Traditional leaders opt for Malakadraaiservices for Geingob

AREA … The open space near Malakadraai at Katutura, where residents gather daily.

… official Govt memorial services shunned

Residents of Katutura, led by /Khomanin Traditional Authority chief Juliane Gawa!Nas, are hosting separate, unofficial memorial services in honour of president Hage Geingob.

Senior /Khomanin Traditional Authority councillor Rudolph Witbeen on Wednesday said the authority has decided to host these services because of the distance between Katutura and the official venues and the president’s private residence, Casa Rosalia.

This is despite the state hosting memorial services at Independence Arena, which is about three kilometres from where the authority is gathering.

“The reason is simple: The majority of people cannot go to Independence Stadium and other venues,” he said.

Witbeen said the Damara king, Justus //Garoëb, is only expected to join the activities when a “sacred fire” is to be lit at Casa Rosalia next week.

The group has been gathering near Malakadraai, which is a well known area behind the old cinema on Shanghai Street since last week, where Chief Gawa!Nas also lit a sacred fire.

Witbeen said they will have a normal service as per their custom, which includes songs and traditional rituals.

He said the |Gaiodaman clan from Otavi, to which Geingob belongs, is also part of the activities.

Chief Immanuel /Gaseb of the Oe-#Gan Traditional Authority says people are disgruntled with the manner in which the state is handling Geingob’s funeral arrangements.

“It doesn’t look good,” he says.

He says his office is inundated with many questions from elders asking why Geingob cannot be taken to the Otjozondjupa region, where he originates from.

“We have elders who cannot make the journey to Windhoek and would like to see their friend and president for the last time.

LIT … The sacred fire lit in honour of late president Hage Geingob. Photos: Ester Mbathera

“I have asked these questions, but they have fallen on deaf ears,” he says.

/Gaseb says people are unhappy because they will not be allowed near the grave on the day of the burial.

“Everyone has their roots. Is this the way things are done, and will it be done for every other state person?

“Those are the questions the people are asking us daily, and we have no answers. It looks like this funeral is for the elites and politicians only,” he says.

/Gaseb says speakers at state memorial services are restricted with regards to time and content of what they want to deliver.

/Gaseb is scheduled to deliver a statement on behalf of the Traditional Authorities Council on Friday.


Briefing notes for all speakers at memorial services issued by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology dictate that the content should focus on Hage Geingob the global statesman, pan-Africanist and president of Namibia.

The speakers are also limited with regards to personal anecdotes.

“Maximum care should be taken in delivering a relevant and appropriate statement for the occasion. Remember, the world is watching us . . . “ the notes read.

/Gaseb, however, says: “It was sent to me. It even includes the rule that I should take off my hat. This unhappiness is brewing in people’s hearts, and one day if it comes out, it will come out the wrong way.”

Historian Kletus Likuwa says: “From our understanding, president Geingob is first a nationalist rather than going back to ethnicity . . . We have seen in most cases that the nationalist aspirations seem always to trample over ethnicity-based thinking. That is what we are seeing, and it brings conflict and confusion.”

Political analyst Rui Tyitende describes the briefing notes as censorship at the highest level.

“This is censorship at the highest level as it infringes on free speech in a democratic society that president Geingob championed. He was not a saint or an emissary of God. He was a human being with his limitations, and I think it is only fair that people speak to his true nature . . . As a democracy, we should be intellectually honest and steer clear of choreographed speeches. This is not North Korea,” he says.

Executive director of information and communication technology Aundrin Mathe says the state cannot dictate public events.
He says the briefing notes are to avoid controversy.

“The national preparatory committee is responsible for offering speakers some suggestions to achieve the purpose, which is to mourn our departed president. Surely that cannot be controversial,” he says.

Geingob will be buried at Heroes’ Acre, which caters for a maximum of 5 000 people.

The state is yet to pronounce itself on the type of funeral he will be accorded.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News