Thugs Have It Their Way At Golgota Cemetery

The Golgota cemetery in Katutura is not only being used by some as a place to chill out, drink alcohol and take drugs but thugs are also very busy in the burial ground.

There has been an upsurge in reports of cemetery workers as well as passersby being assaulted and robbed of their valuables.

“We are not safe here. Just last month one of our colleagues was robbed of two mobile phones while walking to go and charge them at the office,” a 41-year-old female worker, who chose anonymity for fear of victimisation, told New Era yesterday.

The woman, supported by her colleagues, said for people to walk in the graveyard is generally accepted when they are paying respects to the departed.

But this is no longer always the case as the Golgota cemetery has become a haven for criminals, said the workers who are responsible for keeping the cemetery clean.

“There are four security guards here but the graveyard is big so criminals organise themselves in such a way that when the security guards are patrolling one part of the graveyard they (thugs) are busy robbing people who are visiting the dead or use the cemetery as a walk-through. They also drink and smoke their drugs at the other side where there are no security guards around,” one female worker explained.

She said even if thugs are told by the security guards not to walk through the graveyard they defy them by doing just that.

“Sometimes the security guards are women and the thugs undermine them. When thugs find that we are only women working here they do not fear us and they easily rob us of our possessions. I can’t even walk alone from one point of the cemetery to the other and if I walk alone and I arrive safe at the next point without being mugged or intimidated by these thugs then I know it was the grace of God. We mostly work in groups,” said the woman.

A man who also chose to remain anonymous said, “Security guards are there but the graveyard is just too big.”

In addition, the woman said even the office which is based at the graveyard is not spared by thieves as often they find the doors had been stolen off its hinges.

“It is not just here at the cemetery where they rob and harass people. Sometimes we hear people screaming for help outside the cemetery and sometimes people come here asking if we had seen men running through here with a handbag,” said the woman.

They said they do not normally report the incidents to the police because they could be ridiculed as there are security guards who are supposed to attend to their safety and the security of the premises.

“Maybe what the municipality can do is to beef up security with more guards as the cemetery is really big,” suggested one of the men.

Meanwhile, commenting on the matter, Reverend Ngeno Nakamhela of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) said although a cemetery is not as such declared a sacred place, it is regarded as a place that deserves respect.

“It should be respected by those who are alive therefore we can’t go there and do disrespectful stuff,” said Nakamhela.

Churches, he said, should take up the task of educating their members and the communities when officiating at burials to respect the cemetery.

“Most people buried there are buried by the churches so there is a need to refer to this in order to help educate the people,” Nakamhela further elucidated.

Source : New Era