30th Anniversary of Chief David Goreseb’s Death

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Yesterday marked the 30th commemoration of the death of well-known Damara leader, Chief David Goreseb, who died at the age of 85 in the Katutura Hospital on October 25, 1976. The official commemoration of the late chief is to be held at Okombahe in November to coincide with the Damara traditional festival. Chief Goreseb was the driving force behind the early political mobilization of the Damara people. For 23 years before independence, he led the Damara people during the most difficult period of colonial rule. He was born on September 18, 1891 in Okombahe and had eleven children. Upon his return from Omaruru in 1908, following further studies, he was a regular interpreter for Chief Cornelius Goreseb, until the death of the latter in 1910. In an interview with New Era, a descendant of the Goreseb family, Theophelus Gurirab, said the Chief was regarded as a very calm, trustworthy and dedicated leader and teacher. “He was a spiritual and ambitious man with leadership qualities. He ended up being appointed as a pastor for the local Roman Catholic Church and, in so doing, served the community well,” narrated Gurirab. As a prominent leader, Goreseb was not only visible in the field of religion, but also on the political front. “He put his weight behind the modern young opposition politicians of the Seventies and, as a result, was disliked and rejected on occasions by colonial forces,” said Gurirab. Goreseb also played a part in the liberation struggle of the country. Shortly after the exodus of progressive leaders into exile and the petitioning of South Africa’s illegal occupation of the then South West Africa, the United Nations sent two representatives to Namibia. Their mission was to tour the country, meet all the leaders and determine the living conditions of the inhabitants and establish the aspirations of the Namibians with regard to nationhood, freedom and independence. During the visit, Goreseb was one of the leaders who held discussions with the UN representatives. Goreseb fell sick in 1976 and died on October 25 of that same year. On numerous occasions, although the Chief indicated that his nephew, Immanuel /GÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚Âseb, was to succeed him, Damara people opted for the then Senior Headman, Justus //Garoeb.