Half of Namibians voting in an informal radio survey believe the day Angelina Jolie gives birth should be declared a national holiday, an honour usually reserved for kings, queens and national heroes.
“We have a tie, it’s 50-50,” the DJ for popular local radio station Radio Wave announced on Tuesday after listeners were asked whether the “Brangelina” baby should be accorded the honour. She said voting was still going on.
Hollywood stars Jolie and Brad Pitt sparked an international media frenzy when they arrived in Namibia with her two adopted children to have their first child.
But while residents of the southern African country have so far been unfazed by the visit, local media is now getting into the act, with the daily Namib Times speculating that the baby might arrive at the weekend or early next week. Jolie’s due date had been reported to be May 18.
The couple have remained almost invisible in their beach resort in the tiny village of Langstrand on the country’s desert coastline, shielded by tight security.
Green cloth screens mask the beach resort where they are staying, while pepper-spraying bodyguards and undercover police have made it almost impossible to get close.
Along those lines, a Namibian judge dismissed charges on Monday against a South African photographer arrested for trespassing while trying to snap a shot of Jolie and Pitt.
John Liebenberg was taken into custody on Friday afternoon after driving into the back of a police barracks in search of a vantage point from which to take a photograph of a nearby private hospital in the port town of Walvis Bay.
The 48-year-old veteran photo journalist was reacting to a tipoff that Jolie had been rushed there to have her baby.
He was released on a warning after being detained for three days in a communal cell.
“It might be that you are a foreigner and that you were arrested for trespassing (but) why was it necessary to keep you in custody for the whole weekend?” Walvis Bay magistrate Sarel Jacobs asked during sentencing.
“I don’t understand that and I think it was unnecessary,” he added before dismissing the charge.
The prosecution had asked for a fine of 1,000 Namibian dollars ($152) or a year in prison. Liebenberg’s lawyer had suggested a fine.
Liebenberg, well known to the couple’s bodyguards and security personnel, said police may have wanted to use him as an example to warn other photographers and media.
“They probably wanted to make an example of me to the other so-called nasty paparazzi press. But we have been very respectful to them,” he told Reuters.