The rumour started last Sunday – a group of vendors in Havana sell human meat and the owner of a nearby shebeen keeps some body parts in his fridge.
Then as swiftly as the rumour spread, the women’s business ground to an abrupt stop when customers fled and the shebeen owner admitted his business has been hit hard.
Matty Hango, who owns Kambaka Bar, says it’s sad that one of his close friends started the rumour that has destroyed him.
Hango says he reported to Wanaheda Police Station and his friend was called in for questioning.
“He told the police that he had heard it from another person. That other person was called in and he also said he had heard it from some people. This is crazy. They shift the blame to each other. The people are just jelous, because I have been operating for two years now and that my business is booming,” says Hango.
The rumour, he believes, started when a woman, who reportedly sold a vetkoke is believed to have been poisoned.
“When she was asked where she got the poison from, she said it had come from me and that I pay them to kill people and sell the meat while I keep the body parts,” explains Hango.
To repair his reputation, Hango says, the police will issue a statement and hold a meeting at his bar to dispel the rumour. NamPol Regional Crime Investigation coordinator, Silvanus Nghishidimwa confirmed the rumour saying they found no human heads.“We went and sniffed around and didn’t find anything. Apparently, there was a woman who was taken to the shebeen and claimed she found old and fresh human heads.”
He said they questioned the people implicated and it turned it out to be just a rumour, “Now it is up to Mr Hango to make a case of defamation against whoever is spreading the romours.”
The vendors who work near Hango’s shebeen are furious about the rumour, because now they take home N$20 or N$50 at most unlike the days before the rumuor started when they would pocket about N$500 per day.
When V-Metro visited the market, a passerby hurled insults at the women accusing them of killing people and selling meat to them.
“They eat people! They kill them and sell the meat to us and to the owner of Kambaka Bar,” the passerby insulted.
One of the vendors, Shekupe Jason, who has been operating at the market for three years responded, “You see, this is what we face everyday, insults and harrasement. This is very bad. How can a person just stand up one day and decide that we kill people, and there goes our business?”
Another vendor, Selima Petrus said, “If you kill someone you, must be arrested. Why are the police not coming to arrest us. Where is the person we killed and who is he? Nobody has come to us till now to say where the person ate the vetcake and who sold it to him.”
“We are mothers. We come here to do business yet other people are playing with our bread,”says yet another vendor, Julia Ananias, mother of five.