Muharukua memorial postponed over disagreement

By Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek – Discussions on the memorial arrangements – including the final resting place – of late Kunene governor Angelika Muharukwa, who died recently, were still not finalised yesterday.

As a result, yesterday Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa relayed that Muharukua’s memorial service, that was scheduled to take place at Okatjetje village in Kunene today, has been postponed.

The family of the late Muharukua and government were still thrashing out how to conduct the funeral in accordance with the hero status President Hage Geingob accorded her.

Some of the family members are not amenable to having the late governor buried at Heroes Acre in Windhoek. A person accorded a hero’s funeral can be buried at whatever final resting place chosen by the family or the deceased.
Simataa penned a letter to the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana, advising that the postponement be communicated to the public.

“The public will be informed on the new date and time in due course,” said Simataa when informing Ua-Ndjarakana of the postponement of the memorial service that was scheduled for October 11.

Contacted for comment, Presidential Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi said government would not dictate to the family where to bury Muharukua. “We heard about it and we are following up on the matter. We will abide with the family’s decision,” Kapofi said.

The family had initially agreed for Muharukua to be buried at Heroes Acre, he added, but the memorial service would be conducted where the family specifies.

Kapofi said should the family reach consensus on the burial place and it was not at Heroes Acre there could be some minor logistical difficulties. “We will still be ready to do it there. It may not necessarily happen this week,” he said.

Epupa Constituency Councillor Nguzu Muharukwa, a close relative of the late Muharukua, said the elders in the maternal family of the late governor are questioning the idea of Muharukua being buried at Heroes Acre, primarily because of cultural considerations.

He also said that as elderly people some have difficulties travelling long distances and want to properly pay their last respects. He further said Muharukua wished to be buried at Okozongojooza in Opuwo.

“She didn’t even want to be buried close to her husband. She wanted to be buried close to her father and grandfather,” Nguzu said. “If she knew government would take her to Heroes Acre I don’t think she would have resisted,” Mupya added.

Culturally, for the Ovahimba, the mourning of a deceased loved one takes place over a period of 12 months, after which another ceremony is held at the deceased’s grave, Nguzu explained.

Meanwhile, Opuwo Constituency Councillor Weich Mupya, who is close to the family, confirmed that there have been some “misunderstandings from the people” regarding where Muharukua should be buried. “Everybody wants her to be closer to them,” he said.

Mupya said the main concern of some family members was that late Muharukwa’s remains would be located far from the family if she were to be buried at Heroes Acre in Windhoek. –  New Era.

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