Hereros Mourn Late Chief Tjikuua

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By Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK

Mourners are expected to converge on Okakarara and late Chief John Jaarurako Tjikuua’s homestead village of Omupanda this weekend to pay him their last respects.

Chief Tjikuua will be laid to rest tomorrow at Ongombembonde (Waterberg), about three kilometres north of where he started school in 1940.

The official funeral programme begins midday today when the hearse arrives at the Red Flag commando in Okakarara where he will be saluted by the Royal army.

The hearse will then stop over at the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) office before proceeding to Omupanda where is it expected at 13h40.
Messages of condolences will then follow from 17h20 until nine o’clock in the evening.

The funeral service starts six o’clock in the morning tomorrow (Saturday) and is expected to last until eleven o’clock when the traditional funeral ritual takes place.

Although he was not recognised by Government, there is no mistaking that among his people he was a leader of note.

Since his passing at his house in Okakarara last Tuesday at the age of 76, the clarion call has been coming from every corner imaginable where Otjiherero is spoken for people to get ready for his burial, testimony to his undisputed leadership among his people and his likeability and popularity.

Among these voices was that of Ovambanderu Senior Chief Erastus Kahuure, who in paying tribute through the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Otjiherero Language Service’s morning current affairs programme Keetute, earlier this week appealed to his people to get ready for the Chief’s funeral.

Kahuure testified to the late Chief’s wisdom and courage, having crossed paths with him several times, and swords as well – albeit not personally – during meetings, among these a meeting at the Namibia Institute for Educational Development (NIED) in Okahandja.

This was the time when the Ovambanderu sought an independent status for Otjimbanderu as a language.

Cautious not to cause ruptures in the fragile Ovambanderu/Ovaherero unity, late Chief Tjikuua was equally vocal about the possible divisive outcome of de-linking the two languages. He made his opposing views heard without disenchanting himself with the Ovambanderu, according to Kahuure.

Close associate in arms in the quest for the recognition of Ovaherero traditional leaders and kith and kin, Katuutire Kaura, says the Ovaherero shall sorely miss late Chief Tjikuua’s leadership among them of close to 27 years. “It is very difficult to replace him,” – this short acclamation belies Kaura’s deeply-felt sense of loss and despair.

Late Chief Tjikuua was one of first learners to register with the Waterberg School when it opened its doors in 1940. He was seven years later to complete standard six (Grade 8) at the same school.

After completing this level of schooling, he became actively involved in Ovaherero traditional matters, especially the quest for freedom. In view of this membership of Chief Hosea Kutako’s Chief’s Council was natural. As being a co-founding member of the Protestant Unity Church, otherwise known as Oruuano, a breakaway group from the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

In this political activism configuration there was no way that he could escape also being a co-founder of the South West African National Union (Swanu) in 1959.

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