Families say reburials brings closure

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Windhoek

The family of the three liberation struggle heroes who were reburied yesterday at Heroes Acre said the event brought closure and that they were happy with the honour bestowed on the departed.

The reburial of the remains of the three struggle icons – Anton Lubowski, Peter Mweshihange and Moses //Garoëb – took place yesterday on Heroes Day, which is celebrated annually on August 26.

The widows of //Garoëb and Mweshihange were accompanied by their children and relatives but the widow of Lubowksi, Gabrielle, was alone.

An anti-apartheid lawyer and Swapo member, Lubowski was killed on September 12, 1989 by bullets fired from a passing car as he alighted from his vehicle, briefcase in hand, in front of his home in Sanderburg Street, Klein Windhoek.

Gabrielle flew in from Cape Town to attend her husband’s reburial. She said her children, Almo and Nadia, could not accompany her as they were out of the country.

When asked what the event meant to her, she said that it brought back memories of the loss the family suffered with Anton being violently removed from their lives.

“It reminds me of the loss, but the reburial was an amazing event. I can feel Anton smiling down on us. It has brought peace to us as a family. Justice is done,” said Gabrielle.

Lubowski left behind his wife and two children. But Gabrielle said she now has two grandchildren.

The wife of //Garoëb, Carol, said there was “something about the ceremony and it’s closure”.

“We can move on now. It feels good. It’s a peaceful closure,” she said, adding that seeing the casket being lowered into the grave for a second time she simply said to herself, “Ou Mox” – a name she affectionately used when addressing him.

She said that on her way to Heroes Acre she remembered her husband’s beautiful smile and jokes. “He had jokes for anything. He had a big sense of humour and would do anything for peace,” said //Garoës as her face lit up with a smile.

She said their seven children are now all grown-up. “There are eight bouncing grandchildren.”

She said the children could not wait for the moment “to put their father to rest”.

“It has been 17 years and 11 months, that’s how long we’ve waited.”

//Garoëb was the Minister of Labour and Human Resources at the time of his death. He passed away on September 19, 1997.

An 101-year-old aunt of //Garoëb also attended the event.  The elderly woman Petrina Gawanas said through a family interpreter that she was thankful and happy that //Garoëb is recognized as a leader, and for his reburial at Heroes Acre. “We still remember him,” said Gawanas.

The daughter of Peter Mweshihange, Lyaalukeni, said they were happy that their father has been honoured with a hero’s burial in recognition of his contribution to the liberation struggle.

“We are excited he has joined his peers that are also lying at Heroes Acre.”

While talking to the reporter over the phone she said the family was receiving guests including extended family members because the reburial meant a lot to them.

“We are celebrating his life and giving gratitude to everyone who supported us during this time.”

Mweshihange was the first Minister of Defence after independence. In 1996, Mweshihange became the first Namibian Ambassador to China. He died on March 20, 1998. He left behind his wife Julia and eight children and over 13 grandchildren.

Lyaalukeni  said that two of her older siblings had passed on and three were out of the country.

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