Tributes Pour In for Tjitendero

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Ovitoto Dressed in Swapo colours of green, red and blue, hundreds of mourners flocked to Okomakuara in the Ovitoto district to pay their last respects to former Speaker of the National Assembly Dr MosÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© Tjitendero on Wednesday. The mourners, who mostly came from nearby villages started gathering at Okomakuara, the birthplace of the late Tjitendero, from as early as seven o’clock and patiently waited for his remains that arrived in the afternoon. Tjitendero’s hearse was given a hero’s welcome and women dressed in the Red Flag attire sang, “the king has come” and Red Flag “soldiers” on horses escorted the body of Tjitendero as it was taken into a traditional house where it spent the night on Wednesday. As soon as Tjitendero’s widow, Sandra Tjitendero joined the mourners in the traditional house, the proceedings were followed by a church ceremony where hundreds of tributes and messages of condolences were conveyed. Swapo Member of Parliament and close friend of the late Tjitendero, Hidipo Hamutenya paid tribute to Tjitendero. In what was really a rare sight, Hamutenya appeared very emotional and deeply shocked as he spoke about his late comrade. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs noted that he had known Tjitendero over the last 46 years and that they had been close friends since the day they met. Hamutenya, who noted that he received the message of the passing away of Tjitendero from the former deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kaire Mbuende, said his family and that of Tjitendero had been very close over the years. “I met Sandra in 1973 and our children grew up together and became good friends and part of the family.” Hamutenya, who also lives in the same street as the Tjitendero family added that the past week has been very difficult for him, as he had to console the Tjitendero family for losing an outstanding personality. “We share with you the pain of loss and sadness of a father, uncle, friend and a community member.” Hamutenya said they would continue to pay tribute to Tjitendero until he is laid to rest on Saturday. “MosÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© was blessed and contributed a lot and has built monuments that will be remembered by many generations to come. Mose, you have lived a life of nobility and greatness.” The Paramount Chief of the Hereros Kuaima Riruako on his part noted that the two of them come a long way and fondly remembers their time abroad. Riruako also highlighted incidents in parliament when Tjitendero was the Speaker and noted he was hugely impressed by the manner in which Tjitendero conducted himself even at times when he was angry. “He would call me to order in many debates when I said things I was not supposed to say but which I felt like saying.” The Chief added Tjitendero was never desperate even when he was ill and always led the way forward. Riruako gave a cow and asked the bereaved family to wash away their sadness and sorrow in the blood of the cow. Other messages of condolences and tributes came from the Chief of the Mbanderu Munjuku Nguvauva II, Red Flag, and family members. Most of the mourners especially the residents of Ovitoto spoke greatly about Tjitendero and noted that he had generally contributed a lot to the upliftment of the living conditions in the area. “His presence was always felt in the area and he always contributed a sheep or a cow to many families when they had death in the family or a wedding,” were the remarks of one mourner. The proceedings at the village, which form the first part of the funeral, ended yesterday morning and the State was expected to take over the rest of the proceedings, which will ultimately lead to the funeral on Saturday morning at the Heroes’ Acre. A memorial service will be held this afternoon at the Parliament Gardens, which will be attended by the Head of State Hifikepunye Pohamba, Namibia’s Founding President Sam Nujoma and other dignitaries. The 63-year-old Tjitendero died on April 26 at the Roman Catholic Hospital after a long illness.