‘I was sent to the dunes for a reason’

‘MY LITTLE GIRL’ … Meruune Tutjavi with the baby he rescued from the desert at Walvis Bay on Saturday.
… Baby rescuer says he would have loved to take her in if he was financially stable

The man who rescued the 16-month-old baby who was abandoned in the desert at Walvis Bay says he has fallen in love with her.

Meruune Tutjavi (33), who is a petrol attendant at the town, says he arrived home on Saturday morning and was not feeling well.

Since there are no ablution facilities at the community where he lives, he decided to go to the dunes, where he came across the unusual sight of a clean blanket in the dunes.

“I was wondering what was in it. I heard something coughing. I immediately knew it was a child coughing . . . I tried to call the police, but realised the police’s number was on my other SIM card.

“I called my girlfriend and asked her to send me the police’s number. The baby was sitting up and started playing with her nappies. I tried to call the number, but the call did not go through.

“I saw a man walking nearby and tried to call him, but he ran away. I think he thought I was a criminal. I started to panic, because it would be dangerous to leave her there. I saw another man approaching, but he also started to run away.

“I tried to explain in Oshiwambo. He tried to pick up the baby, but I told him not to touch it yet. He went to fetch the police while I stayed with the baby.

“I felt good and cried. I was shocked that someone would do something like that,” Tutjavi says.

He says he would have loved to take the baby if he was financially stable, and would like to see her again.

Tutjavi believes he was sent to the dunes for a reason. He says he was happy to hear the baby’s mother has been found.
“I was praying for the mother to be found. I do not know what will happen to her . . . People go through different situations.

“I told people not to touch the child until the police arrived.

“After the police touched her I carried her when we went to the police station. She looked so innocent. She looked like a child of God. She was unharmed, apart from coughing and maybe feeling hungry,” he says.

The mother of the baby, Wilhelmina Abed (29), yesterday appeared in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court and was in custody.

She will appear again on 18 June.

Erongo police spokesperson chief inspector Ileni Shapumba says Abed was found selling kapana at a local shebeen at Kuisebmond after a community member called the police.

She was arrested after initially attempting to run away.

HERO … Meruune Tutjavi from Walvis Bay says he is happy that the baby he rescued in the dunes over the weekend is safe and sound. His neighbours say what he did was heroic.


Tutjavi, who is now being hailed a hero by his neighbours, says he came to Walvis Bay from Opuwo in 2022 to look for employment.

He was employed as a petrol attendant last year.

He says he was raised in a house with nine siblings, and many other younger children.

Tutjavi’s neighbours say they are proud of him.

“He saved someone who might become a minister, nurse or someone productive in the community,” says community member Alexandine Tjamuaha.

Elizabert Nuis says she noticed Tutjavi looking tired on Saturday morning.

“I saw something was wrong. I asked him and he said he saw something shocking . . . I just thank God for him. Some people see things and just walk past . . .

“There are so many things happening at this Walvis Bay. Women should especially stand together and support each other,” she says.

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