Tributes have been pouring in for Gaob Eduard Afrikaner of the Afrikaner Traditional Authority in the Hardap region.
The 73-year-old Afrikaner died last week in a Windhoek hospital. Hardap regional governor Salomon April described the late Afrikaner as a caring, patient person with an open heart who was always willing to listen to his people.
“He was a soft-spoken leader in his words and deeds who always strived to the best of his abilities to, through his caring attributes amicably solve personal, political and traditional matters of his followers,’’ he explained.
April said the Hardap region and Namibia indeed lost a leader and father who always advocated for and promote peace and stability for all, regardless of colour, creed or political affiliation. “May your soul rest in peace, we who are surviving you will always salute you, as our Gaob and father,’’ he added.
The governor expressed the region and indeed the country’s heartfelt condolences towards the surviving, bereaved family of Gaob Afrikaner and wished them all God’s strength in this time of pain and sorrow.
Delivering his tribute on behalf of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association and the Nama people at large, Gaob Johannes Isaak from Berseba described Afrikaner as a prominent advocate for restorative justice against the crimes of genocide committed by the Germans against the Nama and Ovaherero people of Namibia.
“The last few days have felt as if death itself has engulfed the Namibian nation, and in particular the Nama and Ovaherero people,’’ he said. Isaak said he has never felt so overwhelmed with a sense of numbness, burden and even anger after the death of Afrikaner when the nation needed the Gaob the most.
“Why now, when we are walking onto the battlefield to find freedom from the yoke of a genocide that haunts us like a ghost for 117 years?’’ he asked.
Isaak believes that the Nama and Ovaherero ancestors have now received both Gaob Afrikaner and Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro and that will give them as survivors the power of a better future.
“The world and indeed Namibia itself could never fully comprehend Gaob Afrikaner’s fight for justice and reparations,’’ he continued. The Gaob added that the work of Afrikaner was not been in vain, therefore, the Namibian nation, whilst mourning a great leader gone too soon, should follow in the footsteps of this great soldier.
“We are saddened now and aggrieved, but soon something will arise that the world shall not forget,’’ Isaak said.
Meanwhile, family spokesperson Mabos Ortmann described the late chief as a teacher by profession and in addition a deeply spiritual person during his reign on earth. “He was a fierce supporter and dedicated member of the Swapo party of Namibia by being instrumental in Namibia’s fight against apartheid, oppression and colonialism,” he added.
Ortmann said their late leader and father participated actively in discussions regarding the German enforced genocide reparations.
“He vigorously advocated for the inclusion of the Nama and Ovaherero communities in reparation negotiations with Germany and was one of the leaders who initiated these discussions,’’ Ortmann emphasised.