Eveline de Klerk USAKOS - Hundreds of mourners and sympathisers flocked to Usakos yesterday to bid farewell to the iconic former prime minister Theo-Ben Gurirab, in an emotional ceremony held at the Jubilate Lutheran Church at the town. The stalwart politician died last Saturday in a Windhoek hospital, aged 80. Politicians, relatives, close friends and family congregated at the dusty town for a memorial service during which the former minister of foreign affairs was described as a man that cared for the people. He never missed a traditional gathering or funeral of those close to him at the town, those in attendance heard. Although it is often said Gurirab was born in Usakos, it emerged yesterday that he was actually born in /Uikrens, situated 40 kilometres from Usakos. He was born the only son among five sisters, who did not understand why he had to leave them at the age of 24 to go into exile in the USA, from which he fought against apartheid South Africa and her allies. “His departure was difficult for the family,” Wilma Guriras, his sister’s daughter, said in a moving tribute. She added that the family has accepted and come to terms with the fact that it lost their son to the liberation struggle of Namibia. Traditional leaders from the Oe Gan traditional authority thanked the wife of the late Gurirab, Joan Guriras, as well as government for granting Usakos residents and the entire Erongo Region the opportunity to bid farewell to their gentle fallen hero. “He left us to fight for the independence of Namibia and came back after 27 years in exile, but never forgot his roots. He was a regular visitor to Usakos. A son of our dusty streets. Go in peace our son,” said Simson Tjongarero, on behalf of the community of Usakos and nearby settlements. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, one of Gurirab’s successors in the foreign affairs ministerial portfolio, described him as a true hero that left an indelible mark on the Namibian political landscape. “He did not only become the face of Namibia, but the face of diplomacy, due to his calm and collective negotiation skills around the world. Hence, as we mourn our comrade, we should also celebrate his legacy of patriotism, dedication and hard work,” the minister said. Gurirab is survived by his wife, four children, three sisters and and the broader family. His memorial was also attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry Alpheus !Naruseb, local authority leaders and the business community. The main memorial service is scheduled for Friday in Windhoek, before the burial is conducted at Heroes Acre on Saturday.
2018-07-19 09:15:05 2 months ago