OKOMBAHE - Minister in the Presidency Christine //Hoebes on Saturday ruffled feathers when she announced that the crafting of the national anthem cannot solely be attributed to the late Axali Doëseb, as a committee was established to craft it.
//Hoebes spoke during festivities at the annual Gaob Festival in Okombahe, Erongo region.
She said Doëseb, who passed away on 27 October 2023, only provided the melody for the anthem “Namibia, Land of the Brave”, which has been a symbol of the nation’s unity and pride since 1991.
“He was one of those who were instrumental in crafting the national anthem. I must explain here how it came about… A committee was assembled that was supposed to craft the national anthem. He, Doëseb, was one of the committee members, some provided the lyrics, and he was the one who provided the melody. So, it is against this background that we cannot attribute the crafting of the national anthem to one person only, because a committee did it,” //Hoebes said.
This is not the first time that controversy surrounds the crafting of the national anthem as in 2006, the late former information minister Hidipo Hamutenya also claimed that he wrote the national anthem while on a plane to Cuba.
Doëseb, who was a renowned Namibian artist, conductor and composer, passed away at the age of 69 at the Lady Pohamba Hospital after a prolonged illness.
She also emphasised that the government honoured the late Doëseb in many ways for his tremendous contributions to the country, one being a diplomatic passport to enable him to travel the world without hindrance.
//Hoebes added that since Doëseb could not receive royalties as an individual, the government took a decision a few months ago to provide him with an amount of N$2 million for his contribution.
However, this news did not sit well with some festival-goers, who said it was not the right time nor platform for that announcement.
“Why now... now that he had died, are we setting the record straight? They must show the so-called committee, instead of tarnishing the good memory and contributions Doëseb made for this country,” an annoyed Mercia Nanus said here.
Doëseb, who had his right leg amputated in June due to diabetes, was the head of music at the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation’s radio stations. He composed 22 school anthems and, before his untimely death, served as the pianist of the Inner-City Lutheran Church.