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Namibians held a candlelit vigil in the capital, Windhoek, on Monday evening to pay homage to their late president, Hage Geingob.
The much-respected leader, who was receiving treatment for cancer, passed away on Sunday at the age of 82.
One resident, Sidney Boois, said he wept when he heard the news, adding that that was the kind of relationship people had with Geingob.
“It was a personal relationship. But life is about the relationship and he related to people and he could connect with us as a nation, as people of this country,” he said.
Geingob played a central role in what has become one of Africa’s most stable democracies after returning from a long exile in Botswana and the United States as an anti-apartheid activist.
Tributes continued to pour in from around the world for the late president who was a soft-spoken man, but firm on advancing Africa’s agenda as an important stakeholder in world affairs.
Geingob maintained close relations with the United States and other Western countries but, like many African leaders, also forged a warm relationship with China and other powers.
He could be outspoken on issues at home and abroad. In January, he criticised former colonial master, Germany, for supporting Israel after South Africa filed a case against Israel at the International Court of Justice accusing it of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
“Germany cannot morally express commitment to the United Nations convention against genocide, including atonement for the genocide in Namibia, whilst supporting the equivalent of a holocaust and genocide in Gaza,” he said.
He was referring to events between 1904 and 1908 when colonial security forces killed tens of thousands of people in Namibia while putting down an uprising.
In 2021, Germany acknowledged that its actions amounted to genocide and pledged more than $1 billion for infrastructure projects in the country.
Following Geingob’s passing on Sunday, the southern African nation quickly swore in his deputy, Nangolo Mbumba, as acting president to complete what was his second and final term in office.
Elections are set for November. A government statement said Mbumba will lead Namibia until 21 March 2025, when the winner of the polls will take office.