‘I will always be there for you’ – Namandje to ‘Ninja’

KEEPING MY WORD … Sisa Namandje and Paulus Shim- weefeleni, also known as Ninja, together after the latter’s release from prison. Photo: Contributed

Lawyer Sisa Namandje yesterday through his foundation made a N$20 000 donation to Paulus Shimweefeleni, also known as Ninja, to support the launch of his plumbing business.

Shimweefeleni, formerly notorious for robbery and murder, was released last week from the Windhoek Correctional Facility after a 25-year sentence.

Namandje, in conversation with The Namibian, shared his long-standing acquaintance with Shimweefeleni, dating back to 1995 when they first crossed paths during Shimweefeleni’s imprisonment for robbery, before he escaped to commit murder.

“At the time, I was a young prison warder at the Windhoek prison before resigning to go to varsity. He is also a Swapo kid. He was in Kwanza and Cuba, while I was in Nyango and the Lubango education centre,” Namandje said.

Namandje expressed excitement over Shimweefeleni’s release.

“We are all happy that you are out. It was such a long time, over 25 years in prison. I trust and hope that you will now contribute to the development of our country,” Namandje said.

Namandje revealed that for the past four years, he has been providing Shimweefeleni with essential supplies while he was incarcerated.

Three years ago, Namandje said he learned about Shimweefeleni’s aspiration to enter the plumbing industry.

It was at that point that Namandje pledged that his foundation would contribute N$20 000 to Shimweefeleni’s business upon his release.

“I will always be there for you,” Namandje said.

Shimweefeleni accepted the money, promising that every cent would be invested in launching his plumbing business.

“I promise you that this money will be put to good use. My company will start very soon,” Shimweefeleni said.

Shimweefeleni has been on a journey of rehabilitation in recent years. In 2015, during a visit by former first lady Monica Geingos to the Windhoek Correctional Facility, he admitted to still being haunted by the faces of those he had murdered in previous years.

“I would appreciate it if the government and the nation gave people like us a second chance,” Shimweefeleni said at the time in an interview with The Namibian.

Shimweefeleni was sentenced in February 1999, at the end of a trial in the Windhoek High Court, to a term of life imprisonment on a charge of murder, a 20-year prison term for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and two years’ imprisonment for the possession of firearms and ammunition without a licence.

He gained notoriety as an armed robber before he was tried in the High Court over a robbery which resulted in the murder of a young taxi driver in Windhoek in June 1997.

Three months before he was sentenced in the High Court, Shimweefeleni was also sentenced in the Windhoek Regional Court to an effective 17 years’ imprisonment on three armed robbery charges dating from 1995.

Upon his release last week, Shimweefeleni said he is now a rehabilitated man.

“I am now a true man. If I could be the same person I was in the past, I would not call myself a man, because men take responsibility. They do not only put their eyes on what they seek to benefit, but also on the consequences. I learnt all that here,” he said.

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