14. March 2018

Nora Schimming-Chase passed away

Struggle icon and former National Assembly member Nora Schimming-Chase died in Windhoek yesterday after a protracted battle with cancer.

Schimming-Chase (77), was a Congress of Democrats (CoD) parliamentarian from 2000 until 2009, and also played a significant role in the early years of the Council of Churches in Namibia.

She is the fourth female politician to die in the past six months, and had retired from politics some years ago. Her death comes after that of National Council member Rosa Kavara, Kunene governor Angelika Muharukua and former gender equality minister Rosalia Nghidinwa.

President Hage Geingob and several notable figures described Schimming-Chase as a remarkable politician, who worked tirelessly for the good of the nation. Geingob described Schimming-Chase as a “servant-leader and diplomat,” while the Popular Democratic Movement's leader, McHenry Venaani, said her contribution was unparalleled.

Schimming-Chase went into exile to Tanzania as a member of Swanu in the early 60s, and was sent to study at the Columbia University in the United States between 1962 and 1967.

In 1969, Schimming-Chase went to the Free University of Berlin, West Germany, and returned to Namibia in 1978 under the first amnesty of the United Nations. Swanu appointed Schimming-Chase as the secretary for education when she returned home and became the second-in-command in 1982.

After independence in 1990, Schimming-Chase was sent to France to set up the embassy there, and was then appointed the ambassador to Germany.

International relations permanent secretary Selma Ashipala-Musavyi said she “is immensely proud to have been associated with ambassador Schimming-Chase”, and the ministry is grateful for her service.

Ashipala-Musavyi said Schimming-Chase was among the first group of special diplomatic trainees selected to establish the foreign affairs ministry immediately after independence in 1990.

In 1999, she became a founder member when the CoD was formed. CoD acting president Elago Amuthenu said the women of the CoD should learn from Schimming-Chase's legacy.

He noted that CoD members would remember Schimming-Chase for her principled work in defence of the Constitution, as seen by her move when she joined others in forming the CoD “in the difficult days of 1999”. “Her parliamentary record in defence of our values, principles and policies speaks for itself,” Amuthenu said.

CoD founding president Ben Ulenga said Namibia has a lot to thank Schimming-Chase for as someone who stood up for the general good of the people.

“We all have time to come, and we all have time to go. I don't know the circumstances around her passing, but I can tell you that she made her voice heard for the good of the people, and the rights of all Namibians,” Ulenga said yesterday.

Schimming-Chase is survived by two daughters, a son and grandchildren. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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