The dastardly phenomenon of ‘passion killing’ has gripped the Namibian imagination of late. This contemptible form of killing is undoubtedly an extreme version of gender-based violence.
It is often also referred to as intimate partner homicide, which is probably a better characteris.
A ‘crime of passion’ is usually acted out with impulsiveness and a lack of reasonable reflection but ‘passion killing’ contains a clear element of being a planned and premeditated crime.
If anything, this violent crime seems to be not so much about passion as about patriarchy and power. So perhaps this type of homicide should rather be referred to as ‘patriarchal killing’ or ‘power killing’ in order for the nation to properly contextualise the discussion and the possible interventions. The country will not make any progress in countering this horrific crime if it is approached as a private or personal issue, instead of viewing it as a national problem and, indeed, a social crisis. Such violent crime is always a reflection of social instability.
‘Passion’ killing in Namibia seems to be based on the notion of male authority and male power, i.e. that somehow the needs of men are more important and that men should be in control. At the same time, the sexist argument states women should be treated as appendages of men and should be under the guardianship of men. Men are supposed to demonstrate their alleged power over women. So patriarchy seems to be at the root of these killings.
What is greatly disconcerting about the present national debate on ‘passion killings’ is that the victim appears to be blamed when it is highlighted that the male paid for her studies, rent, etc. There is a self-righteous tone to these views. However, willingly giving each other financial or material support is or should be acceptable in an intimate relationship. The man has the right to refuse to give financial support to his girl-friend or could terminate the relationship at any time if he feels so misused. Yet, under no circumstance does the male have the right to even slap his girl-friend - let alone to take her life - because she exercised her right to want to end an unhealthy relationship. It is vital that Namibians stop the cynical reasoning that faults the victim for such a terrible deed. Nothing can ever justify the killing of another human being!
Namibia should face the sad reality that the country is known as having the highest level of income inequality in the world and that this undoubtedly must spill over into everyday relationships. As social inequality increases, so does competition for social status, so does relationship inequality and so can violent crimes. Homicides and assaults are very closely associated with income inequality. So social inequality is another crucial reality to consider in debating ‘passion’ killings.
Research indicates that thirty-one percent of Namibian women in urban areas report physical violence from a partner at some point in their lives. Now just imagine how much higher that percentage must be in the rural areas of the country. Incidentally, the people of Botswana have been struggling with this very same phenomenon for several years as well. So there are probably no quick-fix solutions to the multifaceted and endemic violence.
The barbaric death-penalty is most certainly not a solution; it would take us back to the Dark Ages. In fact, Namibia should start to honestly address its polecat status as a rich nation with the highest income inequality. This is the fundamental cause of the violent crime. What is certain, nevertheless, is that this country urgently requires a campaign to highlight gender equality in intimate relationships. Instead of hosting another costly conference, the nation should rather use those precious resources for an effective awareness-raising programme. Namibians should learn to practice democracy in everyday relationships. It is high time to seriously take on patriarchy!
*courtesy of Stop Passion Killing Facebook page
They dared love, died
6 Jun 2012
Twenty-one year old Elizabeth Ekandjo was strangled to death with a tie by her 29-year old ex-boyfriend who broke into her Khomasdal room at midnight.
Elizabeth, a third-year Polytechnic Information Technology, who was on attachment at Telecom, was killed in the presence of her roommate.
14 Oct 2012
Meisie Goaxes, 35, was badly burnt when her ex-boyfriend set the farm house she was sleeping in on fire at Ibenstein Farm in Dordabis.
The incident happened just after midnight after breaking up with the man whom she had gone out with for eight years.
20 Sep 2012
A mother of four, 35-year old Tangi Nanguka Martin of Epuku Village in the Ohangwena Region was killed by her husband and long time partner who is also the father of her children.
Tangi was killed when she had taken a protection order against her husband who killed her with a panga in front of their children aged 16, 14, 13 and 8 years.
19 Jul 2012
Eighteen year old Grade 9 Oshikuku Combined School pupil, Letitia Ndeshuulilwe Nghilongwa was shot to death by a 20-year old security guard she had jilted.
Letitia was shot while sleeping with her new boyfriend at Omulamba location at Omusati around 03h30.
29 Jun 2012
A Ministry of Home Affairs officer, Selma Lyetufila Eita (35) was shot dead by her Namibia Defence Force boyfriend who travelled 600 km from Windhoek to Okahao in Omusati Region.
Selma had tried unsuccessful to split from the man who also shot himself dead after shooting her. At the time of the shooting, Selma was dating another NDF member who worked with the man she was trying to dump.
11 Oct 2012
Anna-Marie Nowases, 48, from Aand Rus village in the Tsaka area, situated 60 kilometres west of Gobabis in the Omaheke Region was stabbed five times to death by her live-in boyfriend and father of her children who also committed suicide.
11 Oct 2012
Angeline Dausas, 23, from Okombahe in Omaruru was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend who had seen her walking home from the shop with her new boyfriend.
22 Jul 2012
Twenty-two year old Frieda Shikongo from Iikuku Village died when her boyfriend slit her throat and locked her lifeless body in his rented shack at Okandjengedi in the Oshana Region.
The killer sent an SMS to his landlord telling them about the murder. The landlord broke the door and found Frieda’s body lying in a pool of blood.
27 Jul 2012
The same man who killed Frieda Shikongo at Okandjengedi on 22 July stabbed Basilia Shikesho 20 times a day later. Basilia’s body was found two days later in her grandparents’ field in Okau-kamasheshe village in the Oshana Region. The body was found after the suspect had confessed the murder and telling the police where the body was.
The suspect hitchhiked to Okau-kamasheshe to kill Basilia soon after killing Frieda in Okandjengedi. His attempt to commit suicide by taking an overdose of pills failed.
10 Nov 2012
Melanie Booysen, 20, died when her 21-year old boyfriend who is also the father of her four-year old daughter slit her throat with a broken bottle at their child’s birthday party in Golgotha, Katutura. The murder happened in full of the people who had come to celebrate and the couple’s daughter.
15 Feb 2012
Melody Monde Mbololwa, 36, died after her boyfriend stabbed her nine times at Mavuluma Extension Two at Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi Region. She had fled their home and taken shelter with friends and was killed when she returned home in the morning.
28 Oct 2012
A mother and her two-year-old son survived a shooting by the boy’s father who also killed a shebeen queen before turning the gun at himself in Gobabis.
01 Feb 2012
Thirty-year old Fransina Ndinelago Amuteka died when she was stabbed nine times and had her throat slit by her boyfriend at Ondukutu Village near Ondangwa.
The boyfriend also stabbed two Amuteka’s grandmother and cousin. He was demanding that Amuteka return their three-year old daughter.
23 Nov 2012
Martha Nakale, 32, of Walvis Bay was found dead at the town’s dumping site. Her boyfriend was arrested for the murder. Nakale has previously reported the boyfriend for assault but she would withdraw the case. She was bludgeoned with a iron rod and she leave s a six-year old son.
25 Sep 2012
Petrus Hamunyela, 31, from Torra Bay, west of Khorixas, killed his 30-year old girlfriend Penehafo Johannes by cutting her throat after he had also slashed and slit her married lover, 49-year-old Jonnas Johnson Demuenda to death with a panga.
The murder’s attempt to commit suicide failed.
27 May 2012
Five-month pregnant, Susan Tjipetekera, 27, of Havana informal settlement in Windhoek died when her boyfriend ordered her to cut and burn herself.
Susan, who died at Katutura State Hospital, was murdered for refusing to give the boyfriend transport money.
21 Nov 2012
Maria Shitongeni, 36, of Omuhuzi village near Ondangwa was strangled to death by her boyfriend and her body dumped in a mahangu field where it was found on 20 November at Otuwala village.
26 Sep 2012
Patricia Hango, 23, was shot five times by her 42-year old boyfriend in broad daylight outside her workplace in Katutura.
The boyfriend also shot himself.