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By: Andrew Kathindi

President Hage Geingob has requested that a street in Otweya, a housing project that was set in motion following the devastating fire that wrecked the lives of Twaloloka residents and killed 20-month old Fillipus Nafimane, should be named after the boy.

“May I also request the Walvis BayMunicipality to name one of the streets at Otweya after young Fillipus Mandha [Nafimane], in his honour and memory. Mayor, I didn’t consult you. I don’t give instructions to Mayors but you heard me,” Geingob said.

The boy’s father, Mhanda Nafimane told The Villager on Friday, that it is not about happiness. “It’s about history about tomorrow. How it happened,” he said.

Nafimane also said although his name is on the list of the beneficiaries, he is yet to be given a house.

“I did not receive any house today. Three houses were given out. There is one given to a lady who is not a victim of the fire. Her ghetto was not touched by the fire,” he said.

Nafimane’s mother, Ndilimewawa Hamukwaya, last year told the media that the boy died after she had stepped from her shack as the boy slept.

Nafimane was the only casualty in the in a massive fire in the Twaloloka location that drew nationwide attention on 26 July 2020 and left over 1 000 people homeless. The fire reduced over 240 shacks to ashes in a matter of hours.

“He could not be rescued as the fire spread too fast. There was nothing I could do but stand and look at how my son in our shack was swallowed by the fire,” Nafimane’s father Mhanda Nafimane is quoted as saying.

Geingob handed over 121 houses for Otweya residents of Walvis Bay as part of a cabinet decision which instructed the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to oversee the relocation of the fire victims.

“In the aftermath of that fateful day, Government declared the site of thetragedy as a disaster site. Furthermore, the Government ensured that theaffected people were provided with makeshift shelters, food, blankets, aswell as assistance to recover national documents lost in the fire,” said Geingob.

Geingob said that 31 houses for the Otweya fire victims were constructed by government for approximately N$43 million, while 43 houses are constructed by the Shack DwellersFederation of Namibia, through the Standard Bank – Build a Brick Project.

“I am therefore pleased, that after this tragic incident, we can meet today topartake in the handing over of these houses to the Otweya fire victims, cementing our commitment to address the issue of decongestion of informalsettlements, to provide housing to the masses and to improve the livelihoodsof our people. We will continue with this strategy and call on all localauthorities to support this initiative by providing land where possible.”

The project, which was part of government’s decongestion plans has been delayed for nearly a year as according to a cabinet resolution announced by Information, Communication and Technology Minister, Peya Mushelenga, last year, the units should have been occupied by the last week of October 2020.

The disaster last year also forced government to allocate and service land on Farm 37 for N$20 million. The project, which was conceived in 2016, had been delayed until the fire in Twaloloka last year.


Julia Heita

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