Windhoek-The Namibian police found a 48-year-old homeless man sleeping at a culvert in a freezing riverbed early on Saturday morning.
Gotlieb Lukas Kakweno had been living in the riverbed between the Single Quarters and Khomasdal for about two months, as he could no longer afford to pay the rent of N$700 demanded by his landlord.
The police were alerted to his plight by a member of the Women and Men Against Crime group from the Single Quarters. Kakweno struggled to keep the cold at bay, as he covered himself with only a thin mattress, which he was supposed to sleep on, and a bed sheet. He was shivering as he responded to police questions as to how he ended up living in that riverbed.
Asked if he felt the cold, the homeless man replied: “I’m getting cold. This is what I cover myself with,” he said pointing to the mattress, while coughing intermittently.
Kakweno had resorted to sleeping in the riverbed after he was discharged from hospital and could no longer afford the rent of N$700.
“I was employed by a cleaning service, sweeping roads, but I got admitted to hospital and when I was discharged I went to the place I was renting, but the landlord refused to give my corrugated iron sheets, which I erected in his yard because I owed him money,” he explained.
He does not have relatives in Windhoek and both his parents who lived in the north are deceased. Thus, with nowhere to go, Kakweno resorted to the riverbed.
Members of the Women and Men Network, who know Kakweno, learned about his plight and in turn alerted Nampol Khomas Community Affairs Inspector Christina van Dunem Fonsech.
Fonsech and her team removed the man from the riverbed with the intention of paying the outstanding N$700 and finding a place to accommodate him.
The only food the man had recently was that given to him by members of the Women and Men Network Against Crime, he said.