By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK HUNDREDS of mourners from all walks of life came to pay homage to one of the country’s inspirational liberation struggle leaders, the late Reverend Markus Kooper, 87, who was honoured with a burial befitting his status at Heroes Acre yesterday. The Heroes Acre has significant historical importance as it serves as a living monument to pay tribute to the country’s heroes and heroines. It was therefore a befitting tribute for Reverend Markus Kooper who died recently in Windhoek to be laid to rest at the national shrine. The late Rev. Kooper passed away at the Windhoek State Hospital on December 09 after a short illness. Before observing a minute of silence to honour one of the giants of the liberation struggle who was tireless in his quest for freedom, President Hifikepunye Pohamba in his keynote address urged Namibians to always keep in mind that it was through the sacrifices made by heroes like the late Reverend Kooper that Namibia today finally enjoys its freedom. “It is with their sweat and blood that Namibia remains stable and peaceful. All Namibians should enjoy the fruits of independence without exclusion,” he said. In light of the immense sacrifices made by fearless freedom fighters like the late Rev, Kooper, the President reiterated that Namibians need to work hard and remain committed to building the country’s socio-economic development. “We should always remember this because their blood waters our freedom,” concluded the Head of State before taking his seat next to the widow of Rev. Kooper who was dressed in black. The rest of the entourage accompanying the President on the podium consisted of Prime Minister Nahas Angula, members of the diplomatic corps and Cabinet ministers. For those that knew him, the late Reverend had immense vision and conviction and would be remembered for his courage, exemplary leadership and selfless sacrifices. “He has made a valuable contribution to independence. He was an honest, humble, focussed and very balanced person and very committed to his family,” said Chief Petrus Simon Moses Kooper of the Kai //Khaun clan in his tribute. With a 21-gun salute by the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) members, as well as sounds from the Military Brass Band, the brown and gold casket of the late Rev. Kooper draped with the Namibian flag was taken up to his burial site at the shrine. His place of rest was situated just below well-known Namibian heroes such as Hendrick Witbooi and right next to the late Maxton Joseph Mutongolume. Widow Rachel Kooper assisted by two relatives Magrietha and Elizabeth Kooper went first to lay a wreath in front of her late husband’s grave. They have been blissfully married for a solid 70 years. “God took you back now, so go well and go in peace my love,” said the widow briefly in her mother tongue Nama, before taking her seat again. Quite significantly, the late Reverend Kooper passed away just a day before Rachel Kooper’s 86th birthday this month, which was on December 09. Shortly afterwards, the President also laid a wreath in front of the grave, followed by Prime Minister Nahas Angula, Speaker of the National Assembly Theo-Ben Gurirab, Chief Justice Peter Shivute, and the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya Hussein Dado. After the coffin was lowered into the grave with the official sounds of the 21-gun salute for all Namibian liberation fighters, Reverend Hendrick Gariseb conducted a short benediction. Looking rather strong, widow Rachel Kooper wiped away tears. “They have been together for 70 years and she is at least grateful and proud that she bade farewell to her late husband today,” said a relative Jan Abraham. For most of the family members who still remained behind for the grave to be filled, they were deeply touched by the honour bestowed on their late father, grandfather, leader and religious pastor. “We will always cherish this special honour and respect given to him. His death was untimely and as a family, we will remain united at all times,” added Francis Kooper, the son of the late Reverend.
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