17 May 2017

Namibia: Former Radio DJ and Poet Remembered

Windhoek — It has been almost a month since the untimely death of local poet and former Unam Radio presenter Lucille Lorraine Fredericks, but her friends are still in shock as to why "this fine human being" had to meet such a terrible and humiliating end.

The body of the late 32-year-old Fredericks was found hanging from a tree in the riverbed behind Engen Service Station near the Horseshoe Market in Katutura one fateful morning in mid-April.

According to police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner Edwin Kanguatjivi, an inquest docket has been opened and police investigations into the matter continue. The police have called on family, friends and the public to come forward with any information that might lead to the arrest of a suspect.

Fredericks was a poet, whose style of writing is said to have been inspired by dreamy, romantic stories, according to former radio jock, youth activist and businessman Vaino 'Lizer' Hangula, who also happens to be Frederick's childhood friend.

Hangula described the late poet as a simple person who cared very little for material things and who concentrated instead on developing personal relationships. Hangula said, apart from having attended the same school as Fredericks, they also lived in the same neighbourhood of Katutura.

He recalls that during their high school days she was known for her deep, warm voice and immaculate command of the English language, "a rare attribute for a Khomasdal coloured girl," Hangula says.

"No doubt her vocabulary was filled with words only poets can utter. I must admit that she opened me up to a lot of words, and occasionally made me get out my dictionary," Hangula adds.

Hangula met Fredericks in 2001 at one of the Teenagers Against Drug Abuse (TADA) meetings at Dawid Bezuidenhoudt High School. They later met at other meetings at the school, such as the History Society, and that was when it dawned on him that they shared common interests

"Slowly we developed a friendship and discovered our mutual love for poetry and writing. We further found common interest in our love for boy bands, the favourite being Backstreet Boys," Hangula reveals.

He further maintains that Fredericks was a favourite among teachers and fellow learners alike, as her captivating personality made her a friend to all and an enemy to none - "there was simply nothing to hate about her".

He says their friendship grew so close that her classmates, like the late music producer, Julius 'Eclipse' Spiegel, thought they were romantically involved.

However, they kept their association strictly as friends, often spending time at her house with her friend Girly Helu, the sister to late footballer Victor Helu. The two friends shared dreams, aspirations and plans for the future.

"She would often call me to talk about her troubles at home. When her younger brother, Eugene, suffered a head injury playing rugby, we hadn't been in touch for years, but I was one of the first people she called. In retrospect, I feel like I was a confidant to her," he says.

In 2006, Lorraine had a stint as presenter on UNAM Radio and had her voice on a jingle on both UNAM Radio and Radio Energy 100FM. Her deep voice had finally been put to work but that only lasted for a short while.

At that point the friends went their separate ways, as they were both plying their trades on competing radio stations, with Vaino at Katutura Community Radio (KCR) (Base FM) and Fredericks at UNAM radio.

"We reconnected again in 2010 when she started seeing my brother. I went to study in Germany in 2011 and when I got back, she had moved out. From then on, we occasionally kept in touch and would meet at family events," Hangula remembers.

While as grown-ups life put the two on different paths Hangula reminisces with fond memories of their initial meeting in 2001; their lives as teenagers and his surprise at her being introduced to him as her brother's romantic conquest, followed by the subsequent birth of his niece.

"It's evident to me now that Lorraine was destined to be a part of my life. She helped me better my writing, she challenged my mind and even labelled me 'The World's Biggest Brains', the title of a poem she wrote for my 18th birthday," he recalls nostalgically.

Ironically, according to Hangula, Fredericks battled with low self-esteem as a teenager, but was quick to add that she had a mysterious side to her that not many could understand.

"She had a view of the world that no one else had. She found peace in her pain, and she always managed to come out stronger," Hangula says.


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