16 November 2018

Namibia: Prisoner Urges Men to Accept Break-Ups

Windhoek — A man serving time at Windhoek Correctional Facility for killing his girlfriend has urged men to amicably accept women's decision to end intimate relationships.

Former teacher Rachimo Haradoeb, 48, said should he have accepted his girlfriend choice that she no longer wanted him, he would not be behind bars.

Haradoeb, from Khorixas, murdered his girlfriend in 1998 while posted as a teacher to the southern part of the country.

He was sentenced to 35 years in 2006.

Haradoeb was amongst speakers at the #BreakFree event at a Windhoek private school. The event is one of First Lady Monica Geingos' projects aimed at addressing violence, including gender-based violence.

"And I am telling you today, if I had accepted [her decision] I would not be where I am today - that's why I am ashamed. I am a professional teacher and went to school in order to impart knowledge to the children," he said.

"This GBV [gender-based violence] doesn't discriminate, you can be a professional, or have qualifications. But if you don't look after yourself or accept your situation, you will end up where I am today. I am urging you, it is painful," said Haradoeb, who added that he was not proud to stand in front of the spectators in his current capacity.

Giving a brief background about himself, Haradoeb said he is third-born of seven children and was raised by a single mother in Khorixas.

He never respected woman while dating them and did what he wanted to do, he conceded. "I make them (woman) fall in love with me and then I proceed to the next one," he shared.

He stated that after completing his tertiary education at University of Namibia (Unam) he was posted to the south when he fell in love with the late woman.

He added that he was 'messing around' with women and telling them lies. That, he said, was what infuriated his girlfriend who then decided to end the relationship.

"And being a man, no woman dumped me. I was the one who dumped them. And this one, out of nowhere, was dumping me. I couldn't accept it and committed this crime," he remarked.

Haradoeb noted with concern that despite strong condemnation against GBV, perpetrators especially men, continue committing the crime. He said men are not learning and continue to commit these violent crimes.

At the same occasion, Haradoeb asked forgiveness for the crime he has committed. "And I am making use of this opportunity asking for forgiveness. Please forgive me. I am sorry for what I have done. The Commissioner General, Raphael Hamunyela, made me live my profession. I am still teaching at the correctional facility. I am a Namcol tutor for Grade 10 and 12," he said.

New Era learnt Haradoeb completed his Bachelor of honours in Education with Unam during 2015 and is currently doing his Master in Education with the same university. He also completed a certificate in local government studies this year.

The father of 11 said he is taking care of his children with his income as an education promoter at the facility.

Similarly, fellow inmate Collin Swartbooi, who spoke at the same occasion, advised people not to be overcome by anger.

Swartbooi murdered a man during 2003, while at a drinking place, following a confrontation between the pair. He is serving 25 years at the facility.

Having been a victim of violence himself, during which he was stabbed three times in separate incidents, Swartbooi had made a decision that he will not allow anyone to touch him again and that he would be the first to react in physical encounters.

During 2003, he woke up one morning after a night of drinking and went to a shebeen to 'fix" his hangover. He said while at the drinking place, he met a guy who later started insulting him. "I got angry and couldn't control my anger anymore. I decided to walk out and went to my father's house, took the gun and went back. I wanted to show off and scare this guy," he told the gathering.

Upon his return to the shebeen, Swaartbooi started threatening the man and a different man approached him, held his arm and started wrestling. It was during this period when a shot went off and shot the guy he was arguing with, he said.

"Because I couldn't control my anger, I couldn't walk away. A young man lost his life. He had a future, which I deeply regret today. Swaartbooi said he was sentenced to prison while his girlfriend was pregnant and his consequences are affecting his daughter today.

"When she come and visit, she asked daddy when are you going out. When she was seven, she asked me what I did to be in prison. I didn't know how to explain to her. It took me a year to prepare myself and tell her."

He advised young people to control their anger and seek help if they have anger issues.

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