by Kuzeeko Tjitemisa
She was a mother above all else. A mother to her children and also to many Namibians in exile abroad, to whom she wholeheartedly opened her home, yet her friendship was not only extended to Namibians but to many others.
These were some of the tributes paid to Sandra Tjitendero during a memorial service held at the Parliament Gardens on Saturday.
Mourners included the Vice-President Nickey Iyambo, Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi and his wife Jane, former First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba, Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, former Speaker Theo-Ben Gurirab and Swapo Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba, among others.
The late Sandra passed away on July 26 at the age of 66 in Chorin, Germany, where she was attending a wedding. She was the widow of the first Speaker of the Namibian National Assembly, Dr Mosé Penaani Tjitendero, who died in 2006.
Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said Sandra will be remembered for her unconditional love and selfless service to humanity.
“Meme Tjitendero was a very friendly person. She helped to create more friendship between Namibia and the international community,” she said. Nandi-Ndaitwah said Sandra’s commitment made her what she was and her husband Moses Tjitendero, a committed freedom fighter, was able to do what he did because of the strong support he got from his wife, Sandi, as she was affectionately known.
“If there is any inheritance that we must inherit from Meme Sandi it will be the love she had for all. Let us inherit that love,” she said.
“Born in America, lived in Africa, buried in Europe, what a journey, a journey of love, as she believed that the world was her place,” the deputy PM added.
Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi described Sandra Tjitendero as a mother of all, a woman who provided refuge and comfort to many Namibians abroad.
“When Mosé was elected as the first Speaker of the National Assembly, Sandra supported him as he built up Namibia’s democratic parliamentary structures; and in his work in various parliamentary institutions Sandra was always there and gave him full support,” he said, adding that her constant support was also deeply appreciated by late Dr Tjitendero’s friends abroad.
Sandra was actively involved in the community and engaged in various educational activities during the time in exile at Swapo centres in Angola, where they had lived before being repatriated to Namibia just prior to independence.
A follower of the Bahai faith, she was buried in Berlin, Germany last week. She is survived by her brothers, children and grandchildren.