Vandals cause consternation

Outrage as Garub train station vandalised

01 March 2020 | Tourism

Swakopmund • [email protected]


Namibians are furious after the vandalism of the historic Garub ruins by four visitors to the country. Since images of the suspected perpetrators went viral along with photos of what they had done, various individuals are hot on the suspects trail.

“The EU Commission in Namibia has contacted me, describe the vandalism as a shame,” Franci Carney, a photographer from Lüderitz, said.

A week ago, she drove to the ruins between Aus and Lüderitz when she came across the vandalism. “These people destroyed our legacy. I just burst into tears,” she said.

Carney took several pictures and uploaded them onto Facebook where after it was shared countless times within a very short time. “But I couldn’t just stop there,” she said.

By chance, an IT expert in Windhoek, Nrupesh Soni, saw the photos. “I was furious and got straight to work,” he said.

Thanks to his internet skills, he quickly gathered more information and managed to identify some of suspected.

He could surmise that three are French and another is Canadian, all of whom have left graffiti in several places in Namibia and Cape Town / South Africa, since they documented this in a video that they published on the internet.

The video also shows how they allegedly flew a drone in Etosha National Park without a permit.

“Shortly after I tracked them down, they deleted everything, including the photos and videos. I knew then that I was on the right track,” Soni said.

In the meantime, he found an email address of one of the suspects and wrote to them.

“We want a public apology and that the graffiti be removed,” Soni said.

In the meantime, the EU Commission contacted Carney.

“I am in the process of writing a letter to the French embassy. I want to see the perpetrators held accountable,” she said.
She not only seeks an apology, but also that the guilty are banned from entering Namibia again, because “we don’t need people like that here.”

She plans on starting a fundraising campaign and to remove the graffiti. She adds that since the incident, graffiti on historic ruins has become a precedent.

“We do not tolerate vandalism in Namibia,” said environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda upon enquiry. “Fortunately, this is an isolated case. Most visitors safeguard our heritage.”

The Hospitality Association of Namibia has a similar opinion, saying they are “horrified” by the graffiti, describing the behavior of these visitors as “disrespectful”.

“We believe that Namibians must stand together and show that they appreciate the historical heritage of Namibia,” HAN said in a statement.

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