Thursday 15 April 2021
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A Tribute To The Late Honourable Dr Theo Ben Gurirab

When news filtered out on Saturday, July 14 that Comrade Theo Ben Gurirab had passed on, shock and disbelief ran through my being. Owing to the shock that engulfed my being and the pain and grief that permeated every nerve in my structure, his sudden demise was a personal loss in every sense of the word.
As I try with still a blurred vision to recollect the memories I have of him, I humbly appeal to the readers to bear with me for the possible inconsistency they might observe in my narrative. I was actually shocked and terrified by the news that the cold hands of death snatched my role model from us as a nation.
Although there are others who, I am sure, knew him more than me – I feel that I also knew him well enough to pay him these last respects. He was not only my leader but was also my role model as I said. This started at the time when I was studying in Cuba, where I met my English language teacher, Mrs Veronica Haufiku neé Mukwena. She strongly advised me that if I ever wanted a role model, apart from the Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma and uncle Ben Amadhila, I should closely try to emulate Comrade Theo Ben Gurirab.
Little did I know that we were both born in January and had similar character traits like our passion for reading and innate ability to write.
There is some kind of a teflon quality to the person and career of the late Comrade Gurirab– a husband and dad who was often spotted with his family. In him the country got a candidate who was as straitlaced in his private life as he was in his professional life. The happy result is that we had a seasoned and focused diplomat par excellence the country has ever produced.
He was hardworking, articulate and attentive to all and sundry.
I agree with those who described him as a giant of a man, diplomatic savvy and with unmatched revolutionary credentials. He was indeed a seasoned diplomat with globally acknowledged acumen who earned a wide reputation as a suave and skilled envoy who always promoted our country’s positive image. He was one of the country’s most distinguished diplomats who left deep marks in all areas of diplomatic front he worked at and practiced the ultimate objectives of diplomacy with an art of sophistication and calm approach, even in the midst of strife and discord.
I am deeply saddened by his passing as he was a truly unique figure who will be remembered for his tireless diplomacy, love of country, and pursuit of peace. He was without question one of the preeminent and successful Namibian politician. We have lost a fighter for the betterment of our country.
Work-wise, he was very effective and had an impeccable record not only as a shrewd and seasoned Swapo’s top diplomat but also an ardent negotiator with a distinguished diplomatic service.
Further, the Late Comrade Gurirab was profoundly a loyal and selfless leader. More so, he was unquestioningly proud and respected the Founding President immensely. As a matter of fact, he fiercely defended his record at the time they were both under a vicious campaign of mudslinging.  It is against this background that I remember one particular dream where he was standing with the Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma and the Former President, H.E Dr Hifikepunye Pohamba.
In my last dream about him, I was shedding tears profusely saddened by his departure on a cool Saturday that was peculiarly blessed with showers of rain as if indicating the approval of the heavens of the departure of a giant and a true humble leader who harboured no ill feelings towards anyone. He would never put on any bad countenance even when he was hurt. His death is an irreparable loss to the country and its citizenry and thousands of people who benefited from his largesse.
I gathered from our conversations that he always initiated when he approached me that he was a man who loved his people and country. The last time I spoke to him was on the occasion of his 80th birthday party organized in his honour by his family and a kaleidoscope and plethora of friends ranging from former foes who looked at him with admiration and awe as well as his closest friends.
The passing away of such a high caliber of a man in the person of Comrade Gurirab is by all means a huge and sad loss. No matter how I may endeavor, words cannot express the magnitude of the loss I personally feel in the sudden demise of one of my role models.
On behalf of my family and my humble self, I am taking this opportunity to sincerely extend my deepest sympathy and most profound condolences to the family and friends of  the late Comrade Theo Ben Gurirab, and to the President, the Government and people of our beloved country for the immense loss of such an exceptionally patriot citizen.
I beseech the Most High God to make paradise his eternal abode. I likewise beseech the Almighty to bless his family, and grant them fortitude and longevity in good health, happiness, and prosperity.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of my employer and this newspaper but solely reflect my personal views as a citizen.

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