By: Ludorf Iyambo
The Katutura Magistrate’s Court denied Fred Simasiku and Obrine Liwelu bail on Tuesday.
The two were arrested on 18 February 2022 in Windhoek after approaching a person living with albinism asking him to sell them his hair. The unnamed person with albinism then reached out to the Namibia Albinism Association, which then tipped off the police about the offer.
The police then set up a sting operation that led to the men’s arrest.
Magistrate Dawid Mukuyu postponed the matter to 29 June 2022 for further investigation.
Namibia Albinism Association leader Joseph Ndinomupya said that the incident reached their office, and it was shocking news.
Ndinomupya said this is the first case they have heard in Namibia.
“We only used to hear this from other countries such as Malawi and Tanzania. We always hear that our albinism brothers and sisters are being killed in other countries, and their body parts are being cut off for ritual and some witchcraft practices,” said Ndinomupya.
Walde Kambabi, the vice president of the Namibia Albinism Association, claimed that the people living with albinism want to know who is behind such a business and the kind of business they do.
According to Kambabi, the two men offered to buy the albino hair for N$1 million.
Kambabi said their members want the judiciary to know that there are such people who buy albinism hair and toes.
He also said that the culprits should be punished harshly as an example to others.
“We are happy these people were denied bail. We want the judiciary to be harsh on them until they reveal what they do with our body parts. We don’t want to live in a society with fear,” he said.
A member of the association, Hileni Mathew, said that the incident affected her and she is not comfortable being approached by unknown people.
Mathew narrated that her father told her to be careful with people out in the world when she was young.
She said the environment is not safe for people living with albinism anymore.
“I was approached by many men, telling me that I will be lucky to get a job if I sleep with you. I don’t know what the future hold for us. This is so scary. Imagine now everyone is approaching you to be their girlfriend, but maybe they don’t love you, they want something from you. I feel like if I accept such a person’s proposal, they might cut off my nails or shave off my hair while I am sleeping,” said Mathew.
Kuku Nashani, from the traditional healers association, said that no true healer would ask anybody to go and kill someone for a ritual. Nashani added that the people who practice such things are not part of their associations.