WINDHOEK – Namibian woman activist, politician and educator Ottilie Abrahams has died at the age of 80, in the Paramount Private Hospital in Windhoek due to ill health. Abrahams founded the Jacob Marengo Tutorial College in Katutura in 1985, and was an active politician who served in various political parties. Beside her passion for education, Abrahams was also a member of the Namibian Women’s movement, which deals with the Namibian children and students.
The late Abrahams sister, Cynthia Schimming who confirmed her death to New Era yesterday said the family is still in shock over the death of Abrahams.
She said her sister passed away yesterday morning after a short illness.
“My sister was sick. She was admitted in the Roman Catholic Hospital and she was out and went back to school. On Friday, I went to see her and we were talking about school. She really was an educator. It did not even cross my mind that she will not be here today. I think Nora [Schimming] was ready to go, but this one, I think, was still thinking that she will go back and teach. Its hard to follow in their footsteps because they really left a mark,” said a grief-stricken Schimming.
Abrahams who was the late Norah Schimming-Chase’s sister became politically active while at school in Cape Town, South Africa. She joined the South West Africa Student Body in 1952 and later became active in the Cape Peninsula Students Union and the Non-European Unity Movement.
She and other activists formed the Yu Chi Chan Club, a secret Maoist organisation.
An acclaimed academic and renowned political analyst, Dr Joseph Diescho expressed his shock at Abrahams’ death.
“I am really beyond shock. I am getting angry at God for taking away the people who have been shining the light on our path before independence and more necessary now when we need people to remind us of who we are, where we came from to become an independent nation and better people,” he said.
Diescho said he does not have the word to express his anger at God.
“I want to ask God what it all means that we are being left on our own, when times is such that we don’t care anymore about one another. We only care about what we get and how we take away from the needy and the vulnerable,” he reacted.
Diescho said Abrahams was there when he was a young student and with her husband, they cared for him and other students and looked forward for a better future for them.
He called on Namibians to reflect on what Abrahams and her generation strived for, in order to look beyond “our own predicaments and invite back messages of the struggle that brought us where we are today”.
Abrahams leaves behind three children and an unspecified number of grandchildren. Schimming said it is too early for any funeral arrangements as the family is yet to sit and sort out all the logistics.