Namibia: Boy Kills Himself After Arguing With Mother

13 December 2018

BENJAMEN Shatumbu (13) would retreat to his room and cover himself with a blanket whenever his mother rebuked him.

Yesterday, however, instead of covering himself with his blanket, Benjamen hanged himself in his mother's shack in the Havana informal settlement in Windhoek.

Benjamen's mother, Kristofina Sheya (39), found the teenager hanging in their shack after she had asked him about missing chips that were supposed to have been sold.

The boy, who was a pupil at the Olof Palme Primary School, used his belt to hang himself.

When The Namibian arrived at the home, a crowd had already gathered, and the police were carrying out Benjamen's body which was covered with a white sheet into a vehicle to transport it to the morgue.

Sheya sobbed when the police took the body out, and could not talk for a while because of shock.

When she regained her strength, Sheya said Benjamen always had a short temper. When he was in Grade 3, he had even attempted to hang himself, but she found him on time before he put the noose around his neck.

Narrating the events before her son killed himself, Sheya said she returned from Wanaheda, and found packets of chips missing from the house.

She then asked Benjamen what had happened to the chips because the container was almost empty, but there was no money to show that her son had sold them.

Sheya said Benjamen said he did not know what happened to the chips.

"He answered in an angry tone, and I asked him if he was angry at me. When he screamed at me, I gave him a slap," the mother explained.

According to her, she also asked him if they had cooked, and Benjamen said he had, but there were some beans from the neighbours.

"I asked him to go and pack dishes in the kitchen. He refused, started crying and went to his room.

"That is what he would usually do, so I went outside to take a nap on the mattress I had asked him to bring out for me," she added.

Sheya said her nap did not take longer than an hour because a neighbour woke her up, and asked why the whole household was sleeping.

"I explained that I was tired and resting a bit, but that Benjamen must be inside. When his friends came to look for him, I called him, and he did not reply. I asked his three-year-old brother to go and call him. The brother refused, and said he was sleeping. I stood up and went inside myself. I was shocked when I found him hanging. I grabbed him to see if he was still alive, but nothing," she said.

The boy's father, Daniel Iilonga Shatumbu, who rushed to the house when he heard about the news, said he and Benjamen were scheduled to travel to the north on 21 December.

He, however, could not give much detail, saying he still needed to go to the mortuary and confirm that it was his son who had taken his own life.

His older sister, Petina Matsi (22) with tears rolling down her cheeks, said: "I don't have words for it. He woke up fine, and with no complaints. He even went to fetch water. So, we didn't pick up any complaints. Why would he do something like that?"

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