by Shelleygan Petersen

Namibia’s Covid-19 death toll passed the 1 000 mark this week. The Namibian spoke to relatives of some of the people who died due to the disease, and pays tribute to the lives the country has lost.

Werner Jeffery

(1 December 1957 – 12 June 2021)

Jeffery’s wife, Liwie, describes the 64-year-old as a people’s person who knew love and peace. He was the University of Namibia and the Tertiary Institutes Sports Association of Namibia’s sport administrator. She says his love for sport has overflowed to players, who became like his children. 

“He loved his community – especially the players he worked with. They called him father. He touched the lives of many who came on his path,” Liwie says.

Bishop emeritus Hendrick Frederick

(9 January1935 – 15 May 2021)

Frederick was the third local preses elected in 1979, and the first elected bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia. 

President Hage Geingob described the late bishop as a distinguished servant of God and country whose dedication to the faith and commitment to the citizens of Namibia endeared him to all people countrywide.

Sofia Asino

(1937 – 14 August 2020)

Asino was founding president Sam Nujoma’s younger sister and government attorney Matti Asino’s mother.

Nujoma has described the late Sofia Asino as a fearless sister and teacher, and a guiding moral voice. He said Asino was the Nujoma family’s pillar of strength and fountain of wisdom, and will be missed, but what she stood for will never be forgotten.

Machinga Eustace Ilukena

(1974 – 7 January 2021)

Ilukena was a teacher. His family says they have been robbed of a man who was kind and who loved his family dearly. 

“Losing someone like him has not been easy for the family, particularly when we think of the cause of death, Covid-19 has robbed us of a very humble and family-oriented person. We will always miss you, Ba Muluti,” his nephew Peter Ilukena says.

Paulina Hartzenberg

(2 June 1964 – 6 June 2021)

Hartzenberg was the unit commander of the Namibain Police’s traffic department at Keetmanshoop. She served in the police for 31 years.

Andreas Iita Thomas Uushini

(12 July 1942 – 26 May 2021)

Uushini’s family knew their hero as a warm and kind-hearted person whose generosity and humble nature will forever be remembered. They say they will forever be indebted to him and will always keep him in their hearts.

“The whole family will continue to celebrate you and continue with your legacy.”

Edward Dennis Pick

(17 July 1956 – 11 June 2021)

Pick has been with the Rhenish Church in Windhoek for the last 27 years of his life until his death. He was a humble servant who served the community of Khomasdal with love. The congregation regrets his death as a great loss and is praying for his family’s comfort and peace in this heartbreaking time. 

Elizabeth Binga

(4 February 1959 – 25 February 2021)

Binga was known as the darling of the Keetmanshoop and Vaalgras community. Her family pays tribute to a phenomenal woman with a strong personality, and a kind and warm heart.

Earth’s loss is heaven’s gain. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

Jan Steenkamp

(28 October 1951 – 22 March 2021)

Steenkamp was a reliable community member and loyal electrician for the Keetmanshoop municipality. He will be greatly missed.

Laban Shapange

(1969 – September 2020)

Shapange was the director of education, arts and culture in the Omusati region since 2015. He obtained a master’s degree in education development from the Rhodes University in South Africa a few months before his death.

Before his appointment as director, he also served as an education inspector in the Omusati region. Shapange also taught at Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo Senior Secondary School at Ondangwa, as well as Oshitayi Primary School in the Oshikoto region.

Jonathan Sam

(13 June 1951 – 12 June 2021)

Sam was known for his photojournalism and his love for the media. His family describes him as a man of integrity, who worked behind the scenes. “He had a strong will to help the less privileged and adored his family, especially his granddaughter, Rainbow,” the family says.

Gerhard Beyleveld

(29 January 1980 – 14 June 2021)

Beyleveld’s wife, Natasja, describes him as a dedicated and loving father, a loyal friend and partner, and caring son and brother. “This is just a few roles he filled in our hearts,” she says. Beyleveld was an adventurous, outdoors man with an incredible sense of humour. His wife says he was a passionate people’s person and his friends and family will miss him dearly. “Everyone who knew him will have a great story to share. These memories we will always hold dear and close,” she says.

Iipinge Johaness Joseph

(2 May 1955 – 14 May 2021)

Joseph’s daughter Albertina says she remembers the great memories they shared. 

“He was my best friend. I’m grateful for his life, and I miss him every day,” she says.  

Sakaria Iikela

(7 December 1968 – 6 June 2021)

Iikela worked in the Office of the President as an administrative officer in the ceremonial services and motorcade division. He initially started off as a labourer in 2009, but showed diligence and commitment by going through the ranks. His colleagues describe him as a down-to-earth person and say he will be missed.

Hilde Petrus-Sakala

(1 September 1969 – 1 June 2021)

The Office of the President said it would dearly miss Petrus-Sakala, who has been with the office for 16 years. She started in 2005 as the minister of presidential affairs’ personal assistant and later became the deputy director of household services in 2014. She also acted as the director of maintenance, ceremonial services and the motorcade division.

Ujoure Haimene

(2 July 1984 – 9 January 2021)

Haimene’s brother McHenry Venaani, the leader of the official opposition in parliament, earlier this year said she was a respectable and jovial person. “At times she was very straightforward,” he said. Haimene gave birth at a local hospital through a caesarean section and died thereafter.

“Our great grandfather was Keeza, who was hanged in the 1904 genocide. I named this new arrival Keeza, who would not know Ujoure would be buried metres from the spot where he died,” Venaani said.

Eric Muinjo

(27 June 1957 – 19 January 2021)

Muinjo was a former player for the mighty Orlando Pirates and a junior national team coach. His former teammates and players describe him as more than a coach and a person who would always be willing to listen. They say he taught them more than techniques, but also life lessons. His family says the pain of his death has not healed. “We will miss you. We thank God for the husband, father, grandfather and big brother roles you have played for us,” they say. 

Jarimbovandu Alex Kaputu

(9 March 1952 – 9 March 2021)

Kaputu was one of Namibia’s longest-serving radio journalists, an influential narrator of Ovaherero history and tradition, and a widely respected philosopher. 

He became well known to an academic audience through ‘Warriors, Leaders, Sages and Outcasts in the Namibian Past. Narratives collected from Herero sources’, published in 1992 by the Michael Scott Oral Records Project of the National Archives of Namibia.

The University of Namibia awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2019 for his life’s work.

Daniel Smith

(1955 – 13 September 2020)

Daniel Smith was a former Namibian ambassador and presidential aide. He is believed to be one of the pioneers of the civil service, assisting greatly from 1990 with the administration of the Office of the President

Smith was an aide to founding president Sam Nujoma, before he joined the Namibian diplomatic service. He retired from his position as Namibian ambassador to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland in 2013 – a position he held for three years.

He also served as charge d’affaires at the Namibian embassy in Austria between 2003 and 2006, and later as high commissioner of Namibia to Nigeria from 2006 to 2010. 

Mburumba Kerina

(6 June 1932 – 14 June 2021)

Mburumba Kerina (89) was a man who has seen, heard and played a great part in the liberation of Namibia. He named Namibia, and was the first black man to petition the United Nations on conditions faced by Namibians at the hands of the South African apartheid government. 

Previously known as Eric William Getzen, Kerina decided to change his name after understanding where it came from. He was a veteran politician, academic and author.

He was a co-founder of Swapo, Nudo, and the Federal Convention of Namibia, and the founder of several smaller political parties.

“Our father, grandfather and uncle was the beloved elder to an extended family that spans the earth. It is difficult to convey the magnitude of his contributions to motherland Africa and homeland Namibia, a commitment that he lived until his last breath. I don’t think he ever thought he would spend 26 of his most productive years in exile, away from my grandmother Kasondoro, who he loved deeply,” his daughter Katuna Kerina says.

Rudi van Wyk

(Died 11 June 2021)

Van Wyk became the mayor of Rehoboth late in 2019 and had aspirations to change the town council to effectively deliver services to residents. He wanted to root out corruption in the council, saying the residents deserved better. 

Van Wyk’s last words were: “Thank you all for your wishes and prayers. You guys, the Covid is not a joke. I did not believe it. It is so bad. Please protect others and yourself. Man, slap someone who walks around outside and does not consider others.”

Windhoek mayor Job Amupanda says Van Wyk was so full of life and was a determined servant of the people. 

De Waal Louw

(29 July 1969 – 9 June 2021)

Dewaal Louw was the chairperson of the Gobabis Management Committee at the Gobabis municipality. The mayor of Gobabis, Elvire Theron, says Louw’s heart was with the residents of Gobabis. “We started a journey together, but now we have to walk it without you,” she says. She says Louw was her personal pastor and friend for 17 years. “My heart is broken,” she says. 

Mandela Kapere

(4 June 1982 – 7 December 2020)

Kapere was a Swapo backbencher in the National Assembly and the former executive chairperson of the National Youth Council. President Hage Geingob has described Kapere as one of the country’s “brightest stars, a gentle giant and an irreplaceable young leader”. His wife, Stella Kapere, describes her husband as the love of her life. His fellow backbencher Natangue Ithete describes him as a calm person, good father, son and husband, a gentle debater, a seasoned comrade and a caring and trusted cadre.

Jeff Mbako

(15 February 1947 – 18 August 2020)

Former presidential adviser Jeff Mbako has been described by the president as a man of patience with a kind heart. He died last year aged 73. Mbako was Geingob’s adviser from 2015 and retired in 2018. He was also a special adviser to the minister of justice between 2012 and 2015. 

After independence, Mbako served between 1993 and 2003 as special adviser to the founding prime minister. He also worked as a community development officer and a labour adviser for the City of Windhoek. 

Mbako left Namibia to join the liberation struggle, working in Swapo’s transport division in exile. He held a diploma in public administration and management from the United Nations Institute for Namibia, and later obtained a BL honours degree from the University of Zimbabwe.

Many remember him as a great mentor and friend, and described him as wise and always willing to share knowledge with others.

Jonathan Kenahama Katjatako

(3 December 1939 – 7 June 2021)

JJ as we affectionately called him, was an affectionate father, grandfather and an uncle to many.

A strong-willed person, a prominent figure in our society, a recognised freedom fighter and a clergyman.

Your departure left us in despair but we shall rely on the Holy Spirit to help us coming to terms with the fact that you are no more. It will surely take time, and like they say time heal all wounds. Go well JJ may your soul rest in eternal peace. Suva Mohange Jaaruhe

Ron Gardiner

(Died 7 January 2021)

Ron Gardiner passed away on 7 January 2021 at the age of 66. He served as pastor of Emmanuel Church in Windhoek. His wife, two children and six grandchildren say they will miss his fun, teasing nature and also his deep passion to serve God’s purpose.

Nicodemus Amupolo

(1978 – 17 December 2020)

Amupolo started his career as a teacher in the early 2000s. He taught at Oluteyi Combined School in the Omusati region before he became the inspector of education for the Onesi and Ruacana circuits. 

At the time of his death he was the inspector of education for the Oshakati circuit in the Oshana region.

* Compiled by Shelleygan Petersen

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