04 February 2024
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) joins the National Union of Namibian Workers and the people of Namibia in mourning the passing of its President, Dr. Hage Geingob. He succumbed to a long battle to cancer in Windhoek. We share the painful the loss of this giant of not only Namibia but in fact the entire Southern African region. The Federation offers its sincere condolences to the Geingob family, his movement the South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) and the Namibian people.
President Geingob has left an indelible imprint on the history of Namibia and in particular its liberation struggle to break the shackles of colonial and apartheid rule. He made his contribution to the democratic success story that is Namibia today.
Not only is 82 years a milestone to have reached but his journey from his birth in Otjiwarongo in northern Namibia to his tenure as Namibia’s longest serving Prime Minister and 3rd President has been a remarkable one. His election as President in 2015 was testimony to the maturity of Namibia’s democracy given his coming from its Damara minority which constitutes 8.5% of its people.
In spite of all the obstacles that apartheid and colonial rule placed in front of his generation, he embraced education as a life young journey and found his way from Otavi where he received his schooling to universities in the United States and Great Britain, culminating in his earning a PhD.
He dedicated his life to liberating his people, leading him to join SWAPO and into exile in Botswana and later the United States where he spent many years placing the cause of Namibian independence firmly on the agenda of the United Nations and the international community.
President Geingob remained an activist and internationalist and more recently spoke out eloquently in support of the case lodged by South Africa at the International Court of Justice in defence of the Palestinian people, in particular from the current genocide being unleashed by an apartheid Israeli regime and in support of the right of the Palestinian people to an independent state. He played a pivotal role in the development of the Southern African Development Community and the integration of the region.
The bonds between South Africa and Namibia have been nurtured over many years and enriched by blood spilt in pursuit of liberation. Their loss is our loss. Whilst this is a painful moment, we are comforted by the progressive constitutional dispensation that governs Namibia and its people’s strong sense of unity.
Issued by COSATU
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