Hardship forces Zemba family to city lifeBy: TANJA BAUSE
ON the outskirts of Windhoek’s Kilimanjaro informal settlement a family of 10 Zemba people have a little shack which they call home. The family moved to Windhoek from Ruacana seven years ago in search of a better life.
“In Ruacana life was very tough, we had nothing and no one cares about the people suffering up there. So we decided to move to Windhoek hoping that our lives would improve, but this is not the case,” says Nahipe Welukop.
Her husband is a traditional healer who was hoping to get more clients in Windhoek.
The family still live according to their Zemba traditions, which makes them outcasts in their neighbourhood.
“People look at us in a funny way,” says Welukop.
Another family member built the shack in which they live.
Five adults share one room with a 10-month-old baby and four children share a room which also doubles as a storeroom and kitchen.
They have planted some maize and say that their only income is when the traditional healer treats someone.
Out of the five children only the eldest one is in school. The three boys aged between 20 and 13 have never been to school and can neither read nor write. The family cannot speak any English and all the adults are illiterate.
But this does not stop Welukop from dreaming about a job as a cleaner at the City of Windhoek.
Apart from this family there is another Zemba family living in Kilimanjaro.
“It is only us and the other family here who are Zemba,” Welukop says.
A company has heard about the family’s plight and offered to build them a bigger shack with more rooms and a separate kitchen.
Welukop says she could not believe her luck when she was told about the bigger shack.
“Life is about to get better. Here people care and help when they can. Up there no one cares.”