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Contain Boxing within the Ring - Stop Beating the Women of Namibia

By Ndeulipula Hamutumwa
It is in shock and disbelief that I read the article detailing the physical assault by a sportsman on a woman in a local newspaper this week. The accompanying pictures told their own story of pain, humiliation, dishonor and shame.

Firstly, my dismay stems from the fact that as a sportsman, featherweight Boxer and Namibia's 2007 Sportsman of the Year, Simon 'Balooka' Johannes failed to live up to the strict regime required of him. Sport demands a profound sense of discipline, order and respect.

Secondly, sadness beset me at the thought that a man, who knows that he is purposely trained and skilled in a sport that inflicts pain on another man chose to use that extraordinary strength against a woman. In sport, and elite sport in particular, we demand that there be accountability by our sportsmen and women. We hold them in high esteem and we expect them to conduct themselves accordingly. It is unthinkable that we can accept this conduct as the norm. It is absolutely inexcusable that an elite sportsman can get away with an explanation of any kind for his action in this case.

We, as a nation, have decried violence against women. It goes against everything we have been taught and hold dear. We all have mothers and or sisters, aunts, daughters and nieces. We pride ourselves as looking out for them. We cannot play that role if we are also going to be the perpetrators of violence against them. Besides, violence against anyone physically weaker than you is cause for shame.

I wish to condemn in the strongest terms possible Johannes's display of exceedingly poor judgment, his lack of respect for the two persons he attacked and by the newspaper account, severely injured. Further, Johannes actions showed a lack of respect for the fans and the community that has supported him during his career.

Elite sportsmen and women are hailed as role models. They are credited with influencing the youth and bearing the title of 'sports ambassadors'. By his conduct Johannes has put a blemish on his name and on the sport of boxing. He has marked himself as lacking in discipline, goodwill and respect both for others and for himself.

Should his victim press charges and a criminal conviction follow, Johannes will find his career severely crippled by the fact that many countries will not grant him a visa if he has a criminal record. It is important that athletes remember that in life actions have consequences. For him, the results of this incident might adversely follow him for a long time.

My appeal to all our sportsmen and women is that they conduct themselves in a manner becoming to the principles of respect, friendship and excellence both within their gyms, playing fields or boxing ring and outside of them.

Let discipline be part of your character, not something you put on and take off like your track suit. Let it never be said that but for your character you would have been an admirable person; be that person of character at all times.

Disturbed and Disappointed Sport Administrator


SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura