Leaders from various politicalparties have paid tribute to William Eric Getzen, better known as Mburumba Kerina, who gave Namibia its name.
The liberation struggle pioneer, academic, politician and author, who co-founded Swapo, Nudo, and the Federal Convention of Namibia (FCN), and several smaller political parties, passed away Monday night in a Windhoek hospital.
He was 89. Leading the tributes, President Hage Geingob said the late Kerina was an outstanding son of the soil.
“However, his deeds in advancing the cause of independence should provide us with comfort. As one of the early petitioners to the UN, Kerina advanced the cause of independence, which he was able to witness in his lifetime,” said Geingob.
International relations minister and Swapo vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said he regarded the late Kerina as her political father, a friend and a mentor.
“He was very, very intelligent. He was the library of Namibia. I hope the young generations have learned a lot from him. He knew a lot about Namibia. I have no words to describe him apart from saying that I have worked on several projects with him and I have learned a lot from him,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said yesterday.
Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) leader Mike Kavekotora described Kerina as an intelligent person with immense knowledge of Namibian history, who continued to make his presence felt in Namibian contemporary issues until his last days on earth.
“It is with great sadness and sorrow to learn of the passing on of a real hero, a man who immensely contributed in many ways to the liberation of Namibia. I have known Mburumba Kerina while I was a student in New York,” he said.
He said Namibia has lost a person who was always thinking outside the box and a real scholar. “May his soul rest in eternal peace. We will remember him for his wisdom and his continued fight for what he believed in before and after Namibia’s independence,” he added.
Nudo secretary-general Josef Kauandenge said Kerina was one of the country’s unsung heroes, even though he was the man who coined the name Namibia. “What pains me the most is that Kerina died at the Katutura hospital while those that he lectured, guided to become who they are today are having lifelong medical aid, and get treated at the affluent Lady Pohamba Hospital,” he said.
Kauandenge said the last time he met Kerina at his residence late last year, Kerina gave him a present in a form of his photo with Reverend Michael Scott at the UN when he (Kerina) petitioned the UN for Namibian independence.
“I am a product of late professor Kerina and the late Kuaima Riruako. It is because of the two that I am the politician I am today. The last time I met the late Kerina, he told me that his time was coming to an end but still he insisted that he had a lot to do, this shows the sort of character he was,” Kauandenge said.
-Additional information from Gondwana Collection Namibia