South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday declared that Namibia had lost an “extraordinary leader” in President Hage Geingob who died, aged 82, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“President Geingob was a towering veteran of Namibia’s liberation from colonialism and apartheid,” he said in a statement.
Referring to Namibia’s support during the South African freedom struggle against the white minority government there, he added that Geingob was “also greatly influential in the solidarity that the people of Namibia extended to the people of South Africa so that we could be free today.”
South Africa is grateful to Geingob and saddened by his death, Ramaphosa added.
Geingob was being treated at the private Lady Pohamba hospital in Namibia’s capital Windhoek after recently revealing that his medical team had discovered cancerous cells following a biopsy.
Geingob was Namibia’s third president and had been in office since 2015. He was one of the leading political figures in the country and played a decisive role in gaining Namibia’s independence in 1990.
As the first prime minister of independent Namibia (1990 – 2002) under the presidency of Sam Nujoma, Geingob campaigned for reconciliation and the reconstruction of the former German colony (1884 – 1915) with a population of 2.6 million.