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Dark underbelly of social media exposed

Dark underbelly of social media exposed

Niël Terblanché


A MALICIOUS rumour with a sensational undercurrent of blatant racism on social media backfired after Walvis Bay residents exposed the nature of Namibians who always help each other in face of adversity in the real world.


Social media abuse in Namibia reached its lowest point during the holiday season after a struggling single mother was torn to pieces with insults and another family had to endure the trauma of hearing that their father died as a result of COVID-19.


Cathleen Nel was subjected to some of the worst abuse by commentators that take comfort in the feeling of anonymity and perceived freedom to criticise without any respite on social media.


The vicious rumour had it that her son was offered for sale by drug addicts in Walvis Bay.


CLEARING HER NAME: Cathleen Nel, a struggling single mother, tells her side of the story.


The fact that a little white boy is cared for by a black daycare mother in Kuisebmond was conveniently overlooked because the situation did not fit the norm and offered a golden opportunity for the sensation seeker to focus attention on him or herself.


The rumour mill kicked into overdrive and a struggling single mother now has to live with the unwarranted attention of law enforcement and other authorities.


The rumour of a child that was kidnapped and on the point of being traded for drugs, was started by a person who took a picture of a young black woman with a little white boy in her arms at a house in Kuisebmond.


The story went even further. It suddenly had a hero that wrestled the little boy out of the grip of deranged drug addicts. The Good Samaritan then allegedly delivered the child into the hands of officers on duty at the Kuisbemond Police Station


The blatant lie spread like wildfire across Namibia on social media platforms.


People from all walks of life berated and belittled the mother, who had no idea that a drama was playing out on social media.


Cathleen Nel, who lives in a garage and who struggles daily to put food on the table for her little boy by working a low paid job at a well-known old age home in the centre of Walvis Bay, made a video of her own to make the truth known.


She states that she rushed to the police station only to find out that her child was never delivered there. She rushed to the home of the woman that takes care of her child while she is at work only to find him happy and unharmed in her arms.


The daycare mother was equally unaware of what transpired since the person that walked past her home, took the photograph of her and the little boy in her arms.


Since Cathleen’s own video, in which she tells her side of the story while her little boy plays happily by her side, started doing the rounds various charitable organisations jumped in to help the struggling single mother.


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