Official funeral for Nujoma’s sister questioned

Frieda Daniel

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president McHenry Venaani has accused the committee tasked with granting state and official funerals of bias and favouritism.

This follows the late Frieda Daniel (91), the sister of founding president Sam Nujoma, being accorded an official funeral.
Daniel died at Ongwediva on 12 June.

She was laid to rest at Oneeke cemetery near Okahao on Saturday.

He also noted disparities in the treatment of political figures like former Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) president Katutire Kaura and Moses Katjihongua.

Venaani said he wrote to former president Hage Geingob and vice president Nicky Iyambo to erect a tombstone on Nganjone’s grave, which did not happen.

“I don’t know what is so special about this sister of Nujoma being tortured by South Africans. The apartheid regime was torturing too many people,” he said.

He said Moses Katjiongua was also not accorded a funeral, despite being one of the writers of the Constitution.
Political analyst Henning Melber says the recognition accorded Nujoma’s sister underlines the different categories of people in Namibian society.

McHenry Venaani


He says the honour is an illustration of George Orwell’s dictum in ‘Animal Farm’ that all animals are equal, but some are ‘more equal’ than others.

“This shows not the same criteria are applied to all Namibians,” he says.

“Recognising Frieda Daniel through an official funeral gives her prominence she does not deserve, compared to the numerous unknown and known others,” he says.

Melber says official funerals should be limited to a much smaller number of people.

In a speech read on his behalf by his son Utoni at Daniel’s memorial service at Etunda village on Friday, Nujoma described his sister as a pioneering veteran of the national liberation struggle.

Nujoma said Daniel, together with the entire family, survived intimidation and harassment by the apartheid security forces because they were his family members.

President Nangolo Mbumba this weekend in a speech read on hos behalf, also by Utoni: “The Nujoma family suffered immense harassment and brutality at the hands of apartheid forces due to their political activism and their relations to the revolutionary liberation struggle icon, founding president Sam Nujoma.”

Mbumba said Daniel was a mother figure to many at her village and earned a reputation as a humble, kind-hearted, highly spiritual person.

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa said the party appreciated Mbumba’s decision to grant Daniel an official funeral.

Okahao constituency councillor Leonard Shikulo who was the director of the ceremony, thanked Mbumba for this gesture.

Retired general secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia Alpo Enkono said Daniel was a guiding star to all and a great patriot who will be missed.

Daniel’s cousin Hertha Uutoni said Daniel had to change her surname from Nujoma to Daniel because of the way she was treated by the apartheid forces.

Uutoni said Daniel and her mother Helvi would hide in the family’s mahangu field as the apartheid government would visit their house at night looking for Nujoma.

“The apartheid soldiers believed that Sam Nujoma would sneak into the house at night. She (Frieda) and her mother would be beaten by apartheid soldiers. This forced her to change her surname from Nujoma to Daniel,” Uutoni said.

She said Daniel’s mother was also beaten and injured by the apartheid government.

According to Uutoni, one of Daniel’s brothers, Uushona, lost his life at the hands of apartheid forces.

Her father, Uutoni Daniel Nujoma, was arrested and taken to a South African prison and was brought back to Etunda village bedridden, she said.

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