Attorney-General Sacky Shanghala says the number of shebeens in Namibia is disproportionate to the country’s population, and hammered home his point by referring to Katutura’s shebeen-infested Eveline Street as a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah.
Shanghala made the remarks last week in the National Assembly when contributing to the debate on the motion by DTA MP Jennifer van den Heever on the possible avenues to curtail the upsurge in domestic violence and gender-based violence (GBV) in Namibia.
Shanghala raised the concern that the mushrooming of shebeens needs to be urgently controlled as the situation is worsening, taking into account that almost every second house has a shebeen, especially in Eveline Street in Katutura’s Greenwell Matongo area.
“There is a need for inspection and to see how many shebeens you will find per household. Now Eveline Street is the Sodom and Gomorrah of today,” Shanghala said.
“From the beginning to the end, there are shebeens among houses. I wonder what we are doing for children who are exposed to this type of lifestyle. I think we owe ourselves the honest truth, we are the ones – especially black people – who are to lose the most if we do not focus ourselves to do the right thing.”
Van den Heever motivated her motion by saying that the number of women and children affected by GBV is significantly more than men.
Statistics show that within six months during 2015, 300 children were sexually violated, mostly by men.
She said it’s high time Namibians sought to restore the dignity of women and children since they need to trust that society values them and will respect their dignity and humanity.
Lands minister Uutoni Nuyoma agreed with Shanghala that shebeens breed GBV.
“Growing up in the old location (Katutura), gender-based violence was not so rampant and rife. There was mutual respect. We went into exile and when we came back we realised there were shebeens created deliberately by the apartheid regime all over the country,” he remarked.
“They started in the north where the war was waged from and now they are in every house. Those are some of the causes,” he said.
Shanghala said there is a generational shift away from the type of “education our parents received, education we received and one given to our children”.
He also said there are women who entertain violence, as some believe if their husbands or boyfriends do not beat them up then they do not love them.
“As a research back then, we were told by a woman at a village outside Oshigambo that ‘I need my husband to beat me now and then’,” Shanghala said.
“We were shocked and asked her why, and she said ‘at least if he hits me, he will come back showing love and affection and I miss that as he is old now.’ Sometimes it’s misunderstandings engraved as normal but they are not normal,” Shanghala said. The motion was referred to the standing committee on gender equality, social development and family affairs.