13 April 2018

Namibia: Mother Says Slain Daughter Was a Pillar

When police announced the death of Theresia 'Kuna' Pietersen (32) on Tuesday, most people came to know her as the half-naked woman whose body was found along the Western Bypass in Windhoek.

However, to her mother Lucia Pietersen, Theresia was the family pillar and a loving mother of three children, including a one-year-old son who was still breastfeeding.

A passer-by stumbled onto Theresia's body near the University of Namibia's main campus on Tuesday morning, a few hours after she had separated from her friends at a city nightclub.

Security guard Dinyando Tuhemwe (32) was arrested the following day in connection with Theresia's death. Tuhemwe appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court on charges of murder and rape yesterday.

Theresia's mother was only told about her daughter's death on Wednesday. In an interview with The Namibian in Katutura yesterday, Lucia Pietersen said her daughter had died with milk in her breasts, while her son was hungry.

"Where was God when my daughter needed Him?" she asked, adding that she feels as if her heart had been ripped out of her chest.

The mother said Theresia had made sure there was food at home, and her children were well taken care of. She added that Theresia was a peacemaker.

"That man does not realise what he took from this family. He took bread out of these children's mouths," she said, sobbing.

According to the mother, Theresia always asked for permission to go out, and on Monday she did the same before she left.

Before leaving on Monday, Theresia had asked her mother how she looked in the different outfit she was trying on.

She said they usually prayed every time she left home, and that on Monday, they did not do so because it was getting late.

The last time her daughter called home was around 00h30, asking if her mother had her friend's number which she wanted.

"I said no, why? But she said it is OK. I could hear in her voice that something was not right. She did not want me to worry," the distraught mother said, adding that she later prayed, asking God to watch over her.

She said police only informed her about her daughter's death on Wednesday, although her body felt weak the whole of Tuesday, as if showing her through a sign that something was wrong.

Her daughter's phone, she said, was off, and in the evening, there was still no word from her.

"I started crying, and her first-born wiped off my tears, saying 'Ouma don't cry, mommy will come home safe; you see, I am not crying, it means she is alright and will come home'.

Yet, my daughter was lying there with milk in her breast, milk that would have fed her baby," the distraught mother said.

The mother said she could not get herself to go to the mortuary to identify her daughter, although other family members went.

"If I go there, it means she is gone forever. I don't want to erase the last memory I have of her.

The other day I got a vision of her looking sad, naked and lying down. Why, why her?" she asked, adding that the family was struggling to buy a coffin for her.

Theresia's sister, Moedie Vries, said she could not believe that Theresia was gone, and that it would be very hard because she had left a hole in their hearts. Vries said Theresia and their mother slept on the same bed.

Theresia's friend, with whom she was on Monday night, said she did not trust the suspect when she saw him because of a hoodie he had on.

"We were having drinks when he came to us.

We both did not know him. He asked if we could join him. I asked him to remove the hoodie so we could see who we were talking to," the friend, who asked for anonymity, said.

She added that the suspect looked at Theresia, and offered to buy her a beer. Later, Theresia and the suspect left the bar for a smoke outside, the friend said.

"After a few minutes, Theresia came back and said the suspect had invited them for a drink somewhere else. I refused, and begged her to stay since I did not trust the guy because he looked like a thug.

"The last thing she said to me with a smile was 'I will be back now my friend, don't worry', and that was before 00h00. That was the last time I saw my beautiful friend," the friend said.

Magistrate Celma Amadhila denied Tuhemwe bail, and postponed the case to 23 July this year.

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