New Era (Windhoek)

16 November 2012

Namibia: Infanticide Becomes Fashionable

column

ONE can almost be sure that at least one case of a baby gruesomely tortured and mercilessly left to die in a bush or toilet would be reported in Namibia.

This year we have read horror stories of how mothers committed intolerable acts to get rid of newborn babies.

I was disheartened this week when I heard through the media that a young woman killed her newborn baby at the coast.

I was equally saddened when a baby girl estimated to be a one-week old was found at a construction site covered in a cement bag in Dorado Park, in Windhoek.

Fortunately, the baby girl survived albeit severely dehydrated.

I cannot comprehend how a woman would gruesomely get rid of a baby and in extreme cases murder a baby that she carried in her womb for nine months. I am not sure if post-natal depression can be attributed to baby dumping but whatever the reasons are, such behaviour can never be condoned.

A recent explanation on why an Oshakati woman recently dumped her newborn son in a pit latrine was that he ex-partner allegedly proposed to marry her. She apparently did not reveal to him that she was expecting a child - from a different man.

A common justification why women dump their children is their failed relationships, but this should in no manner be a reason to dump an innocent soul in a pit latrine, toilet or a nearby bush.

In as much as the baby belongs to the man who defiled or dumped you, that baby is equally yours and dumping the baby because you were dumped does not make you any better than the one who dumped you. The way forward should rather explore means to live with the baby and still care for it or alternatively explore safer options to give the baby away.

To start with, there are so many women and men praying and trying to have babies yet they are unable to due to medical reasons, for example.

There are shelters that delight in embracing 'unwanted' children.

History has shown that children who were conceived in difficult situations, or whose parents or grandparents single-handedly suffered in caring for rejected children always managed to live fulfilling lives in the end.

However, they have battled with the emotional pain that comes with rejection.

An example is Kirk Franklin, an American gospel artist, who was adopted at the age of four.

His father abandoned his family while his mother constantly told him that he was unwanted.

However, today he is a renowned gospel artist not only in the U.S. but worldwide.

His story is not the only success tale of how vulnerable children actually live meaningful lives.

Sadly, there are also tales of many neglected children who are living wasted lives because of rejection.

In as much as a father has an important role to play in the lives of his children, my encouragement to single mothers is that they should not use that as a reason to dump their children.

Instead of being bitter about a failed relationship they should seek positive solutions from those very negative situations.

Women should learn not to depend on men, whether emotionally or financially - they should stand up and make something positive out of their lives and those of their children.

If you disagree with that, another solution is to give up that baby you do not want for adoption. Instead of letting anger and frustration take over your life, rather seek professional help and see what other alternatives there are because that child that you want to torment and leave to die a gruesome death is a gift from God.

That child you want to throw away could just be another Frank Fredericks, Johanna Benson or perhaps Albert Einstein. Eewa.

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