Namibia: 'Stop the Violence!'

MTC's gender-based violence awareness Knockout Project is a commendable initiative, however a violent sport was possibly not the best avenue to educate the nation about the perils of GBV, advised human-rights activist Rosa Namises.

While applauding the initiative, Namises said GBV "must be declared a state of emergency" and that violence must be strongly discouraged.

The reigning chief of the /Khomanin people made the call on Saturday night at Windhoek Country Club where several prominent personalities slugged it out in exhibition boxing bouts.

MTC declared the event, centred at rousing dialogue around gender-based violence, with proceeds going towards supporting programmes that deal with the prevalent social scourge in Namibia, a resounding success.

"I was talking with survivors [of BGV) and they were telling me that we need to remove the mask. The knockout programme is beautiful but we need to put the down the gloves, to hang them up so that they [victims] don't get reminded by the street fights that say beat, beat and beat. We need to say stop, stop, stop," Namises said.

"The president has the power as head of state to address this situation. There is no justification at all for any man to kill a woman, or in fact any one to take the life of another person," she added.

Her assessment mirrored dithering public sentiment towards the event which saw Mufaro Nesongano and Johny Johnson Doëseb knocked out cold during the opening and final bouts.

However, MTC spokesperson believes the project met its objective regardless of objections in some quarters.

Despite its violent nature, boxing, the second best supported sport code in the country, was an appropriate medium for the project, he argued.

"It was never about boxing. It was about raising awareness on a matter so serious that as corporates, individual citizens, actors and players in the GBV space needed to have done something unique and different to bring about a point and a new direction and change," Ekandjo said in a statement on Sunday.

"In an often divided world, sport is a unique and important connective tissue that can bind people together to take collective action against social ills such as gender-based violence," he continued.

"Seeing the venue packed with Namibians from all walks of life and society, was the ultimate setting to send through a message of hope, message of love and continuous preaching that as a society we should not condone violence against the weak and vulnerable," Ekandjo said.

While there was strong opposition to the event on social media, those who were part of the sell-out attendance felt otherwise.

"It's a very good initiative, MTC is a trailblazer. The masses came out but next time they should get a bigger venue," said 25-year-old Paulina Shonghela.

Similarly, Hendrick Samuel (19) hailed the three-round one-minuted bouts and the message delivered on the night supported by NASRIA, Bank of Namibia, Metropolitan, Social Security Commission, MVA Fund, Standard Bank, Namdia, Erongo Marine Enterprise, National Housing Enterprise.

"It's exciting. Lovely. GB is getting out of hand. It's been entertaining and we expect to see more events to stop GBV," Samuel said.

Barring former boxer Sam Shivute, who floored radio announcer and MC Max T in a one-side one round affair, the celebrities were new to the ring and it showed with many giving a comical impersonation of the sport.

Lightweight Mapps Kapofi set the tone when he ruthlessly sent Nesongano sprawling to the canvas in the card opener, while Theo Ishuna outpointed Jossy Joss in a heavyweight contest.

Then, Hikwa star Sunny Boy got the better of DJ Cheeze on points in a light heavyweight bout before Amos Kambonde landed a series of heavy punches to gospel singer D Naff in the first round which the ref stopped but the judges inexplicably ruled the result a no-contest.

Youthful multi-entertainers Paul da Prince and KP Illest's timid encounter ended in a draw, as Dokkies Schmidt and Paul Shipanga also registered a draw while another heavyweight clash.

Tate Buti looked like a fish out of water when facing the hulking Michael Vermuelen in a super heavyweight showdown and after two knockdowns, the referee came to the musician's aid, ending the contest in its infancy.

That set the tone for an epic climax, as politician Job Amupanda, sporting the moniker The Mayor in reference to his Windhoek town council aspirations, delivered a show-stopping knockout in the main bout against businessman 'JJD' Doéseb inside a minute.

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