04 Jul 2011 - Story by Tunomukwathi Asino
Article Views (non-unique): 615
WINDHOEK â€" The void left by late Colonel John Otto Nankudhu is too big to fill, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said.
"Today, I stand here to join the nation in mourning the death of one of the brave sons of Namibia," Pohamba said during a memorial service of the late Nankudhu at the Parliament Gardens on Friday.
The President described Nankudhu as a true hero, fearless commander, a combatant, an icon of the liberation struggle, a patriotic Namibian citizen, a freedom fighter, a Robben Island political prisoner, a visionary leader, a friend and a comrade who made history by being the first to command the battle for Namibia's armed liberation struggle under the banner of Swapo.
"Our nation has lost a hero, revolutionary, and a patriot, who dedicated his entire life to the service of the Namibian people," Pohamba said.
He said Nankudhu led an exemplary life, which should inspire all Namibians, especially the youth.
"We should be inspired by his friendliness, humility and impeccable integrity. As we mourn his passing, we should also celebrate his rich life and the indelible legacy he leaves behind," the President said.
The President narrated Nankudhu's journey in exile, which took him as far as the former Soviet Union for military specialisation before coming back to Namibia in 1965 commanding a group of five combatants.
He also spoke of Nankudhu's torture at the hands of colonial forces during his incarceration as a political prisoner in Pretoria and on Robben Island for 19 years.
"Despite the torture, he remained steadfast and unwavering in his conviction that Namibia will one day be free and independent. As a result of pressure from the international community, from People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and from the people of Namibia, Nankudhu was released in 1985.
The Founding President Sam Nujoma, his wife Kovambo Nujoma, the First Lady Penehupifo Pohambo, attended the memorial service.