Namibia
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‘I literally went numb from the waist down’

“I was terrified and literally paralysed by fear. I mean, I have never seen a kudu in an office building before.”

These were the words of an utterly surprised Rebecca Nghiwanapo, the morning after a kudu was discovered in the administration office block of the University of Namibia (Unam) last month. Nghiwanapo was the security guard on duty on that eventful night.

Narrating her story to The Namibian, Nghiwanapo, who is also a part-time student at the Namibian College of Open Learning (Namcol), where she is working on improving her Grade 12 results, maintained that the evening started like any other, with her perusing through her school notes while, of course, keeping a watchful eye on the goings on around her.

But everything, according to her, took a dramatic turn when she took a trip to the ‘ladies room’.

“While in there, I heard what I presumed to be footsteps. I thought it was one of the staff members. Maybe female, because the steps sounded like those of someone who was wearing ‘chokolas’ (high heels),” Nghiwanapo said.

She was prompted to investigate as per her job’s requirements, but when she got out of the loo she was confronted by the back-end of the animal whose front legs, neck and head were already out of her direct view. As she peeked a little further, the kudu turned its face towards her, but it did not shift.

“At that moment, I knew that I was not dealing with a woman, and definitely not ‘chokolas’, but hooves and a pair of horns on a whole wild animal. I became weak in my legs and fell on the floor. I could not scream or utter a word and strength was escaping from my arms. I used the little energy that was left in me to drag myself, on my bottom, back into the toilet before banging the door shut,” Nghiwanapo narrated.

While in the toilet she realised that her phone was on the charger in the reception area opposite the toilet. And the kudu was fumbling with the furniture between the two locations. She became hopeless, she said.

“It took a while before the head of security at the university came to my rescue. I understand that the kudu was put down through the window – from outside – by employees of the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Forestry who are responsible for wildlife preservation,” Nghiwanapo said.

Beaming with a mix of joy and disbelief, Nghiwanapo maintains that despite the fear she felt at that time of the rather odd discovery, in hindsight, the encounter is one that she will laugh about for a while longer.

UNEXPECTED VISITOR

Commenting on the kudu incident in a Unam internal circular, the university’s spokesperson Simon Namesho maintained that the ‘majestic’ animal entered through the main vehicle entrance to the surprise of the guards who only spotted it as it was about to make an entrance.

“It seems the kudu was on a mission to explore our campus and ended up in a rather unusual location – the admin block,” Namesho stated.

“It appears the kudu was attracted by the lights, mistaking the half-open reception entrance for an invitation. However, our admin block floors were not designed to accommodate animal hooves, leading the kudu to slip and injure one of its back legs,” he added.

According to Namesho, environment officials were notified and the animal was euthanised and the carcass taken for further tests.

“Now, I must say, this incident brought some unexpected excitement to our campus,” Namesho said.