Hundreds of mourners gathered at the Mupini at Kapako, Kavango West, to bury a veteran of the Liberation Struggle, Reverend Asser Kazumba Lihongo. 

Lihongo died on June 10 at the Rundu hospital at the age of 92. He was conferred an official funeral by President Nangolo Mbumba. 

Dignitaries, community members, friends, and family all gathered at the Mupini Cemetery to say their final goodbyes to a man they described as selfless. 

He also worked as a teacher and served as a parish pastor. In 1965, he was ordained as an ELOC (ELCIN) priest.

Those who knew him said his involvement in church has left a legacy of hope and faith, and many of his years were devoted to helping Namibians and ELCIN. 

The Dean of Rundu Deanery at ELCIN Church, Rev. Elizabeth Cilunda, says, 'Our pastor's legacy and faith will continue to inspire us for generations to come. His teachings about love, forgiveness, and compassion have left an indelible mark on our souls."

The late Reverend was constantly targeted by the then-Apartheid South African Government due to his involvement with the Swapo Movement. He supported PLAN fighters by providing intelligence and material assistance such as transportation, clothing, and food.

Swapo Party's Secretary General had this message delivered on her behalf. 

"He had to endure humiliation, increased torture and intimidation, and constant detention in solitary confinement, but he never surrendered nor sold out."

Lihongo, a theologian, studied Bible translation in both England and South Africa, and his studies would make a big difference in how the Word was received in the Kavango region. This is the Founding President's message delivered by Kavango West Governor. 

The Governor of Kavango West Region, Sirkka Ausiku, says, "Indeed, the late comrade Reverend Lihongo translated the bible into Rukwangali with the New Testament published in 1974, while the entire bible was revealed to the public in 1988."

When the late was not sourcing funds to assist with legal costs for detained Namibians or helping those leaving for exile, he was instilling hope. 

In 1989, Reverend Lihongo received and reintegrated returnees from exile.

President Nangolo Mbumba's condolence message was delivered by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr. Peya Mushelenga.  

"While we grieve the loss of our beloved father, comrade, and uncle, let us take a moment to remember, appreciate, and celebrate a remarkable 92 years of a life well lived. A life of purpose and inspiration. Comrade Lihongo's participation and influence in shaping the Namibian political landscape towards total independence are firmly established in the annals of Namibian history." 

The late Lihongo is survived by one daughter, five grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

Photo Credits
NBC Digital News


Frances Shaahama