President Hage Geingob yesterday extended condolences to the family and the entire Nama community following the passing of chief Simon Petrus Kooper of the Kai-// Khaun tribe at Hoachanas.
Kooper, who was also the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA), died on Monday in Hoachanas after a short illness.
“Later today (yesterday), the NTLA will convene to discuss how to honour our late chief. I won’t be able to speak to the media until after that,” NTLA secretary general Doedat Dirkse told New Era yesterday.
In a statement, Geingob said the passing of Kooper is a great loss to the Kai-//Khaun clan, which he served diligently as their leader.
“Chief Kooper will be remembered as one of the vocal champions on the issue of genocide and restorative justice – and stood firmly for what he believed in,” Geingob said, adding that as a nation, the country has lost a community leader, who worked tirelessly towards social justice and socio-economic development.
“I wish to extend my condolences to the children, the bereaved family, the
Kai-//Khaun clan and the entire Nama Traditional Leaders Association. Let us accept God’s wish during this hour of grief, and may we find solace in his word,” Geingob said.
Kooper, who had been very vocal alongside the late paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro on the exclusion of the Nama and Ovaherero communities from the ongoing 1904 to 1908 genocide reparation negotiations, was installed as chief in 2013.
Leader of the official opposition, the Popular Democratic Movement, McHenry Venaani, said Kooper represented a key component of the genocide debate as well as a staunch and valiant representative of the Nama people in genocide negotiations.
“Chief Kooper was a respected leader, who played an integral part in uniting the Kai-// Khaun clan, which is an important constituent of our greater nationhood,” he said.
“While Gaob Kooper was a proud and respected custodian of customs and traditions that were centuries old, he was equally passionate about the socio-economic development of the Hoachanas community.”
He said the nation has certainly lost a historian and orator of note, who served as a guiding light and an anchor for his community during turbulent times.
Venaani says Kooper’s legacy of determination lives on through those he impacted positively during his chieftaincy and in his personal capacity.