Veteran Nationalist Kooper Dies

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By Da’oud Vries Windhoek One of the earliest Namibian petitioners to the United Nations, Markus Kooper, died last Friday at the age of 88. Kooper, who hails from Hoachanas left Namibia in 1960 and was received at the New York airport by Swapo President Sam Nujoma and Mburumba Kerina, after which he immediately joined other petitioners and used the UN platforms to advocate the cause of Namibia’s independence. Although it could not be confirmed either by State House or the Ministry of Safety and Security, New Era has reliably learnt that the late Kooper would be accorded a state funeral and would be laid to rest at the Heroes Acre next week Thursday. When this reporter called Dr Albert Kawana, the Minister in the Office of the President, he was referred to the Minister of Safety and Security, who was in a meeting. Kooper would be among the few national heroes who have died since independence and who would be laid to rest at the Heroes Acre. Others were Commander of the Namibian Defence Force Dimo Hamaambo, Swapo stalwart Maxton Mutongolume and Getrude Rikumbi Kandanga. Kooper died on yet another historic day in the lives of his Hoachanas community. On Friday, when he died, his community together with other people around the country, officially walked out of the AME church to establish the New AME Church in the Republic of Namibia. This was in protest against the “American domination” in the church, which he was instrumental in establishing the Namibian chapter. Kooper formed part of the group that again initiated the severing of ties with the “new home” where they spent 58 years, after they walked out of the Rhenish Mission Church, which was then remote-controlled from Germany. Kooper was also forcibly removed from Hoachanas in 1959 and banished to a small settlement hundreds of kilometres away from his birthplace by the South African apartheid regime. After spending a year at Itsawises just north of Keetmanshoop, he fled into exile. After independence, he was decorated with an award for being one of the champions of Namibia’s independence by President Sam Nujoma. At the time of going to press, details about funeral arrangements were unavailable.