Toasis - President Hage Geingob was welcomed with a seat at the Holy Fire on Friday when he arrived at the traditional homestead of Namibia’s national leader late Chief Hosea Kutako, who passed away in 1970. The President was welcomed by homestead headman, 97-year-old Abisai Mungendje, to take a seat at the Holy Fire, which is the Ovaherero’s traditional way of welcoming and introducing blessings in proceedings.
Mungendje, the son of Chief Hosea Kutako’s younger brother, presided over a well-attended groundbreaking ceremony at Kutako’s homestead in Toasis village, Aminius constituency, where government is set to construct a memorial museum and homestead shrine.
Mungendje thanked government for the effort and initiative taken to develop his home, adding this is an unforgettable moment he never expected. He added that Kutako’s home remains open for anyone, as the late Chief Kutako was a person of unity.
Addressing community members at the occasion, President Geingob said the groundbreaking marked the fulfilment of a vision he shared with Namibians during the second land conference in October 2018.
Geingob said he realised the condition of the site was not befitting of the leader, teacher and elder after visiting the residence of the late Chief.
At the 2018 Land Conference, Geingob noted a need to honour Namibian heroes and heroines through the establishment of monuments and shrines, beginning with Chief Hosea Kutako.
“It is for this reason that I declared at the conference that the site be renovated and a shrine be built in remembrance of the role which this icon played towards the Namibian struggle for independence,” stated the President.
Geingob called Chief Kutako a symbol and icon of the Namibian national community, whose role was as a leader and unifier of all Namibians.
The construction, set to take place in two phases, is expected to be completed towards the end of next year.
At the groundbreaking, Geingob added that the permanent tribute will also convey to the world the story of Namibia and the brave men and women whose blood, sweat and tears propelled the country along the journey to independence.
The late Chief Hosea Kutako was born in pre-colonial Herero Land in 1870 in Okahurimehi, and died in South West Africa, a colonial territory subject to the Republic of South Africa in 1970 at the age of 100.
Kutako played a crucial role in petitioning the United Nations demanding the placement of the then South West Africa under the United Nations trusteeship system. Also at Friday’s occasion, Ovaherero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro implored the President to retrieve the copy of the original petition to the UN, with the signatories and supportive documents from the various ethnic groups for the document to be repatriated to its place of origin to be placed in Kutako’s memorial museum.
Also present on Friday, Nudo president Utjiua Muinjangue noted that the heritage site will be a tourist attraction, which will benefit the community as a form of exposure to employment and constituency development.
With the inclusion of a restaurant, Muinjangue added that the heritage site will lead to local empowerment in the constituency.