Funeral on Sunday for dignified send-off

Emma Theofelus

Minister of information and communication technology minister Emma Theofelus said president Hage Geingob’s funeral was moved to a Sunday, 25 February to give him a dignified burial.

Initially, the funeral was set for Saturday, 24 February.

“We have decided as a government that in order to give a dignified burial and to give all Namibians time to mourn their beloved president Hage Geingob, president Nangolo Mbumba will declare Sunday, 25 February, a public holiday,” she said. This means that Namibians will have 26 February as a holiday, given that the public holiday falls on a Sunday.

Historian Hans #Eixab says Sunday funerals are held for great community leaders, because most members of the public are off on that day.
He says the burial of a leader is also not held in the morning, but after sunset.

“This is so that his spirit can move on to the ancestors and is also to signal to the people that his soul is resting in peace. This will give the forefathers a chance to watch over those who are left behind,” he says.

Eixab says during the funeral, a town crier would blow a kudu horn to announce the death of a great person in the Damara tradition.

“But on Saturday evening, we will have a night vigil and sing throughout the night. At around 04h00, the fire will be lit and historians and praise singers will again talk to the ancestral spirits and hand over the spirit of the departed so that they can elevate it to the higher being,” he says.

The town crier, according to him, will continue with poems and praises at the gravesite, followed by the lowering of the casket.

Eixab says Geingob could have been buried at the ancestral burial site with the leaders at Okombahe, or with his relatives at Otavi or Grootfontein.

Because he is a statesman, however, being buried at the Auas Mountains in the Khomas region is perfect, since he was everyone’s leader.
“We will sprinkle buchu and bless the grave. The religious rites will continue after the traditional rituals,” he says.

He says women would have to stand at a distance at the funeral.

Eixab says the first lady’s face will be covered throughout, which is why she has been wearing a mask since the death of the president.

At the gravesite, she will be allowed time to bid her husband farewell.

“She is supposed to be covered fully throughout, but exceptions were made in her case,” #Eixab says.

He asks that traditionalists be allowed to make a fire to carry out traditional Damara activities.

The chairman of the Council of Traditional Leaders, Immanuel /Gaseb, welcomes the decision to bury Geingob on a Sunday.

“Sunday is the last day of the week. Saturday funerals are usually to allow people to travel back home but in this case Monday is a public holiday. A funeral is to say goodbye and we don’t want to say goodbye and turn around immediately,” he says.

/Gaseb calls on the government to prohibit drinking alcohol on the day of the funeral to show the late president respect.

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