Ua-Ndjarakana mourns ‘larger than life’ Kerina

By Jeremiah Ndjoze

Executive director in the Ministry of Information and Communication, Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana has described the late struggle icon Mburumba Kerina as a larger-than-life character whose gigantic status never got to his head.

According to Ua-Ndjarakana, this might explain why 30 years after independence the nation still does not have anything named after him despite him having given Namibia its identity.

While Professor Mburumba Kerina may have coined the name Namibia, his name is yet to grace the boards on stadiums and shopping malls across the country. Neither is there a street named after him.

“But he will still remain in the hearts of many a Namibian with mention of the name Namibia,” Ua-Ndjarakana said.

On a personal level, the ED maintained that he met Kerina way before they met personally.

“Meaning I met him through conversations with my parents and other politically conscious youth. Prof Peter Katjavivi and others passed through my home village in Botswana at the time, on their way abroad, and once they were gone our parents would mock us about trying to involve ourselves in Botswana politics while our fellow Namibians were toeing the line and following in the footsteps of people like Kerina. He became one of the perfect examples to us as young people who were inspired by the struggle,” Ua-Ndjarakana said.

He revealed he went on to work with Kerina during his time as the governor of the Otjozondjupa region, between 1996 and 1998 where they specifically focused on the campaign for the recognition of the Kambazembi Royal House by government.

To him Kerina came across as humble, handsome, knowledgeable and a very good listener.

“Even though he was educated beyond measure, he always spoke Otjiherero during most of his deliberations with the people. He never flaunted his knowledge; he shared it freely with anyone who bothered to listen. Full of love, it took him a while to get angry and even when he did he never lost his composure,” Ua-Ndjarakana recalled.

“While some may accuse him of having been a political party hopper, I saw in him a man who would build one thing to a satisfactory result and move on to build the next.

“He reminded me of one teacher Mathias Kangootui in Botswana who used to establish schools in rural areas. He would teach under a tree until the government moves in to build a school in that area, he would move to another area and start a school under a tree again for the government to intervene. That’s how I ended up going to school for the first time at the age of 12,” he said.