Dementia or Witchcraft?

3 murders in 8 months in 2015 in the Kavango. 

2 of them , both in their 80’s, killed by their grandsons because they were so called wizards and bewitched them.
The third one ( 74) was killed by his neighbor because he bewitched the community according to the accused. I interviewed the community and according to them he had strange behaviors which are related to signs and symptoms of Dementia
The police at both police stations at Mushe and Divundu confirmed to me that murders like these are quite common in the Kavango
The last week or more I am daily troubled by what I have seen and heard and two questions in my mind is keeping me awake at nights:
Can signs and symptoms of dementia be the proof for families that some one among them is a witch/wizard and need to be killed when bad things happens with a family? 
Might it be that people in some communities are victims of one of the most dreadful diseases ( dementia) and simultaneously be a victim of mid evil superstition that still exist in Africa in the 21st century? 
Berrie Holtzhausen


When she saw me the first time , standing next to her bed, she suddenly got frightened and shouted for help…she called me ‘Master ‘and was really very very scared! I left the room and just hope she will calm down and sleep well!

After I left she calm down and when I phoned this morning Auguste told me that she had a good nights rest.

I phoned her daughter today and asked her about her mother’s life history. I said to her: I think your mother is scared of me ,because I am white! What she told me saddened me immensely.

My mother was as a young women a domestic worker in the Namakwaland. Her white masters sometimes took her with them on holiday to look after their children…she was transported , locked up in the boot of the car, to their holiday place. Sometimes never paid her and let her go hungry to bed!

Today she kept on calling me master in a way that saddens me very much! Once when she turned her face to the wall I softly touches her on her arm and said: I love you very much Auntie Marie!

Than she replied: Dankie oupa ( thank you grandfather)! She could hear me but didn’t see me.

I never will be able to replace the reality of apartheid she is living in , because it is and will always be her reality , but I hope I can help her to create ‘ good feelings ‘ about seeing a white man as some one who really care for her!


Namibian Towns going Purple

A couple of towns in Namibia really went purple in September for Alzheimer’s month.

The first one we’ll look at is: Grootfontein in the north of Namibia.

On the 12th September, Grootfontein had its yearly festival and even here they went purple with a Remember Me float!


On the 21st September the Purple Fig Bistro in Grootfontein did their part by selling gorgeous purple cupcakes!


Medi Health Practise of Doctor’s Malan & Botha in Grootfontein also took part in the 2015 Alzheimer’s Day.IMG-20151002-WA0008

The Ladies from the Ester Group in Grootfontein spreading the good news!

Well done Grootfontein! If you live in a Namibian town that went purple, let us know!

Remember Me: Linda White

IMG-20150922-WA0008Linda (far right), her daughter Jana and her sister in law, Janette at the ADN Care Farm

Linda has Dementia with Lewy Body. This is a dementia that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease as they share a lot of similar symptoms.

Linda absolutely loves visitors and to touch them. She used to whistle quite often and even now you can see she still tries to do so.



Remember Me: Elrine Els

Today I want to introduce you to Elrine Els and her family.


The first time I met her daughter, Elmarine, she told me that she and her mother was doing shopping when her mother stopped and looked very frightened. She said she smelled something burning. And asked why Elmarine couldn’t not smell it?!

This is what we call an olfactory hallucination.

Now imagine this; you are an elderly with dementia in an old age home. You smell something burning and you are becoming increasing scared. The nurses lock you in your room until they have time for you. They know you cannot come out because you have forgotten how to open the door!



Remember Me: Chief Petrus

The Story of Chief Petrus

At the end of our research trip (2014 Review – Part 4) we stopped at Okahandja’s Craft market so that Susanne could buy a few souvenirs.

chief petrus & izak

As Susanne ‘shopped’ I told the owner of the stall, Black Jack, who we were and what we did. He immediately said that this sounds like this sounds all too familiar. He called Chief Petrus, who opened these stalls 35 years ago. As we talked to Chief Petrus, I noticed that his right hand made uncontrolled movements and that he licked his lips as he spoke. Unfortunately we could not talk for long as we had to get to Windhoek in time for Susanne’s flight back home.

A few months later I had to meet Michaela Fink from the University in Giessen, in Windhoek. On my return home I stopped in Okahandja and went looking for Black Jack. Having found Black Jack, he introduced me to the Chief’s son, Izak. Izak showed me the Chief’s green card. Here in Namibia a green card is not your ticket to the United States. It is a ‘file’ on which all state hospitals and doctors record prescription medicine etc. Every state patient thus has a green card.

It was no surprise to find that since 2005, Chief Petrus has been on Hadol (Haloperidol). This is the most common drug that the doctors throughout Namibia prescribe to any patient that has the slightest brain dysfunction. To me, this means that Chief Petrus has been chained in chemical chains for nine years! Nine years in which his quality of life has been stolen while people get rich from selling these horrible drugs. Let me explain myself.

Chief Petrus was (and possibly still is) an incredible sculptor. He not only created jobs for thousands by starting the Okahandja Arts & Craft Market, he also sculpted three life size rhinoceroses. One is in Germany, the second at a lodge close to Kimberly (South Africa) and another at Molopo Lodge close to Upington (South Africa).

He was on the brink of receiving a government loan to start-up a massive workshop in Okahandja when a mysterious disease took hold of him. Since then Namibia’s state doctors has been keeping him on a strict diet of Hadol without ever referring him to a specialist. And so this has continued for nine years…

The Result?

Chief Petrus’s right hand shakes so badly that he can hardly work. He is still the Chief, but his dreams and many that he has helped, was destroyed in 2005 with the first prescription of Hadol and irresponsible practise of medicine. People that are seen as poor and useless, they have no right to proper medical attention.

Remember Me: Christo Laubscher

Oom (Uncle) Christo Laubscher is a well known farmer in Namibia. Oom Christo’s wife wrote: ” He lost his interest in farming….'” after 42 years of farming with Christo in Namibia, Annetjie concludes: “… his chair is empty.”


Oom Christo and his dog.


Together with friends and family.


Annatjie and Oom Christo’s beloved dog.

All that is left for this incredible family is a very long and sad goodbye of a father called Christo.