ETUNDA – President Hage Geingob said on Saturday that Founding President Sam Nujoma’s role in reconciliation between former colonial masters in Southern Africa and those that they had colonised is not fully told.
He made the remarks as people from all walks of life gathered Saturday at Etunda village in Okahao, Omusati Region for Nujoma’s 89th birthday celebration.
Geingob, who served as prime minister for 12 years during the Nujoma presidency, said although former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe was the first reconciliator,
Nujoma followed and became the second to oversee reconciliation in a deeply divided society.
“This is how it started that we maintain peace and coexist with our former oppressors of whom some still think reconciliation was started because of weakness. But we are saying that we have reconciled at political level but at economic level, the land problem, we still have a long way to go,” Geingob said.
Geingob, in delivering his birthday message, said Nujoma served as a torch and comfort during the liberation struggle and was a revolutionary activist who advocated radical change, and walked the journey to independence with many people.
“He is an extraordinary Namibian and leader, someone who motivated people towards achieving a common goal. No one could have predicted that you, an infant from this part of our land, would one day grow to become a revolutionary and liberator of our people against an unjust and ruthless enemy,” Geingob said.
Geingob added that Namibia’s independence was irreversible and as the first president of a free and sovereign country, Nujoma pulled everyone together by promoting reconciliation, which is not spoken about much in Southern Africa.
During his speech Nujoma said that the unity and solidarity that bonded Namibians during the protracted struggle for the liberation of the country should inspire the nation to remain “one people”.
He said it is only through unity and solidarity that “we as a nation can overcome the countless economic and political challenges Namibia is facing”. Nujoma said that this year he dedicated his birthday celebration to all patriotic Namibians, including the born-frees and children and veterans of the liberation struggle. He was born on May 12, 1929 at Etunda village and played a crucial role in the independence of the country.
The birthday celebration was made possible by the Sam Nujoma Foundation with support from various companies and individuals through financial and logistical contributions.
Retired former prime minister Nahas Angula announced at the event that the Sam Nujoma Foundation was planning to build the Sam Nujoma Foundation Centre in the country to serve as a symbol of anti-colonial resistance and Pan-Africanism for the promotion of African ideals of unity, solidarity and justice.
“The Sam Nujoma Foundation is aimed at promoting and enhancing the principles, values and ideals for which Sam Nujoma stood – the values of justice, freedom, solidarity, sharing, and struggle for a common good,” said Angula.
The day was celebrated under the theme “Building the future through unity and solidarity”.