“I was dancing and the next thing I couldn’t feel my phone in my jeans pockets. It was gone, all gone, including my wallet. I did not feel a thing but I have been warned before of this. I guess it was my day. I don’t even want to talk about the second time.”
It’s a Friday afternoon, the weekend has barely started, and its lights on, and you’ve got your best look on as all roads lead to Windhoek’s one and only Eveline Street. The forever busy street in Katutura has become famous for fun and recently for the wrong reason, crime. But regardless of this insight, anytime you exit Independence Avenue into Eveline Street, the vibe is on, just like yesterday or the other end-month weekend.
No street beats the vibe, groove, noise, busyness of the Greenwell Matongo street. Almost every second house sells your favourite drink and you have so many options of a chill spot.
However, it is all fun until the street predators make you victim. This is the street where most people have lost their phones, wallets, and in extreme cases, their lives.
So you are walking on the pavements of the street and the next thing you see is someone snatched your phone and off he/they run off between the shacks. You try calling the missing phone and all you hear is “This number is currently unreachable, please try later.” By this time you know ‘later’ means never. You cannot run after these fast boys because not only are you outnumbered but you are in their territory.
While the street is known very well as the hub of alcohol abuse, petty crimes such as phone and wallet snatching remain to compete. It is an every day/night thing and has become so popular, rampant and rife. Muggings and thefts are now synonymous with the name Eveline Street.
“It’s a lot of fun but yet a bit dangerous. So you always need to have your eyes on your back. You never know what will happen or who is watching,” said Selma Immanu.
As much as it is fun, most of the fun either ends up with someone losing their belongings or oblivious of how they got home the previous night. Eveline Street is where the cream meets the dust – full of life and regardless the danger, many still flock to the entertainment hub.
Of concern to those living in Eveline Street is the high crime rate since hardly a week passes without sounds of gun shots, while muggings have become an everyday phenomena.
“As soon as the sun sets, I make sure my children are indoors and all doors are locked. I do not understand how so many people still come to Eveline Street when fun ends in misery,” said a parent whose house is neighboured by shabeens.
Immanu lost two cellphones in the same street to boys who simply snatched her handbag and run off. However, to this date she still goes to the street, only now she is a bit more careful and aware this time.
“I no longer go out with my expensive phone to Eveline street. I bought a simple Samsung phone which I don’t really mind if they take it. Also, I decided to no longer go with a handbag or wallet because you become prey when they see you have a wallet. Instead, I wear a tight jeans where I can put my money and I will obviously feel any finger that will try to enter my pockets,” explained Immanu.
But the question remains, why are the notoriously unsafe grounds of Eveline Streets always full? It is rather puzzling that most of the people who lose their belongings in the streets still go back for the same reason.
Immanu explained that while the street is one of the best place to have fun at, Eveline street is closer to home than going to town. “Town is far and sometimes you get stranded because there are no taxis at midnight. So we will chill in Eveline Street where it is closer to home and just be a little bit careful.”
Whatever the reasons might be as to why Eveline Street continues to attract crowds to this date. A drive through the street at night introduces you to young people having the time of their lives, dancing to the nearest sounds. But don’t be on your phone as you drive because someone who has been monitoring you for a while might just open your doors, grab you phone or run off.
Motorists have long been warned about driving with their windows down through the streets while the caution to never leave goods open to the public eye in your car still stands.
“Yes it is fun, but it is the hub for everything wrong when you look at it with a different eye. A few of my friends have had a bad experience in the street and have decided to never step foot there. You ask them why they would never come to Eveline Street and they will tell you – I love my life and do not want a scar on my face.”
Irrespective of the danger in the fun while visiting the street, business continues as usual and the crowds still flock to Windhoek’s busiest street. However, the crux of the matter is next time you think of going to have fun in Namibia’s very own Long Street, leave everything you love at home in safety. You might as well just stay home because you never know when your dark day will come. Is Windhoek hierso…