A bold step for honouring late Veii: Maamberua

25 Feb 2015 07:20am
WINDHOEK, 25 FEB (NAMPA) – The President of SWANU of Namibia Usutuaije Maamberua on Tuesday commended the government for having taken a bold step to accord the late Gerson Hitjevi Veii a hero's funeral.

“This is a confirmation that Namibian citizens who qualify as heroes deserve the right of burial at the Heroes Acre, irrespective of their political affiliation,” said Maamberua during the memorial service in honour of late Veii.

He said the late Veii is joining other heroes and heroines at Heroes Acre, and is also opening the way for other equally deserving heroes of Namibia to be accorded the same respect.

“In this context, heroism should not end with the current liberation struggle icons. Let us look into the future for a young generation that will produce new heroes and heroines,” Maamberua suggested.

Namibian politician and former Robben Island prisoner, Veii, will be the first non-SWAPO member to be buried at the Heroes’ Acre on Wednesday.

The late Veii, who was amongst the founders of the SWANU Party, died of cardiac arrest in Windhoek's Katutura State Hospital a week ago at the age of 76.

Maamberua also thanked former President Sam Nujoma whose foresight made it possible for the Heroes Acre to be built.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at the Parliament Gardens to pay their last respects to the late Veii, whose body will lie in state before it would be buried at the national memorial shrine.

Veii was elected SWANU Deputy Secretary-General in 1960, and later served as Party President from 1968 to 1982.

He was the first Namibian to be tried under the 1962 Sabotage Act of Apartheid South Africa, following a December 1967 speech in Windhoek's Old Location against the incarceration of SWAPO leaders in the wake of the military actions at Omugulugwombashe.

In that 1967 speech he is remembered for saying “The redder the blood, the sweeter the victory”.

For that statement, he was convicted of inciting racial hatred and sentenced to five years in prison. He spent one year in solitary confinement in Pretoria, and a further four years on Robben Island with the likes of Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo and Nelson Mandela.

He was the first governor of the Kunene Region after Namibia’s independence in 1990.

He left behind his wife, Adelheid, nine children, and 15 grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren.