Accolades Abound for Rev. Kooper

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By Wezi Tjaronda WINDHOEK AHEAD of his internment at his final resting place at the Heroes Acre tomorrow, the late Reverend Markus Kooper has been described as a humble servant who rendered his services without much of a reward. Others count him as one of the four titans of African history and accomplishments who have passed on. Kooper died almost two weeks ago on December 9, having lived an illustrious life of sacrifices. His life is like that of any other great leader who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of the country. Kooper not only went into exile after he was banished from his village Hoachanas a year before in 1959 and banished to a small settlement hundreds of kilometres away by the South African Apartheid regime. After spending a year at Itsawises, north of Keetmanshoop, Kooper fled into exile. He left Namibia in 1960 to join other petitioners who used the UN platform to advocate the cause of Namibia’s independence. On Wednesday night, the recently formed New AME Church provided with premises by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia (ELCRN) held a memorial service for the fallen nationalist in Katutura. Speaker of the National Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab, a friend to Kooper throughout the years of exile said of him: “He lived an exemplary life of a courageous hero and conscious internationalist, who did not let us nor his family down through all the trials and tribulations during the decades of leadership.” In his tribute to Kooper, Gurirab said, “His has been a good fight and the Namibian people have won the victory.” Because of this, the Speaker said the late Kooper would want Namibians to hold on and march together to achieve victory through hard work, productivity and prosperity, as a united force. He said Kooper is counted among four titans of African history and accomplishments, namely Rosa Parks, Pastor Eliphas cEiseb and Otto Ferdinand Schimming. Kooper, said Gurirab, not only saw the dawn of independence on March 21, 1990, when President Sam Nujoma was sworn in as First President, but he also, 15 years later on March 21, 2005 saw the inauguration of the second President, Hifikepunye Pohamba. Amongst his many accomplishments, were sacrificing for the country at the most difficult time of the liberation struggle, his own life, his family and his clan as well. Reverend Hendik /Gariseb said, “Like the shepherds of old, the lives of the sheep, yes, his people were more important than any other gain.” While people in today’s life are striving for elite positions, economic or social status, many especially the needy, vulnerable and marginalised end up being sidelined. And because of what Kooper did during his lifetime, /Gariseb said, Namibia as a nation could today stand up and say: “Behold a son has fallen. One who has sacrificed his life for his people.” Kooper will be buried tomorrow at the national shrine, where he joins three other national leaders who died after independence. They are Getrude Kandanga, Dimo Hamaambo and Matxon Mutongolume. His burial at the Heroes Acre, located on the outskirts of Windhoek, will be marked by a message from President Hifikepunye Pohamba and laying of wreaths by Kooper’s widow Rachel, the president and other dignitaries.