Beyond Words: How a Eulogy Transformed the Conversation on Education, Mental Health, and Women’s Roles

Michael Conteh

WHAT IF 4 FEBRUARY 2024 never occurred?

What if madame Monica Geingos, the former first lady of Namibia, had not spoken at her husband’s funeral according to traditional gender roles which dictate that someone should speak on behalf of the widow?

Her decision to represent herself provided a rare opportunity to hear an authentic and humanising narrative that only she could have done with such eloquence and grace.

This departure from cultural norms is a courageous step towards greater inclusivity.

Thankfully, a transformation occurred after the former first lady tweeted on their wedding anniversary on 14 February that she could still “not find the words!”

She was still processing the irreparable loss of her husband.

On 24 February, she found the words and delivered an eloquent eulogy that will leave an indelible mark on our nation’s history and psyche.

In an era when leaders’ voices reach beyond their immediate audience, her eulogy for her late husband is a moving testament to the enduring power of words.

Her speech, delivered with grace and heartfelt emotion, went beyond personal loss to address broader societal issues, focusing on mental health.

This reflection will dissect the central themes of her eulogy, shedding light on topics such as mental health, unity, gender equality and women’s unwavering strength in society.


She approached the often taboo subject of mental health with compassion and understanding that carries profound societal implications.

By bringing this often-overlooked issue to the forefront at such a timely occasion as the nation mourns the death of the late president, Hage Geingob, she not only challenges the stigma associated with mental health, but also calls for a collective shift in how society views and handles mental well-being.

By sharing her insights and personal conviction, she emphasised the importance of destigmatising mental health issues and advocating a supportive community where people feel empowered to seek help and share their experiences without fear of being judged.


The theme of unity and strength permeated her speech, serving as a beacon of hope in times of division and strife.

She reminded our country that collective strength and solidarity are critical in overcoming societies’ numerous challenges.

Her call to action was clear: Promote a spirit of unity that transcends differences.


It is often said that behind every successful man is a woman.

After reflecting on the former first lady’s speech, I am confident that she has elevated the discourse on the role of women in our society.

The transformative power of education was clearly in play.

What if she was denied the opportunity to obtain an education? Please allow me to use her eulogy to renew our leaders’ commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

We can all agree and passionately argue for the need to break down systemic barriers that impede women’s progress and recognise women’s invaluable contributions to society.

Her message was a clarion call for gender equality, emphasising that empowering women is fair and necessary for societal progress.


Geingos’ eulogy was a moving tribute to the role of women in creating a better world.

Indirectly, her brilliantly crafted and delivered speech demonstrated the importance of a society where women’s contributions are valued equally to those of men and girls are encouraged to pursue their dreams with the same zeal as boys.

Her words served as a reminder of the need for societal and systemic changes to ensure women’s full and equal participation in all aspects of life.


Geingos’ eulogy left a legacy of inspiration and unity.

Her words have the potential to resonate across generations, inspiring action towards a more equitable, understanding and united society.

She has paved the way for future debate and action by addressing pressing issues such as mental health, gender equality and the power of education.

Her eulogy is a tribute to her late husband and a timeless reminder of the power that thoughtful, compassionate leadership can have on the world. Words matter!

More proof that our future is female!

Michael Conteh (PhD) is a gender expert and postdoctoral associate at Rutgers University Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice (ISGRJ), USA. The views expressed in this article are his own and do not reflect those of ISGRJ

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