A Windhoek babysitter appeared in court on Friday on a charge of child abuse after she allegedly mistreated two boys, one of whom she locked in a cupboard.
The three-year-old boy was allegedly locked inside the cupboard and came out weak and sickly. The nanny, identified as Hilma Shaningwa, was last week denied bail. Her next court appearance is on September 27.
A member of a local church, Hilma Shaningwa, who refers to herself as “a prophet”, is charged with child abuse under the Domestic Violence Act.
The mother of the boys, a lecturer, faces investigations too, according to Nampol Inspector Christina Fonsech of Khomas Police Regional Community Affairs division.
It is alleged both women beat the boys, aged three and six, shout at them and force them to worship at their Hochland Park home. It is also said the nanny and mother of the boys attend the same church and call each other “spiritual sisters”.
New Era was informed that a teacher and therapist from the eldest boy’s school indicated there have been days he went to school without food and when they called the mother she responded that she withheld food as a form of punishment.
All this came to light when the boys’ father, who is separated from the mother and lives out of town, approached the police and told them he has been denied the right to visit his children.
The father was accompanied by the police to the house and when they arrived there the youngest child was nowhere to be found. When questions about the boy’s whereabouts were asked the nanny claimed and tried to convince them God took the boy away, but the police would have none of that.
The police searched the house but did not find the boy and left with the nanny to the police station. The police and social worker then went to fetch the older boy from school, who confirmed the abuse and showed them the marks he had on his back after being beaten by the nanny.
Fonsech said the police contacted the mother about the missing child, but she appeared not to be bothered that “the Lord had taken her son”. She said her son would return, according to God’s will, Fonsech remarked.
The police and nanny later drove home and she went to her room and called out the boy’s name and he emerged from the cupboard. Fonsech said when they asked the boy who had put him in the cupboard he said it was the nanny.
In her defense, the nanny said a demon had taken over the boy and that God had told her to put the boy in the cupboard. The boys have since been placed in the custody and care of their father.