10 FEATURE Friday, September 29 2017| NEW ERA ‘He told me I have bad spirits’ Selma Ikela Windhoek A 27-year-old woman from Windhoek ended up seeking spiritual healing from a respected pastor after a self-proclaimed traditional to cleanse her of “bad spirits” became excessive and unbearable. The woman, who spent N,100 on an Otjomuise healer, had initially visited the witchdoctor to simply was cheating on her. But she got ensnared with the healer as he told the woman she had “bad spirits” following her and that there was a need to cleanse her. Little did she know this was a strategy to extort money from her. The woman was asked to pay a further N,000 for four cows and a camel to permanently cleanse her of the strong “spirits” which were allegedly sent by a female family member who didn’t want to see her progress in life. However, she had run out of money and informed her sister about the healer’s demands. The healer allegedly explained the “spirits” also didn’t want the woman to get married, to have children and worse, wanted her dead. These spirits would not also allow her relationships to last. The young woman narrated her tale to New Era earlier this week as she accompanied the Namibian Police to an Otjomuise rented home, where they arrested a healer from Tanzania. Two other tenants who had supposedly helped ‘heal’ the woman were not present during the arrest. This is the third time the police arrested foreign nationals operating as fake traditional healers in Windhoek. In all three cases these foreign nationals denied being healers but their cellphone c o n v e r s a t i o n s w i t h potential clients revealed something different. These healers promised clients to return lost lovers, business attraction, job promotions, help with financial problems and resolve premature ejaculation in men. They also have rats that bring clients’ money, among many other claims. The 27-year-old woman, who is furthering her studies, told New Era she met the healer in July this year through a friend who had a cousin going through Dark arts… A female Ugandan healer Jackie Ssematimba operating as Mama Tee with a snake that was found in her healing room. relationship problems. They sought the healer’s services and were allegedly helped. The woman also told New Era she was employed before but she stopped working to upgrade her savings to pay the healer. recalls the healer telling her right away that her boyfriend was unfaithful. However, besides her boyfriend cheating on her she was told she had ‘spirits’ following her, which scared her. At some point the healer told her she needed crocodile blood for which also pointed out that during her consultation a voice of an ancestor told her to purchase a bottle of Johnnie Walker Whisky. also given a small bead to keep that would clear her of the spirits. The healer told her not to lose the bead. Her consultations began when she was given herbs for which she paid N0, to bath with for three days. the healer after three days with some of the water she bathed in. During the second session, the woman and healer sat in a completely the healer taking a pot with a drinking glass placed inside. “He asked me to spit in the pot but I was so scared that I couldn’t produce any saliva.” The healer then told her to pee in the pot. placed the pot on a twoplate stove and started stirring the urine. Through this process the woman was asked to chase back the witches to where they came from. The healer temporarily left the room and returned. “He took the pot off the stove. He also told me to remove all my clothes, Malevolent… Bird claws and animal bones, which are the bad spirits allegedly following the young woman. including the panty and all the jewellery. He opened the pot and there were bones inside. The healer appeared shocked and told me those were the spirits following me. He said that was the bad luck in my life. He added that we have problems but don’t seek help,” she recalls. shivering. The young woman stated that the healer told her he needed to send those spirits to the Kavango River where they came from. “He also said if I don’t want to I can go home with the bones. I told him I was scared, I can’t go home with them.” T h e w o m a n p a i d N,000 for the healer to travel to the Kavango to go throw the “spirits” into the river. This amount included N0 for a goat that represented the woman, and traditional clothes where the spirits were wrapped in, amongst others. After four days, the healer returned and gave the woman a small bead, which he said she shouldn’t lose or tell anyone about. In fact she was also warned not to tell anyone about her visits to the healer. When the healer returned from Kavango he invited the woman back to him and told her the “spirits” were big and that he needed two litres of crocodile blood which cost N,000. The woman also had to pay for the person going to kill the crocodile and for it to be delivered in Windhoek. The woman pointed out that while she sat in the healing room a second person would start chanting and talking out of nowhere, telling her not to be scared as they wanted to help her. Namibian Police Chief Inspector Christina van Dunem Fonsech said the healers would put fellow housemates behind the sheets, which covered the whole room, and they pretended to be ancestors talking to the clients. The healer further d e m a n d e d t h a t t o completely clear the woman of her “spirits” she must pay N,000 for four cows and a camel. At this point the woman told the healer she didn’t have money but she subsequently spoke to her sister and cousins about the healer’s demands and they advised her to go to a pastor for prayers. They also advised her to open a case with the police, which led to the Tanzanian’s arrest. Windhoek psychologist Dr Joab Mudzanapabwe explained that the psychology behind people visiting traditional healers has to do with desperation, as they are trying to get something they are failing to get. “Obviously you probably have tried some conventional ways or basically you are born in that system which normally consult traditional healers,” he stated. He also explained that traditional healers are not new – they are part of the society. “The challenge has to do with an authenticity issue and that nowadays they (healers) are driven by financial gains like many other fields of people. People consult traditional healers because of desperation and they would have lost something they want or are not able to get. They will try to implore whatever systems are at their disposal to get that. It is driven by that and a belief system.” Asked if this can have a traumatising effect on the people who visit healers, Mudzanapabwe said it all depends on the things that have been done to them during their visit, but there’s an element of vulnerability and people are desperate, become suggestable and follow a lot of instruction. Officials from the health ministry were not available for comment on how the pending traditional healer’s Bill would regulate the bogus activities of
FOCUS Edgar Brandt Namibia Post Limited (Nam- Post) this year celebrates its 25th anniversary. During the last 25 years, NamPost had to adapt the advent of the information age. NamPost has, in fact, stayed abreast of the evolution of the digital age and Standard Bank to enable its clients to access the National Payment System. nalist, Edgar Brandt Festus Hangula (FH) evolved to remain relevant in these ever-changing times. NE: With the decline in mail postal services around the world how is NamPost reinventing itself for the digital age? What measures has NamPost put in place to ensure its continuity and relevance for the short-, medium- and long-term? FH: declining. We have been fortunate mail in Namibia has been relatively for a postal company to survive and remain relevant other than diversifying its revenue base. NamPost has realised that need and put in place its core strength — namely, postal infrastructure and logistics capacity. important in this respect are: expan- tion of agency services to use postal infrastructure, and strengthening the logistics component of the business. today. As an example, postal services NamPost has declined from 98 percent in 2009 to 41 percent in 2016. Financial services increased from -1 percent (loss making) in 2009 services increased from 3 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2016. Indeed, reliance on mail as the main driver NE: how has NamPost transitioned from selling postage stamps and facilitating mail services to connecting individual communications around the world, to what is today’s NamPost? FH: Customer preferences are constantly changing and that dictates that NamPost product offering must equally change. NamPost has gone through this process over the past 25 is no longer the case. We fully under- - fact that mail volumes remain strong even though the long-term future is volumes in the region of 100 million pieces per year. Coincidentally, that is the core of the business; namely, mail. of business using technology. Money transfer became instant; NamPost on the roll …Ready for commercial bank status you deposit or request money to Namibia and it is immediately avail- NamPost can facilitate communication via e-mail (send e-statements) or SMS to customer in as much as it can also deliver a physical letter or parcel. Moreover, letters and parcels are thanks to the utilisation of our courier to also deliver mail overnight. For couriers express items, parcels are available overnight and, dependent on the customer needs, delivered to your door. NE: Is Philately still a lucrative business venture for NamPost in this digital era? FH: Well, the Philately market is still exciting for the dedicated stamp collector. Unfortunately, the number of collectors is declining fast. Therefore, this section of the market these days. is struggling. and 119 010 post boxes across the year. How many of these Post Of- funded, and are there plans to cut FH: We are very proud of our postal infrastructure. Indeed, in as much as they contribute to the cost of doing business, they are also one of our most important strategic assets. NamPost is a commercial entity. But it also has an obligation of providing postal is a social obligation. It is from that established or maintained in areas - extension social inclusion. - there is a money-making opportunity to be able to subsidise the provision past 25 years. Therefore, I am pleased to state that during the previous year NE: The 2016 financial report shows a three percent decrease in the number of letters received (versus eight percent increase in letters sent), is this an indication of a stagnation - and eventual decline - in the posting of letters or is it merely a standard trend in the global mail service industry? FH:mibia mail hints at a declining trend established. I most sincerely hope a start of a consistent mail decline. NE: The NamPost Group reported revenue of N.04 billion in 2016, - ous year, while NamPost registered losses of N.5 million, higher than the N.3 million registered in 2015. NamPost’s business side also performed very well, with NamPost’s joint venture with SmartSwitch, NamPost Financial for the year 2016. Going forward, for the year? FH a revenue of N.04 billion but the N.11m and a loss before tax of business it is in. If one looks through labelled “fair value adjustments” cial assets. The assumption made and at the prevailing market prices. there is no real loss — it is merely an accounting treatment to give one get the best feel of the performance of NamPost in 2016, one must adjust the performance by removing the unrealised fair value loss of N.97 since it is not an actual loss. Adjusted for that, it is clear that NamPost, as a challenging year. I am very proud to notice the contribution of the NamPost joint the NamPost subsidiary (PostFin) to - venture and subsidiary as a right ment from the previous year.” NE: What are the major milestones NamPost has achieved during the last 25 years. FH: It has been 25 excitement years; 1995: NamPost computerised its operations and never looked back since then. Today, all 140 NamPost technology is entrenched in NamPost. 2006: NamPost converted the sav- big jump from pen and paper to mouse and clicks. The smartcard technology payment arena in Namibia. When this years ago that the rest of the market started catching up on the idea of introduced biometrics as a means other banking institution in Namibia am sure it is coming — ljust listen on the ground; they have started testing that technology in South Africa. So, 2011: NamPost rebranded and modern but rooted in its tradition. 2015: NamPost significantly revamped its IT infrastructure and stage in the evolution of the smartcard and payment services under NamPost. eration of smartcards and enhanced payment facilities. 2016: NamPost revamped its insurance offering and signed a joint 140 000 individuals primarily at the via NamPost — indeed, a great step In the same year, the revenue of NamPost exceeded the N billion a mere Nm! 2017: NamPost signed a bank Bank to facility NamPost entering the main stream of payment in the Namib- also to all Namibians, as it enhances our ability to further impact or reduce - Assets increased from Nm in 1993 to N.3 billion in 2016. from N.4m in 1993 to N29m dicates that the company has been has been created and accumulated for the shareholder. have 140. in 1993 and today 820 employees. NamPost maintained a fairly high level of employment. Postal Services (SingPost) and Japan Post have ventured into e-commerce, does NamPost have similar plans for self-preservation? FH:nities presented by e-commerce and internet proliferation. Yes, indeed NamPost to use its presence and infrastructure to make all Namibian goods and services from other coun- NE: How has NamPost Savings FH: tremendously. Looking back in 1993, savings bank deposits amounted to Nm. Today, that number has 2016. This is testimony to the fact that Namibians trust NamPost as a safe destination for their investments. It is a strong brand, has the right reputation in handling deposits, and offers competitive services. NE: Are the plans to transform so, what are the timelines on this? FH: Naturally, commercial banking should be the next step for NamPost is no doubt that NamPost is making sion and becoming a commercial for that eventuality. Let me highlight 140 branches, close to N billion in deposits and 820 staff members to run the bank and other operations. It has credit exposure and experience through PostFin its subsidiary, over N0m in capital, over 500 000 customers, and a proven bancassurance model. It also boasts a tried and tested payment infrastructure, good strong trusted brand and the envious list of supportive issues supporting the status of readiness to be a bank goes on. Well, there is very little further investment required from NamPost that bridge is a decision to be made by the shareholder of NamPost or commercial bank as soon as a go ahead cleared.