Maasdorp remembered as anti-GBV app is launched

FAREWELL … Delia Maasdorp was honoured during an emotional ceremony at the Namibia University of Science and Technology in Windhoek on Wednesday.

The Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) on Wednesday launched a distress app to help combat gender-based violence (GBV).

The app was launched in memory of Delia Maasdorp (40), whose body was discovered wrapped in a blanket in Klein Windhoek on 28 April.

She served as the executive director of research, innovation and partnership at the university.

Nust held a memorial service in Maasdorp’s honour this week, which was attended by her colleagues and friends.

The app, called the Distress Application (D-App), was launched by minister of justice Yvonne Dausab.

Nust research student Edward Chisala presented the prototype of the app, which is still under construction.

He highlighted its various core features, including counselling support, access to educational information, and an emergency reporting function.

“The app will have three main users: local authorities, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, and individuals,” Chisala said.

Nust’s acting deputy vice chancellor of research, innovation and partnership, Colin Stanley, said: “We honour the memory of Delia through launching the Distress Application in support of driving positive change in our ongoing fight against violence in our communities.”

Meanwhile, Dausab said the app is one of many ways to ensure access to help.

“I want to encourage many of us that if we are aware of people who are in relationships that are toxic and abusive, we also have a responsibility. Let’s not be bystanders of violence,” she said.

Dausab said Namibian women are becoming an endangered species.

“In 2022, the Namibian police confirmed 10 478 cases of GBV, marking a significant increase compared to 5 122 cases recorded between 2020 and July 2021,” she said.

She noted that these cases might have increased even further.

“The period from 2022 to 2024 has witnessed a disturbing surge of cases of violence and femicide, casting a dark shadow over our society,” she said.

Dausab said violence is not only perpetrated against women, but also against men who do not conform to dominant masculine gender roles.

She reflected on the recent brutal murder of Chistof Fredricks.

“I am aware of instances where women have also killed men in intimate relationships, and we should have similar outrage, without losing sight of the fact that gender-based violence disproportionately affects women and children in recent years,” she said.

“Men are not just bystanders in this fight, they are integral allies in creating a society free from violence and discrimination,” she said.

Maasdorp’s ex-husband, Ramon Maasdorp, described his wife as an amazing person.

“We miss her so much already,” he said.

He said the family is honoured that the university is launching an app in Maasdorp’s honour.

“Her infectious passion for people will live on through this application,” Ramon said.


Police spokesperson Elifas Kuwinga says Maasdorp’s parents, who live at Swakopmund, reportedly tried to call and locate her on 26 April, but her number was unreachable.

They requested one of her friends in Windhoek to check at her house and report the incident to the police. A missing person notice was then issued.

The police accompanied a friend of Maasdorp to her flat, where her body was discovered.

The police observed blood stains on one of the couches.

Additionally, Maasdorp’s BMW3-series, her flat-screen television, laptop and iPhone were missing.

The vehicle was found abandoned at a service station at Rundu on 30 April.

On the same day, a suspect, Wentzel Maasdorp, was arrested in Windhoek. It is alleged that he was in a relationship with Maasdorp.

Wentzel Maasdorp appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court on a charge of murder and two counts of theft on 3 May.
The case was postponed to 21 August for further investigation.

The accused is being held in custody.

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