By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro
“We have to accept and keep papa’s memory alive. Your legacy will live on papa,” were the last words of little Vekarapo Rauana Tangi Murangi to his departed papa Nokokure Noko Murangi, before leading mourners in the Evangelical Lutheran Church Macedonia congregation into prayer.
“Our Father in Heaven, take my beloved dad into your kingdom with pleasure and love. Keep him safe for me to know that he is alright wherever he is up there. And please keep us safe and let us overcome this accident,” an extremely composed 10-year-old Rauana prayed, making it difficult for some of the mourners to hold back their tears.
Rauana represented the voice of late Noko’s children as hundreds of mourners from all walks of life filed in to fill the benches of the church hall to capacity, compelling the church administration to resort to backups with chairs.
And in the words of Rauana for the keeping of his papa’s legacy, certainly Noko leaves a legacy behind, as speaker after speaker testified in tribute.
“It is our hope that the illustrious and industrious life of Nokokure that made him a people’s servant for Namibia and all nations of SADC in such a short time, have instantly turned sorrow into joy,” Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah was among the first to recognise Noko’s legacy, promising in a tribute delivered on her behalf by her Permanent Secretary, Mbeuta wa Ndjarakana that “we shall continue remembering Nokokure at every occasion of our independence anniversary.”
She also thanked the late Noko’s family for bringing him up in “a responsible manner and donating him first to serve Namibia and the SADC region so well”.
She concluded by acknowledging the country’s long-lasting indebtedness to his spirit and pledged commitment to completing the unfinished business left behind by the departed.
Trade and Industry Minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko read President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s condolence message, describing Noko as a “selfless, patriotic and exceptionally talented son of Namibia who dedicated his life to the course of emancipating his country from the yoke of apartheid colonial oppression. Mr Murangi contributed immensely to the developmental achievements of post-independent Namibia.”
The message further said that the passing on of Nokokure “is not only a loss to his family, friends and work colleagues, but also to the entire Namibian nation and the SADC region at large”.
Delivering his own message Ngatjizeko also fell in line echoing the late Noko’s legacy and celebrating especially his brilliance which saw him cruising through the ranks of the ministry from a Cadet Trade Promotion Officer to a Deputy Director.
“As a Namibian trade negotiator, he passionately and in an able manner articulated and represented Namibia’s trade and economic interests at regional and international trade negotiating forums. He will surely be remembered for this invaluable contribution for many years to come.”
Not only that but on the social front Noko also demonstrated himself towards his colleague as a “very intelligent, selfless, principled and aspiring colleague who naturally shared his extraordinary professional knowledge and experience”.
The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), Tswelopele Moremi, equally joined the chorus on the legacy of Noko. “In all of those instances, Noko distinguished himself as a brilliant, committed and insightful trade diplomat and a good networker.
“In this regard the SACU chief negotiators quickly came to rely on him as one of the top regional experts on trade negotiations,” she reflected on her path crossing that of Noko’s with whom she had a working relationship spanning more than a decade.
This relationship, starting with Botswana-Namibia bilateralism while Noko was working for the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Moremi was the Permanent Secretary of Botswana’s counterpart ministry, naturally transformed into a friendship.
The relationship saw the two working closely on various international trade forums like the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Doha negotiations. In all this Noko was motivated by the need to develop the Southern African region.
“Noko will be missed for his insightfulness, kindness and friendly disposition on both the official and social encounters he has had with the SACU secretariat colleagues. His illustrious career and dedication will inspire all of us to continue the good work and build on the foundations that he laid,” said Moremi.
Vitura Kavari shares a few commons with the late Noko. So to speak he was his homeboy having both been born in the same village of Okomumbonde in the Epukiro constituency of the Omaheke Region.
Secondly, they attended the same primary school, the same junior secondary and secondary school. And they left together into exile in 1980. “As a fellow exile from Namibia, who was senior to Noko Murangi, I can happily testify that to this day I cannot recall a single assignment given to him both as an activist and student that he did not execute with remarkable perspicacity,” said Kavari, attributing him with strength, discipline and principles which were all necessary during the trial and tribulations of life in exile.
“Commitment, perseverance and dedication are characteristic features that defined the person Noko Murangi,” Kavari added to the inexhaustible list of Noko attributes.
Kavari further testified to the intensive engagement of Noko in international trade issues and to the fact that his capability could not be doubted in this regard. “However, he perceived that his career advancement in the Ministry was being stifled and he felt emphatically that he was being intellectually suffocated and professionally hamstrung and characteristically the fighter he was he had to find a way out!”
Committing the mortal remains of Noko to his ancestors, of course to the uneasiness of Pastor Joshua Musutua, who delivered the sermon, Kavari described Noko as “an intellectual with the ability to hew intelligibility out of a cliff-face thus enabling to discourse intelligently and sophisticatedly about the simplest archaic primitive concepts.”
A Pan-Africanist and Internationalist he only knew one race, the human race. Kavari concluded his tribute describing Noko as an optimist believing in progress and history’s inevitability on which he engaged friends and acquaintances, invoking especially the doctrine of historical inevitability as it labours under dialectical materialism.
Festus Kauraratjo and Dr Tangeni Iijambo of the Tuahupa edutainer music group singing Kumbaya in tribute to the late Nokokure Murangi.