Geingob is a folklore hero – Seibeb

Henny Seibeb

Today we are sitting here on this second day of the ninth session of the seventh National Assembly, remembering the contemporary life and times of our dearly departed president, Hage Geingob.

In summary, his life represents the sum total of rising from a humble poor peasant family to being a formidable statesman with a trademark swagger.

Geingob belonged to a generation of Africans who experienced radical upheaval from their earliest childhood.

As Karl Marx put it most succinctly in his 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte in 1852: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.”

His memory encompassed the painful effects, or rather the consequences of World War II, wars and catastrophes of the 20th century.

Geingob’s memory, his lived experience, witnessed the impact of the pre-colonial Africa inheritance, the deadly effects of the colonial Africa, its protracted liberation struggle, as well as post-colonial Africa affairs.

The era of structural adjustment, the influence of the Bretton Woods institutions on the African continent, neo-colonialism.

He lived through the hopes of political wind idealised and realised by the great pan-Africanists and statesmen of our times, such as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, and Abdel Hussein.

Geingob lived through the era of a post-colonial Africa and witnessed on many fronts the political regime changes and social reforms that, over time, gradually cleared a path for democracy in many African countries and the world.

In our folklore, in specific terms the Damaran people’s folklore, told by our families around traditional fires, our elders will always refer to the struggle wars, old and new wars, and whisper in our ears that there were three modern-day folklore heroes, the legendary liberation heroes from their perspective, namely Theo-Ben Gurirab, Moses //Garoeb, and Hage Geingob.

Due to the age factor, historical time and space, I was not really exposed to //Garoeb.

But through my short stint as a secretariat member of the politburo of Swapo’s central committee, I was exposed to the most legendary diplomats Namibia has ever produced – Gurirab and Geingob.

We used to hear stories of how intelligent and brave they were – in a mystic manner.

Upon their return, people rejoiced. War era stories were told. It was crystal clear in our ears, the names of the founding president, Sam Nujoma, Geingob and Gurirab.

It was music in our ears. His name became a reality, Hage Kaikhoeb Ge.

‘Ha ge’ literally means ‘he came back’.

His memory shall forever be intertwined with the struggles for freedom, justice, and democracy which have shaped our continent.

He had an ear for everyone – hence he accorded us a platform at State House so we could share our perspectives on governance.

In honouring Geingob, we pay tribute not only to a leader, but to a visionary whose legacy will continue to inspire generations to come.

May his spirit endure, a testament to the enduring strength and resilience of the African people.

Geingob, the true son of the soil, will forever be remembered in the annals of history.

In honouring, we must carry out his work through the creation of a Dr Hage Gottfried Geingob Foundation.

We have lost so many struggle heroes in our country, but their history has not been adequately recorded.

We will see others writing history for us and define us in a manner we don’t necessarily concur with.

Hence, we have debated the green hydrogen motion in parliament and dispatched it to the standing committee on natural resources to ensure its logical conclusion.

Sister Ayanda Dlodlo, former minister of public administration and state security in South Africa, now deployed by president Cyril Ramaphosa to the World Bank, called me from New York on Sunday, and personally thanked Geingob for Namibia’s stance with regards to Germany on the Palestine case before the International Court of Justice.

Our condolences to the late president’s widow, family, friends and the nation.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

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