Lahja Nashuuta Windhoek-Founding President Sam Nujoma yesterday chronicled how late former minister Rosalia Nghidinwa operated secretly as an “intelligence operative” to aid the country’s liberation struggle. It was therefore perhaps no surprise that it was Nujoma who handed Nghidinwa her first ministerial post when he plucked her from virtual obscurity and made her a labour deputy minister in 2000. The former president narrated how as a nurse operating secretly for Swapo, Nghidinwa saved the lives of wounded People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) combatants. Nujoma was speaking at the state memorial service for Nghidinwa that was held in Windhoek yesterday afternoon. “Comrade Rosalia Nghidimwa, whom we are mourning today, never boasted about the crucial role she played during the liberation struggle, as she was such a humble and fearless freedom fighter of our time,” he said. Nujoma revealed that Nghidinwa, who went on to become a full minister in the administration of former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, was among the first Swapo members who joined the Swapo intelligence network and helped PLAN fighters to infiltrate and penetrate the entire areas of Kavango and Zambezi regions. “Operating undercover the Swapo intelligence network required not only dedication and commitment to the cause of freedom, but also loyalty and honesty as it was not easy to trust any person with such assignment,” Nujoma, who led Swapo in the struggle, said. He added that the areas that were covered by the PLAN unit under which Nghidinwa and others served were large, stretching from Mpungu, bordering with Okongo in Ohangwena Region, and they had to go through what was called the North-Eastern Front under commander Mbulunganga, in order to reach Kavango, due to UNITA rebels on the other side of the Angolan border. Nujoma said that regardless of the size of the area, Nghidinwa succeeded with her underground team of nurses because of her dedication, bravery and revolutionary spirit guided by the PLAN unit, which was known as Typhoon and later renamed the Liberation Unit that covered the entire eastern front of Kavango and Zambezi. “Nghidinwa worked fearlessly and tirelessly despite the harassment by the minority colonial army of South Africa. For this reason she is one of the unsung heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle who stood out firm and never wavered until the attainment of freedom,” Nujoma said. Nujoma said it was for exactly against this background that he, as president then, accorded Nghidinwa the Most Excellent Order of the Eagle in 2003, in recognition of her contributions to Namibia’s liberation struggle, particularly in working closely with PLAN intelligence units before independence. Nujoma said Nghidinwa would be remembered for her tireless efforts on issues affecting women and children and her immeasurable contribution to the plight of the San community, as well as the growth of Swapo Party. He therefore urged the nation as it mourns the late former minister to remember that independence did not come on a silver platter but through the sacrifice of lives. His views were cemented by President Hage Geingob, who described the late Nghidinwa as a strategic and critical thinker who valued humanity and dedicated her life to women’s development and vulnerable communities and the fight against violence against women. President Geingob urged Namibians to emulate the good work of the late Nghidinwa. Nghidinwa died of suspected cancer on January 15 at the Roman Catholic Hospital and will be buried at her village in Nkurenkuru on Saturday. A second memorial service is slated for tomorrow at her hometown of Nkurenkuru.
2018-01-25 09:11:24 7 months ago