Namibia: Emptiness, Fear Engulf Cheryl's School

A FAMILY'S SORROW ... Avihe Cheryl Ujaha's grandmother, Susanna Kaimu (above left), at the Katutura multi-purpose centre on Friday after the march in memory of her grandchild. Mother of deceased nine- year-old Avihe, Pekakarua Sylvia Kaimu (above right), could not hold back her tears as she watched her daughter's casket being lowered into the grave at the Pionierspark Cemetery in Windhoek on Saturday.
5 September 2018

WINDHOEK - Learners at the Gammams Primary School in Khomasdal are in a grip of fear about their own lives, following the gruesome killing of one their own, Cheryl Avihe Ujaha, during the school holidays.

A gloomy mood engulfed the school hall on Monday with the reopening of the school following the August two-week recess. An emotional principal, Batseba Kaimu-Hengari says learners have been considerably overwhelmed with fear so much THAT nine of them did not show up on opening day. After hearing the tragic news of the murder of fellow, the learners have been overcome by grief, particularly the Grade 3 class, in which Ujaha was, with most having to be consoled by a Life Skills teacher. "It was a difficult situation, but with the assistance of the life skills teacher we managed to console the children," adds Kaimu-Hengari. Learners who normally would wait outside the school premises after school, now remains within the school premises.

A safety talk was given to all learners at the assembly point, where they were told to be vigilant and to always walk in groups. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has availed a counselor who will be at the school from this morning during the memorial service. The counselor will remain available after the service to counsel the learners, who were identified, especially those who were late Ujaha's friends. The duration of her stay at the school will depend on each learner's need, says Kaimu-Hengari.

The memorial service, an initiative by the education ministry, will be held in the school hall, where Ujaha's eulogy will be read by her aunt. Guest speakers will be the Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Lucia Witbooi, and Director of Education for Khomas Region, Gerard Vries. Five other schools within Windhoek have confirmed attendance and will each be having a performance in Ujaha's memory.

Ujaha, whose dismembered body was last week discovered in a riverbed after she went missing from home, was a very smart learner and the class captain. Her absence is felt all over the school and one could feel that when one walked into her class, her chair is empty with what would have been her exercise books for the new semester on her desk. "We were all in tears. She was known to everybody. They know her as the office girl," says the principal, adding that Ujaha was "very smart". "... And the nature of the death itself speaks loudly even if you don't have tears in your eyes to have sorrow in your heart. We are all touched and especially me being the principal and aunt. Avihe is absent and will forever be absent."

2018-09-05 09:23:09 1 hours ago

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