CORRECTION: Villagers dance on the dead at Siyandeya

11 Feb 2015 09:00am

SIYANDEYA, 11 FEB (NAMPA) - The cemetery at the Siyandeya village on the western outskirts of Rundu is now being turned into a ground for various ritual performances.
The ongoings at the cemetery has set tongues wagging amongst the residents here.
The Siyandeya cemetery is situated some five kilometres outside this regional capital, and has been in existence since independence.
It is now being used by some individuals as a ground for healing and cleansing purposes through different traditional methods.
It is suspected that those engaged in it are treating themselves on top of the graves, while others carry out their rituals near the graves.
The healing rituals are performed for various reasons, amongst them as a means of attaining “good luck”.
Nampa investigated the ongoings at the cemetery after community members at the village complained about observing unsightly plastic bowls placed on top of graves at the cemetery.
Most bowls which were abandoned on the graveyards had worn-out clothing wrapped in different herbs and roots, mixed with water.
More than seven buckets containing some unknown herbs and used old clothes could be seen abandoned on top of the graves after being used.
Some graves which do not have tombstones were observed with human footprints, an indication that somebody must have climbed on top of them.
Some concerned community members who refused to be named are questioning the motives behind such activities.
Although no official confirmation could be obtained for the reason behind the ritual healing at the cemetery, the developments have raised the eyebrows of most community members.
Some villagers told this agency that they are scared to visit the cemetery because they are worried that they might contract some unknown sickness, should they come into contact with those herbs and bowls.
Other concerned villagers called on those engaging in such practices to respect the dead by not playing on top of the graves.
Others urged the unknown individuals to instead use bushes to perform their rituals.
It has not been established whether the practice is being done by traditional healers within the area, as most of those contacted by this agency refused to comment or be named in the story.
“We don’t know what the meaning of all those buckets containing herbs on top of the graves means, and we are scared and worried,” said one of the teachers at the Kasote Combined School, who refused to be identified.
The headman of the said village, Abraham Ndonga, was equally shocked to hear that the graveyard is being used as a ritual ground.
The Siyandeya village headman, who is also heading several other villages surrounding the area, said he will soon convene a meeting with inhabitants of the area to inform them about the developments.
In the meantime, he urged those engaging in such practices to refrain from using the cemetery as a playing ground for their rituals.
Ndonga warned those engaged in it to stop with immediate effect, and cautioned them that once found, they would be brought before a traditional court.
He said cemeteries should be respected as it is where people’s loved ones get their everlasting rest.
The cemetery does not have a fence, and some villagers thus proposed that a fence be constructed around it to stop anyone from accessing the inside of the graveyard as they wished.
The Rundu Town Council’s Public Relations’ Officer, Benjamin Makayi told Nampa on Wednesday that the council cannot set up a fence as they did with other cemeteries around the town because Siyandeya does fall under the jurisdiction of the town.