ONGWEDIVA – Retired Bishop Kleopas Dumeni celebrated nine decades of his life when he turned 90 on Saturday.
A birthday celebration was held at his residence in Ongwediva on Saturday.
President Hage Geingob, in his congratulatory message read by Dr Tshali Iithete, said Dumeni is an inspiration, who exemplifies the splendour and humility of a servant of God.
He said he served the Lord – and in turn, the Namibian people with quiet fidelity and love.
“Today, not only do we celebrate a life well lived but we also celebrate a man, whose love for God and country, whose self-sacrifice and service to the faith, continues to inspire us towards pursuing greater things for our country and its people,” said Geingob.
“Bishop Dumeni, when we, as Namibians, look back to your life of distinction and commitment to a better Namibia, we are indeed proud, blessed and fortunate to celebrate this milestone of your 90th birthday.”
On the political front, Geingob said Dumeni’s house was a shelter for many during the liberation struggle.
Founding President Sam Nujoma, who was in attendance, said Dumeni’s birthday ignites fond recollections of the selfless contribution he has made to the freedom and genuine independence on Namibia.
Nujoma said his leadership and formidable conviction shall remain a source of inspiration to the current and future generation.
“The pages of Namibian history will be incomplete without the name Kleopas Dumeni and the patriotic sacrifices you have made for the independence of our Motherland Namibia,” said Nujoma.
Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba also recalls the contribution played by the church under the leadership of Dumeni.
“It was during your tenure that ELCIN played a crucial role, together with other denominations during the repatriation process of Namibians from exile. Your contribution to nation-building in post-independence Namibia through the process of national reconciliation is valued and appreciated,” said Pohamba.
Pohamba’s speech was also read on his behalf by Ithete.
Birthday tributes were also received from retired bishops Josephat Shanghala and Appolos Kaulinge, who described Dumeni as a doer and who played a pivotal role in uplifting the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) and its activities.
Kaulinge said Dumeni was instrumental in promoting youth activities in ELCIN.
Dumeni served the church both as a pastor and a bishop for over 40 years.
Even during his retirement, Dumeni continues to serve the church.
His wife Aino Dumeni, who was not present at the celebration, said her husband is loving, patient and prayerful but above all, a family man.
She added that during her long ailment, Dumeni was her counsellor and biggest help.
The Dumenis are married for 61 years and were blessed with seven children, of whom five are deceased.
They have 10 grandchildren.
First Lady Monica Geingos was also in attendance and the Chief of Uukwambi Traditional Authority Herman Ndilimani Iipumbu. - email@example.com