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By: Pricilla Mukokobi

Former cabinet minister Immanuel Uarotua Ngatjizeko was laid to rest at Otjohorongo Village in Erongo Region on Saturday.

In his farewell speech on Friday, at the memorial service of the liberation movement icon, President Hage Geingob described Ngatjizeko as a son, father, brother, uncle, comrade, and friend. He said that although death may have robbed his family and friends of his physical presence, it will never kill his name or deprive them of the everlasting memories he left behind.

He described Ngatjizeko as a gallant son and hero of Namibia. The head of state said Ngatjizeko’s final gift to the country will be his revolutionary ideas, actions, values, and principles. “These constitute the foundation of a long-lasting legacy that will forever echo through the half of time.

“A man of profound through and intellect, from a young age, comrade Ngatjizeko was destined to achieve success in scholarly pursuits.,” said Geingob.

Ngatjizeko completed his matric at Augustinuem Secondary School in 1972. He enrolled at Fort Hare University in South Africa, where he completed a diploma in commerce and administration in 1974.

Geingob further said Ngatjizeko’s study collided with destiny as, in June 1976, there was a student protest by Soweto Students protest. He became a catalyst for uprising and revolution in South Africa and Namibia.

The late Ngatjizeko became a freedom fighter and joined Namibia’s Independence struggle. He surrendered an opportunity for further studies to join SWAPO in 1976 as a political activist.

“Comrade Ngatjizeko’s decision to give up his personal pursuits in favour of the struggle is aptly captured by the American Black Power activist Fred Hampton who said ‘you must understand that people have to pay the price for peace. If you dare to struggle, you dare to win,” Geingob said

He said this meant a lot to the Namibian people as some had to give up their jobs, education, while others left Namibia.

He said it meant that one must pay the highest price of all (giving up your life) to all that joined the struggle.

He added that these gallant sons and daughters dared to struggle.

He further said Ngatjizeko demonstrated his leadership skills and worked tirelessly to mobilize Namibians from all over the country to join SWAPO and the struggle for independence.

“After independence, comrade Ngatjizeko continued to serve Namibia. He was elected to the Swapo Central Committee in 1991. He served as a Mayor of Windhoek from 1999 to 2000, before becoming a member of parliament in 2000 and joining the cabinet in 2003.”

In 2007, he was elected to the Swapo Politburo. He served government as a deputy minister of mines and energy and director-general of the National Planning Commission from 2000 to 2005.

Ngatjizeko was appointed minister of trade and industry in 2005 before taking the portfolio of minister of labour and social welfare in 2008, a position he held until 2012 before becoming the safety and security minister and briefly minister in the presidency. He resigned shortly after and retired due to health issues.

“We bid farewell to an icon of the liberation Struggle and a beloved son of Namibia. He will be missed but never forgotten,” Geingob said.

Ngatjizeko died on 5 March at the age of 69 in Windhoek. His wife and children survived him.

PDM president McHenry Venaani encouraged Namibians not to mourn but instead celebrate the life Ngatjizeko lived and the achievements and ideals he stood for.

“He was a humble, none-imposing figure on the political theatre. We commiserate with his wife and children on his passing. May he rest softly unto the bosom of his creator till the last day,” he said.

Julia Heita

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