Detained activists Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and Michael Amushelelo’s case was once again postponed to the 4th of August 2022, while proceedings into an appeal attempt at High Court are expected this Friday.
The duo, whose prison activism has been making the rounds on social media, appeared yesterday in high spirits, taking time to speak with journalists even as they waited to be shut back into their cells.
They are detained on charges of incitement to violence after they railed against Chinese businesses and attempted to shut down the China mall.
This was after the Namibia Revenue Agency burnt down N$5 million worth of counterfeit products, which was construed as an attack on black businesses while condoning Chinese retailers accused of shipping in fakes.
Speaking just after their court appearance, Amushelelo said he has been busy reading a Steve Biko book, I Write What I Like, to pass the time and polish his political literature while awaiting the day they leave prison.
The book is a compilation of writings from the anti-apartheid activist, containing a selection of Biko’s writings from 1969, when he became the South African Student Organisation president, to 1972, when he was prohibited from publishing.
Amushelelo wishes to intensify his activism once out but more focused on what he called “political awakening of the masses on the ground” instead of striving to enter the National Assembly.
The duo has also been scribbling letters to various authorities on matters concerning prison conditions and responding to dramatic events within the Affirmative Repositioning (AR), where activists Paulus Kathanga and Simeon Amunime have been axed.
However, their case’s postponement was met with disgruntlement from a throng of youth sympathisers who had come down to be party to the proceedings at the Katutura magistrates’ court.
Hendrina Hamunyela, with whom Nauyoma has sired two children, said it’s been a horrible 74 days for his children, who constantly ask where their father is.
She took this journalist to where the prisoners were waiting to be escorted back, a room teeming with police officers and NEFF officials.
The toll of prison was not visible on both as they appeared clean-shaven, shaking hands with visitors, exchanging pleasantries and dabbling into political talk on the conditions of prison, and what they seek to achieve once out.
Nauyoma and Hendrina both have a five-year-old son and a one year 10 months old daughter.
“The only question they have is where is daddy, why is daddy not here because, ever since they were born, there was not a day when they have not spoken to their father. If he is out of town, they will obviously WhatsApp each other and speak.”
“Right now, when they want to speak to their father, there is no way I can call the father unless he calls us, and it’s only for five minutes. They do not understand, and I do not know how to explain it to them because I have a fear, especially for the five-year-old. The image he has of prison is something very bad,” she said.
Hendrina had also come along with Nauyoma’s mother, who, despite Thursday’s setback, appeared strong and much hopeful.
Amushelelo’s wife, Julietta, was also in the company of her spouse’s long-time business partner and friend, Gregory Cloete.
She, unlike Hendrina, was not prepared to speak with the media.
“I am (hopeful), but for now, I have no comment. As you can see, I am with my little one, so it’s best, maybe catch me another time,” she said before driving off.
For Cloete, the postponement was yet another show of how the state is willing to drag its feet before the day of trial begins, during which time the activists languish in pre-trial detention.
“I mean, it’s very obvious that these are delay tactics the machinery from the state has used once again against our brothers, but we shouldn’t give up. We anticipated this, of course. However, tomorrow (Friday), we have the high court bail application. Kadhila (Amoomo) has told us that he is going to bring his best to free our brothers, so I am urging the public not to give up. The guys are in high spirits; they will come home,” he said.
In the meantime, Hendrina said, “I really feel sad because I am trying to understand what is it that they did so bad, what danger are they to society? And for me, it’s actually emotionally and financially draining as well. We are not allowed to be taking food inside. They are only fed pap throughout the whole week.”
“If he wants coffee, if he needs tea, and for the airtime for him to be able to call me and to speak to other family members, I need to make sure that he has that. He tells me that he misses the kids, that I should tell them he loves them every day and that he will come out very soon. It’s been like that for the past 74 days,” she said.
This publication is reliably informed that Amushelelo and Nauyoma’s writings to the outside world have also not gone down well with the prison officials, who warned that their privileges could be taken away.