President Hage Geingob urged Namibians not to take peace and stability for granted while forgetting that around the world people yearn for the very peace and stability that Namibia enjoys today.
“Every day we witness scores of people being killed, while others risk death to flee their countries of birth, never to return again. In Namibia, these nightmare scenarios are a distant memory, and many of our younger generations are unable to relate to such horrible situations,” the president said during the commemoration of Heroes Day in Walvis Bay.
That peace, he said, is all due to the fact that “those who came before us laid down their lives so that freedom and peace can prevail today”.
“Freedom and peace, which we should jealously guard lest we fall back to the dark days of the past. We have too much to be happy for. We enjoy the safety of our nation and the harmony that exists amongst us,” he said to the 13 000 Namibians who attended the commemoration at a fully packed Kuisbemond Stadium on Friday morning at Walvis Bay.
Heroes Day commemorates the battle of Omugulugwombashe on August 26, 1966, when South African soldiers attacked People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) fighters, marking the start of Namibia’s liberation struggle.
The president asked that each Namibian makes a difference in the transformation of the country – whether it is at their respective homes, schools, churches, workplaces or communities.
He added that the spirit of Harambee, the ability of all to always desire to pull together in one direction, must become an attitude of mind and a way of life.
“Once we adopt this mindset we will be able to bring about concrete change even in the most challenging of circumstances,” the president said.
Geingob also noted that Namibia today is faced with new enemies, which are unfortunately invisible.
“They have no soldiers or armies and they have no form or shape. These enemies, such as poverty, corruption and tribalism, coupled with independent intervening variables such as drought and looming energy crises, cannot be defeated with armies. They can only be defeated through the collective effort of each and every Namibian such as the one displayed by our heroes during the struggle,” the president said.
He reminded Namibians that all have become combatants in this modern-day warfare.
“It is with this reality in mind that we have gone about establishing a new narrative for our modern-day Namibia. Let each and every one of us make a positive contribution to the development of our beautiful country,” he said.
He urged Namibians to take time to reflect on the sacrifices of heroes, which today allow them to live in a country founded on the principles of effective governance, respect for the rule of law, human life, dignity, and unity.
“It is one thing to honour our heroes and heroines with statues, monuments, songs and well-articulated tributes. However, if we truly want to honour the memory of our valiant sons and daughters, then the best way to do that is to preserve and build upon the principles they fought for,” Geingob said.
The president also paid tribute to the country’s current men and women in uniform who displayed their capabilities to defend the country during the commemorations, saying that they have inherited the torch of freedom and justice, passed on by those honoured during the commemorations.
He furthermore encouraged Namibians to continue the fight for progress and social justice.
“We too must leave a legacy for Namibia, a legacy built on the foundations of democracy and justice, on which future generations can continue to build this great country called Namibia,” he said.