Mbumba pays tribute to Meme Namundjebo


Helvy Shaanika

Oshakati-The secretary general of Swapo, Nangolo Mbumba, has described late Queen Namundjebo as a mother to many. Meekulu Queen Elizabeth Mwahangelai Namundjebo died on Friday at the age of 83 at Oshakati State Hospital following a long illness.

Speaking to New Era’s sister paper, Kundana, Mbumba said meekulu Namundjebo was a unique personality who loved her country and was committed to her people. Because of her love, she suffered physical and psychological torture and economic hardship at the hands of the apartheid regime.

“She did not have many children of her own, but she took all of us as her children. She was indeed a queen and whenever you are in her company she made sure that you were properly treated.

“She sacrificed her resources, including her house where she housed and cared for a lot of people, including my very good friend Ben Zaaruka. Ben and I thought we were her favourite children, but she just loved everyone,” Mbumba said.

Meekulu Elizabeth Namundjebo and her two late brothers Joel and Eliakim Namundjebo were among the first black people that introduced black entrepreneurship in the northern Namibia.

When she related her story to this reporter three years ago, Meekulu Namundjebo revealed that she had joined the Ovamboland People’s Organisation (OPO) in 1963 and saw the organisation transformed into Swapo.

In 1975, she became a pioneer prisoner of Oshakati Prison, as it was specially constructed for her and her co-accused, who like her, were arrested for being members of Swapo.

“There was no prison in Oshakati at the time, so they made shacks especially for us. I remember that the concrete floor of my tiny corrugated iron cell was still wet when I got locked up.

“We were tortured with electricity and electric shocks were so bad that many times I fell on my back. That is why up until today I suffer from chronic kidney and back pains,” she earlier related.

She spent two years in prison, of which some time was served in Oshakati, Ogongo, Otavi, Windhoek and Swakopmund, while constantly experiencing torture at the hands of her jailers.

“I understand the policy of national reconciliation that was introduced by our leaders, but I am sorry, I swear, I’ll never forgive those people (her torturers). I hope God will forgive them one day,” she said at the time.

She and her co-accused were acquitted on charges of violating the Prevention of Terrorism Act and were released in 1977.

Those close her and her brothers, who were also involved in the struggle, equally suffered. Among them was a 14-year-old girl, who was also sent to prison.

When her elder brother, Joel, was mysteriously murdered meekulu Queen and her younger brother, Eliakim, could not mourn for their brother as they were arrested that same day. Her brother Eliakim died in a car accident at the dawn of independence.

“All I know is that when we were fighting, we were not fighting for money, but we were fighting for Namibia’s independence. Nowadays people are just consumed too much by the love of money. Let’s work hard first and build our county and the love of money should come second,” she said.

The late Queen Namundjebo’s memorial service is scheduled for Friday at her residence in Ongwediva, while the proceedings of the funeral will take place at Odibo St Mary Anglican Church. The burial will take place at Omafo Cemetery.

She is survived by her two brothers Fillipus Hanyemunange Namundjebo and her sister, Monika Namundjebo.


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