2 March 2006

Namibia: Ondonga Leaders Visit 'Demon' School

Windhoek — THE King of Ondonga, Immanuel Kauluma Elifas, on Monday sent a delegation from his Traditional Council to Ombalayamumbwenge village near Oshigambo in the Ohangwena Region to meet residents and study the phenomenon of fainting children who claim they are terrorised by 'demons'.

However, before the meeting could start, children who gathered with their parents and teachers under a tree at the school started screaming and fainting.

When they got up again, they started attacking parents and fellow students.

"We cannot have a meeting under such conditions and we have to go back to report to the King what we have seen.

This is terrible ...

no one can believe this.

This is terrible," said the Chairman of the Ondonga Traditional Authority, Senior Traditional Councillor Peter Kauluma.

The delegation then met behind closed doors with the School Committee and were briefed on the situation by the acting school principal, Magnaem Shiimi.

The meeting was also attended by the suspended principal, Helana Makili.

She was suspended by the Regional Education Director, Josia Udjombala, for allegedly allowing disorder - not being able to stop the fainting spells - at the school.

Spiritual leaders from the Body of Christ Church, led by pastor Isidor Mundla, are now at Mumbwenge Combined School, praying for the children.

Many parents were disappointed with the delegation's visit.

"We thought they, as traditional leaders, would have brought something traditional to fight the demons traditionally, but they came empty handed.

They are not traditionally armed as we thought they would be when they come to visit this place overpowered by the demons," one resident said.

"We know there are strong people in traditional matters, sciences in the Ondonga traditional community, and we thought the King would send those people to Ombalayamumbwenge village to fight these demons.

"We have given up hope because our children still continue seeing supernatural beings and start screaming and fainting during classes and also at their homes," said Sylvia Johannes.

"They haven't come to solve the problem, but rather to make it bigger.

How can you expect from a traditional leader to come to assist you in traditional matters, but he comes empty handed?" Johannes said.

The Education Director said he had asked the Oshakati State Hospital to send psychologists to the school.

Earlier, Udjombala said the situation had improved slightly.

However, everybody who was at the school on Monday felt the situation had not changed.

Copyright © 2006 The Namibian. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.