget the horrific look on her face,” Ida says.

Still, despite the inhuman and violent manner in which Menesia was murdered, her family says they have learned to live through the pain and to forgive.

“My mother has taught us to forgive our enemies, and although it has not been easy, we have come to forgive Menesia’s killers,” Ida says, trying to fight back tears.

She recently learned that Dausab was getting married in Swakopmund. “He is living a normal life while we have to pick up the broken pieces of our loss,” Ida explains, adding that some of Tsowaseb’s children are also living in Okahandja and they rub shoulders with them on the streets occasionally.

“None of Tsowaseb or Dausab’s family has ever asked us for forgiveness or shown any sympathy about what happened. We have made peace with that and we leave it in God’s hands. The only thing we pray for now is for justice,” said Uises.

Source : The Namibian