Tötemeyer: A man of God, family and nation

Gerhard Tötemeyer

Namibia bid Gerhard Tötemeyer farewell at a memorial service at the Swakopmund German Evangelical Lutheran Church on Friday.

The service was attended by family members, friends, colleagues, and local politicians.

Reverend Uwe Schutte, a friend and fellow church member, led the service, remembering Tötemeyer not only as a distinguished academic and politician, but as a loving father of four, a devoted husband and a playful grandfather of six.

He was described as a man of strong faith, evident in his commitment to the church and his tireless pursuit of ethical and just practices.

While Tötemeyer’s public career as the deputy minister of local government and housing, the head of elections and an academic luminary was widely acknowledged, his children offered a heartwarming glimpse into the private man.

MOURNING … Gerhard Tötemeyer’s wife professor Andree-Jeanne Tötemeyer accompanied by their eldest son Reinhard Tötemeyer. Photo: Adam Hartman

His eldest son, Reinhard, shared his father’s motto: “Don’t just accept the status quo. Question it and if it doesn’t measure up, set things right.”

This instilled in them a spirit of activism and a drive to make a difference – just like their father.

Daughter Sonja du Plessis remembered Tötemeyer not just as “Papa”, but as a friend, comrade and “tatekulu” (respected elder).
She spoke of his unwavering convictions, pursued even at personal cost and his unique way of combining faith and activism.

Du Plessis reminisced about his Sunday sermons, followed by his legendary five-course breakfasts, highlighting his ability to balance passion with warmth.

Even in his final days, Tötemeyer was busy writing a book on the relationship between Namibia’s church and state, showcasing his lifelong commitment to research.

“He was always on a mission. May his legacy live with those whose hearts he touched,” she said.
A minute of silence was held in parliament just after Tötemeyer’s death.

Schutte highlighted Tötemeyer’s strong faith.

Tributes poured in from across the political and academic spectrum, recognising his pivotal role in shaping Namibia’s democracy.

His dedication to electoral integrity, local governance and education has left an indelible mark on the nation’s development.

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