Red carpet out for JohannaBy: SHEEFENI NIKODEMUS
PARALYMPIC gold and silver medalist Johanna Benson received a rousing reception when she stepped off the plane at the Hosea Kutako International Airport yesterday.
Hundreds of Namibians from all walks of life – including schoolchildren, various sport personalities, businesspeople and government officials – were on hand to welcome Johanna and the rest of her London Paralympic Games team-mates home.
Anxious to see her daughter, who had been away for over a month, a teary-eyed Baby Benson boarded the plane and embraced a sobbing Johanna.
Initially, Johanna appeared reluctant to get off the plane but after a soothing word or two in her ear from Deputy Sport Minister Pohamba Shifeta, the 22-year-old star plucked up the courage to get through the door and down to the waiting masses.
Colourfully adorned supporters sang and danced while waving Namibian flags and holding aloft posters of the ‘Golden Girl’.
Greeting every cheer with a wide smile, Johanna hugged her fans, shook hands and posed for a few photos before being whisked away to Windhoek for a parade down Independence Avenue.
“She has done it to inspire our sportsmen and women,” remarked Shifeta.
Sport Minister Kazenambo Kazenambo added: “Our hearts go out to her mother who gave her food, clothed her and brought her up. Our Golden Girl has lit the torch for us to become a winning nation. Once we have mastered the ropes we will become unbeatable.”
Today she has been invited to a banquet at State House by President Hifikepunye Pohamba to hear “what the State will do for our golden girl,” added Kazenambo.