The Bakgalagadi and the Vaalgras traditional authorities are mourning the passing of their traditional leaders, chief Hubert Ditshabue and chief Joël Stephanus due to Covid-19 complications.
Ditshabue died in the early hours of Tuesday at a Gobabis hospital in the Omaheke region, while Stephanus died yesterday morning in a Keetmanshoop hospital in the //Kharas region.
Ditshabue was 67 while Stephanus was 76.
This brings the total number of traditional leaders who have succumbed to Covid-19 to five, following the passing of Ovaherero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro, Afrikaner Traditional Authority’s Eduard Afrikaner and Ovambanderu Traditional Authority chief Kilus Munjuku III Nguvauva.
Ditshabue became the first traditional leader of the Bakgalagadi in 1992 after he succeeded in establishing the clan’s traditional authority with its own identity.
His traditional authority with its headquarters at Corridor 13 in Aminius, Omaheke region, was recognised as a traditional authority in 2008 while Stephanus became the Vaalgras traditional leader in 1975 replacing his father Samuel Stephanus who passed on earlier that year.
Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate yesterday said, in Ditshabue, the region has lost one of its strongmen, a man who was there when numbers were important to make a difference in the landmark elections of 1989.
“He is a man who pulled the Bakgalagadi out of another tribe to establish his own tribe with its own identity and that was not easy. Today, his tribe has its own identity and places of operation and are counted as a tribe among other tribes and not a subtribe,” he said.
Nganate said Ditshabue taught them that numbers do not determine identity and conviction but the will within. “You taught us to that there can only be a slave master if there is a slave so willingly allow to be enslaved. Our condolences as an office to the wife, children, bereaved family, the Bakgalagadi, the region and country as a whole,’’ he said.