June 24, 2002

Hundreds Pay Tribute To Late Archbishop

Hundreds of people assembled at St Mary's Cathedral in Windhoek on Saturday, June 22, to pay their last respects to the late Catholic Archbishop of Namibia Bonifatius Haushiku. Archbishop Haushiku died of cancer at the age of 69.

"[He] was one of the most illustrious sons who played a very historic role in our country's national liberation struggle for freedom and independence," President Sam Nujoma said during his tribute. The President said the late Archbishop articulated the aspirations of the oppressed when the apartheid colonial South African regime made it almost impossible for Swapo to operate freely in the country. "We will continue to cherish the ideals of peace, reconciliation and unity that Archbishop Haushiku stood for and that he promoted throughout his life. While we pay homage to this great son of the Namibian soil, we pledge to remain true to his ideals of unity, respect of human rights and working together with others for the common good of all our people irrespective of colour, race or church denomination," Nujoma said.

Several mourners described the late Archbishop as a person with compassion, a soft heart, zeal and dedication, a rare icon, fearless defender, mediator, negotiator, spiritual beacon and a giant among spiritual leaders.

Rundu Bishop Joseph Shikongo related the Archbishop's last wishes to the huge crowd in the Cathedral premises. He said Archbishop Haushiku had told a Catholic Sister that he was going to his homeland where other beloveds had gone and appealed to members of the Roman Catholic Church to be faithful Christians.

The coffin was covered with a white cloth. Symbols of the priestly ministry and office of the Archbishop were placed on top: a stole, a chalice, a Bible and a mitre. The Archbishop was buried inside the sanctity of the Roman Catholic St Mary's Cathedral Parish, becoming only the second Archbishop in Namibia after German national, Joseph Gotthard in 1963, to be buried there. (THE NAMIBIAN)

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