Namibia: Public Opens Hearts to Plant-Selling Pupil

14 September 2020

Good Samaritans responded to the plight of a Grade 11 pupil at Mariental who started selling plants to raise funds for his mother's funeral last week.

Jerry de Wee, a pupil at Mariental High School, and his siblings were able to give their mother a decent burial on Saturday at the town following donations from the public amounting to N$16 000.

The Namibian published De Wee's story last week, reporting that he took to the streets to sell plants to help pay for his mother's funeral following her death on 27 August after a long illness.

De Wee's plight attracted good Samaritans in Namibia and across its borders.

"I did not expect this at all. People even called from Botswana - and Canada. The funeral was blessed and I am so happy that we could give our mother a proper burial.

"I was a bit worried as the days were moving fast and we did not have enough money for the funeral. Since the story was published, everybody assisted in any way they could," De Wee says.

Apart from public funding, some good Samaritans sent groceries. The family was also given two sheep to feed mourners.

"We feel so loved. People really came to the funeral in numbers, although we made sure Covid-19 regulations were followed. People came to see us in smaller groups and there were masks and sanitisers, water and a registry. The graveyard is big and people really stood far from each other. It was emotional and we will miss our mother, but we really felt supported," he says.

Family and community members praised De Wee and his siblings for their dedication to their late mother.

The siblings' grandmother, Agnes de Wee (62), says she is proud of the children for making the effort to give their mother a decent funeral as the family lacks funds.

"I am proud of my grandchildren. Look at what they did on their own for their mother - even though there was no money. Bless the name of the Lord, and may God bless all who assisted," the grandmother says.

Brenda Rooi, leader of the church choir De Wee is part of, helped arrange the funeral and is grateful for the public's donations.

"It was overwhelmingly beautiful to witness the love of Namibians and foreigners. We are blessed with people who have big hearts. Some people even pledged they would continue to support the family for a few more months, especially the children, who are still in school. The office of the governor and social services should especially be applauded. They have been there since the beginning," she says.

Although the children miss their mother, De Wee says he is determined to continue supporting his family.

"There is a bit of money left. I am planning to add two rooms to our two bedroom house so that we can be a bit more comfortable. I will also build a small structure to use as a tuck shop where I can sell things to sustain the family. I want to be a business person when I finish my studies," he says.

De Wee's younger siblings are in pre-school, and Grades 5 and 10, respectively.

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