Murder convict Manuel Alberto da Silva on Friday spoke about his unstable past that led to the coldblooded murder of his girlfriend and mother of his child on New Year’s Eve 2003.
According to local media reports, da Silva, a former Rundu resident shot his girlfriend several times in the head in Windhoek in 2003.
He was subsequently sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2007.
“My regret is that I hurt the parents and family of my child’s mother. They lost a very loving member of their family. I deliberately deprived my daughter of her mother. She is now 14 years old,” da Silva said at a breakfast meeting on fatherhood organised by the Southern Times newspaper.
Da Silva said his son was also very badly affected by the murder of his mother and subsequent conviction, because he had to grow up with an absent father, just as he (da Silva) grew up without a father.
“I know how it is for a son to be there with no father,” he remarked.
Sharing his story at the meeting that was attended by First Lady Monica Geingos and Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Doreen Sioka, da Silva said when he was growing up his parents were not together.
“We used to move around. Sometimes we were with my father and sometimes with my mother, or some extended family members and friends of my parents,” he said, noting it was a sad and frustrating experience.
He says although his father was financially supportive, he was not present in his life and so he had to depend on himself when he needed a father figure.
“My father was in the army. The last time I saw my father was in 1995. All my secondary school years were a challenge. My uncle was a good support, but certain problems I could not confide in him. I wish my father was there to guide me with my relationship,” da Silva said.
He added that he still has not come to terms with the death of the mother of his daughter. “It’s a very shameful conduct for me to stand here and be pointed out as a murderer. It’s a challenge I haven’t taken well… and it’s a reminder how it affects my family,” said da Silva.
Although he cannot be a fulltime father to his children, da Silva said he makes use of every opportunity to mentor his children to be better people and not to take the route he chose.
He also called on men to not act on something that they know they will regret it later. “Don’t try to regret after the act. Regret before you act. It gives you an opportunity to think rationally.
“Avoid unnecessary arguments, as it only leads to the worst,” da Silva added.
He said couples should always prepare for the worst, so that they handle it in a good way. “You don’t know what will happen. You have to prepare for the worst in order to avoid the unfortunate. Lastly, it is to pray. God is never on holiday and probably you will be afforded the right answers,” he said.
First Lady Geingos spoke with strong emotion on the subject of parenting, saying parents and society have failed children.
Sharing her experience with visiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional facility (formerly the Windhoek Central Prison) Geingos said the majority of people she spoke to were not psychopaths who deserve to be in prison.
“They are people who were failed by society. The perpetrators are us. They are products of our society and they are our fathers,” she said.
She also urged families of convicts to accept and welcome them once they have completed their sentences.
“When they are out of jail we are the first to reject them,” Geingos remarked.