Enough is Enough, Say San

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By Surihe Gaomas Gobabis Members of the San community at Skoonheid plan to stage a peaceful demonstration at Farm Finale in the Omaheke region to voice their grievance following the deaths of three of their members after reportedly drinking some home brew. But giving a different version, members of the San community here say the people died under mysterious circumstances after eating and drinking leftover food from a party held the previous day. “Enough is enough,” said the San people at a fully packed meeting at Skoonheid yesterday. Last week, Anna Geel-booi, Kora Dam and Sofia Geelbooi passed away after they apparently drank a poison-laced home brew at Farm Finale in the Stein-hausen Constituency. “Our home brew never killed anyone before, so there must be something seriously wrong with what happened there. Why did these people die,” asked one elderly man raising his walking stick in the air. This is the second time that something like this has happened at Farm Finale. In 2000, seven people died after drinking a home brew laced with a swimming pool cleaning agent. Reports say that the three women died after a lethal yellowish acid used for cleaning the heads of hunting trophies was placed in a bottle of brandy. The substance was apparently poured into the home brew to make it more potent. When this reporter arrived at the meeting at Skoonheid, a crowd of employees from Farm Finale was present. They claimed that they feared for their lives. “We don’t want to stay there anymore. We need help because these are our mothers and sisters who died.” New Era also learnt that one of the deceased women was pregnant, while the other two leave behind a number of children apart from bereaved family members. Lying on the lap of her relative, Martha Amses, the only survivor of the ordeal said that she unknowingly drank the poisoned home brew. “I was just given,” said the young woman who has been in and out of hospital since the incident happened. The local farmers of the Skoonheid district led by Simon Mbako, Sindi Haraes and Emma Mbako chaired yesterday’s meeting. They said for a long time, the San community has not been made aware of their human rights. “People must speak up and know their rights, otherwise they will forever be exploited. Just look at what happened at Farm Finale,” said Emma Mbako. The community called for an intensive police investigation into the latest incident as a previous case six years ago did not receive sufficient attention. “We want the police together with government to come and look at our situation here on the ground,” added another elderly man. Meanwhile, Councillor of the Steinhausen Constituency, Deputy Minister of Fisheries Kilus Nguvauva who is currently in the area is set to meet the concerned San people working at Farm Finale today to hear more about their working conditions. Earlier yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila rounded off her San Project assessment of the Omaheke Region before moving on to the Kunene Region. The Deputy Premier was in the area to encourage San communities to come up with proposals for income-generating projects. Police investigations into the deaths are continuing and a forensic report is to be compiled.

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