Namibia greets ‘precious angel’
Hundreds of mourners yesterday paid their last respects to the slain Avihe Cheryl Ujaha (9) in Windhoek.
10 September 2018 | Crime
“Fatherlessness will kill this nation.” – Monica Geingos, First Lady
Cruel death unites nation
On Saturdays her mom would drop her at her grandparents’ house so that she could accompany them to church the next day.
Sundays she would be flanked by them in the El Shadai Ministries off Windhoek’s busy Eveline Street on the outskirts of the capital.
She never went outside during a church service to play with other kids and would never have a meal without first having said grace.
This is how past. Seth Kaimu remembered his granddaughter Avihe Cheryl Ujaha yesterday.
It is a fortnight today since the nine-year-old girl vanished from home – never to return.
The grisly discovery of her butchered remains two days later shocked Namibians to their core.
The pink church building burst at the seams yesterday as hundreds of mourners flocked there to pay their last respects to the little girl, who during a memorial service at Gammams Primary School, was referred to as “a precious angel”.
She was a grade 3 pupil at this school in Chrysler Street in Khomasdal.
Amongst the mourners at yesterday’s funeral were first lady Monica Geingos, who too was deeply touched by the tragedy.
She quoted a phrase which states: “Justice is for those who deserve it while mercy is for those who don’t.”
Geingos said Avihe’s killer will get justice, whether he is apprehended or not. “And we will get mercy, whether we deserve it or not.”
She said the cruel nature of Avihe’s death and her yet to be traced body parts gave rise to “whispers of a ritual killing, but we are not here to speculate”.
The first lady emphasised that Avihe’s death was not in vain. “In a world so full of hate, Avihe has taught us how to love.”
Equally, Geingos added Avihe’s death is helping Namibians learn to forgive amidst an abundance of bitterness. “That is the mercy of the Lord. In its essence, mercy is forgiveness.”
According to her, “the unspeakable condition” of the late Avihe’s mutilated body “is a reflection of our society. It is we who are broken. It is we who have chopped up our families.
“Our mind-sets are scattered and our moral values are missing,” Geingos said. “Avihe’s killer was so blinded by evil that he couldn’t see the grace which surrounds Avihe.
“How would he have known that his actions would shock this nation into unity?”
In the same vein, she added “Avihe’s killer would not have known that even inmates would not be left indifferent by her death, bringing some to tears”.
She said pastor Kaimu had demonstrated leadership to the Namibian nation by how he had “reminded us of the Lord’s mercy and the importance of forgiving others as we had been forgiven – this is the mystery of the Lord’s ways”.
Geingos said she was happy to see grown men cry in public. “For too long we have taught our boys and men not to cry and talk about their emotions.”
A man who bottles up his emotions is like a volcano, she charged. “One day that volcano will erupt and cause massive destruction.”
Geingos said she was particularly touched by how Avihe’s father, Isak Ujaha, had stayed in touch with his daughter despite the distance between Namibia and the United Kingdom (UK), where he resides.
There are men who live in Windhoek who do not have contact with their children, she said. “Fatherlessness will kill this nation.”
Pastor Kaimu, who delivered the moving sermon at yesterday’s burial, said he wants the killer, once arrested, to be brought to him. “I want to show him the love of God. The Bible says we have all sinned and moved away from the Lord. There is no one who is righteous before the Lord. The grace of the Lord is there to set you free.”
He lashed out at those demanding that the death penalty be reinstated. “We are wrong if we think the death penalty should be brought back. God is full of grace. Please, beloved, let’s forgive.”
He said Avihe’s death has blessed him with the opportunity to address such a large congregation. “This country will not prevent these types of deaths if we don’t bow before the Lord. The Lord needs to come into our hearts if we want to enjoy the fruits of this country.”
Avihe’s uncle, Lawrence Kaimu, said the Namibian nation had carried the family through the past two difficult weeks. “All the messages have comforted us and have given us strength.”
He told her friends and classmates that the family acknowledges their despair too. “We are aware of the pain you are experiencing due to the death of Avihe.”
He says the family took note of terms used to refer to her death, such as ‘horrific’, ‘brutal’, disgusting’ and ‘terrible’.
But, he asks, “What purpose do those words serve? Personally, I think nothing can be done [to change the situation]. My only hope is that we accept what had happened to our beloved daughter.”