President Hage Geingob has called on his countrymen and women to emulate the deeds of those before them and become economic heroes and heroines.
“My generation led Africa to political freedom. The current generation of leaders and people of Africa must pick up the flickering torch of African freedom, refuel it with their enthusiasm and determination, and carry it forward,” Geingob said.
The Head of State was addressing thousands who had gathered at Heroes Acre to commemorate Heroes Day, as well as the interment of the remains of three legendary figures of the liberation struggle: the late Anton Lubowski, the late Moses //Garoëb and the late Peter Mweshihange yesterday.
Geingob reminded those in attendance that only half of the battle has so far been won and that the second phase of the struggle for economic emancipation would require the same sacrifice and selflessness that the initial struggle for political self-determination demanded.
The celebration was attended by Zambian President Edgar Lungu as a guest of honour, with Vice-President Nickey Iyambo, Prime Minister Saara Kuungongelwa-Amathila, her deputy Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, as well as a bevy of ministers and high-ranking officials in attendance.
He said the people that the country honoured on Wednesday, and many of those buried at Heroes Acre, paid the ultimate price during the armed struggle. “They were brutalised, tortured, imprisoned and assassinated, all in the name of freedom,” he reminded his audience.
“They are exemplars of the selfless spirit and valour that only the bravest of souls possess,” he added. He said their sacrifices poured life into the soil and gave rise to the modern Republic, the land of the brave.
The president also stressed the need to maintain peace, saying it should never be taken for granted: “Let us therefore not take our freedom for granted. Let the peace that our brave sons and daughters fought so valiantly for not lull us into a sense of complacency.”
“Let peace not become boring,” he advised.
Independence was not handed to us on a silver platter, it was earned, and the currency was blood, he said, adding that the struggle for economic emancipation would also require Namibians to forget about selfish ambitions and instant wealth accumulation.
He noted that those who claim peace and stability has not brought them jobs or wealth should heed the words of Julius Nyerere, the former president of Tanzania, who said, “Unity will not make us rich, but it can make it difficult for Africa and the African people to be disregarded and humiliated. It will, therefore, increase the effectiveness of the decisions we make and try to implement for our people.”
“Let these powerful words by one of Africa’s foremost heroes against colonial rule serve as a reminder to
our youth,” Geingob said.
The Head of State further commended the people of Angola, Tanzania and Zambia, whom he said carried the torch of Pan-Africanism which guided Namibia in its darkest hours when it was still under the boot-heel of the apartheid regime.
President Geingob thanked Zambian President Lungu for gracing the event and also acknowledged the invaluable support of China and Cuba, which enabled Namibians to effectively conduct the armed struggle.
Geingob said Namibia, as a nation that benefitted greatly from international solidarity, should not forget its friends on the continent and in the international community who are still seized with their own battles for freedom.