Unemployed 62-year-old Elizabeth Hoxobes lost her identity documents in a shack fire some years ago.
She lives in dire poverty today, because she simply does not have the necessary identity documents to enable her to receive a government pension grant.
This reporter met Hoxobes in Okahandja Park informal settlement and visited her shack, built out of discarded materials. Part of the roof is covered with canvas bags to substitute for corrugated iron sheets.
Although she lives with her son, she spends most of her time alone, knitting little pieces of material together to keep busy and to keep loneliness at bay. When New Era visited she was knitting a cloth she plans to use to cover her shack to keep out the dust.
Her husband passed away 15 years ago. She pulled something from beneath her pillow and showed this reporter her “other companion” – a Bible.
Hoxobes said her identity documents were destroyed in a shack fire, which makes it difficult to get her monthly pension.
Her sleeping room also serves as a kitchen. Rotten tomatoes, dried onions and used animal fat make up the little food she has.
“I want to get the pension grant so that I can take care of myself,” she said.
Asked what she eats, Hoxobes said: “I drink mageu, but it does not have sugar.” Despite her situation, she believes: “Everything will be fine.”
Hoxobes gets some food from the Bible school she attends in a nearby location. She gets a little maize meal that she uses to make the mageu from.
She showed this reporter a pair of shoes she got from the church after hers were totally worn out.
Hoxobes lives with one of her sons, who is mentally ill. “If there are clouds he doesn’t sleep. He runs around, but the Lord is helping him. His condition is not as bad as it used to be,” she said. She also earns a little money by washing the laundry of people in the community.
Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration spokesperson Sacky Kadhikwa said Hoxobes can approach their regional offices and apply for a duplicate identity document (ID).
Kadhikwa said Hoxobes should take along a police declaration to support her application. He added that if Hoxobes has an old South West Africa ID, she would be interviewed to confirm that she is Namibian.