TRIBUTE BY H.E. DR. SAM NUJOMA, FOUNDING PRESIDENT AND FATHER OF THE NAMIBIAN NATION, ON THE OCCASION OF THE FUNERAL OF THE LATE MEME SOFIA NAAPOPYE ASINO
Wednesday 09 SEPTEMBER 2020
The children, grandchildren and the entire bereaved Nujoma and Asino Families;
Tatekulu Johannes Shoombe Mupiya, Omukwaniilwa gwOshitunda shAngandjera;
Aasimanekwa Aakwaniilwa amushe nOmalenga Omanene nomashona gwOpamuthigululwakalo;
Members of the Clergy present;
In line with established health protocols, it is with heavy hearts that we gather here today to bid farewell to our beloved sister, the Late Meme Sofia Naapopye Asino, a Pioneering Veteran of our National Liberation Struggle in her own right, who passed on in Windhoek, following COVID-19 related infection.
We are consumed with grief as we remember her life and mourn her absence, yet we are also here to celebrate a life of a fearless sister, mother, grandmother and teacher as we recall the power of her comfortable guiding moral voice.
Indeed, her children and grandchildren called the Late Meme Sofia Naapopye Asino mother and grandmother while others called her teacher but to me and my brothers and sisters she was simply our beloved sister who now joins our parents in eternity, the Late Tate Daniel Uutoni Nujoma and Meme Helvi Mpingana Kondombolo.
Together we were eleven children in all, 6 boys and 5 girls but now we are only five, three males, Myself, Tate Hiskia Asino and Tate Noah Mweyatila Malima and two females; Meme Frieda Nandjala and Meme Julia Namukuwa.
As the eldest son, I had to look after the cattle and goats and do home chores, including pounding Mahangu but it was not easy doing this with a baby on my back, sometimes also holding another one by hand.
Other boys used to laugh at me because I was carrying a baby on my back. But as the first-born, I had to do it. This is how I used to take care of my beloved sisters including the Late Meme Sofia Naapopye Asino.
Both of our parents hailed from Uukwambi royal family. Our father’s family tree is from Nujoma wa Mutshimba, Mutshimba gwa Kandenge, Kandenge ka Negumbo, Negumbo lya Koongoti.
Our mother’s family tree is from Kondombolo ya Nakathingo, Nakathingo ya Kaambulua, Kaambulua ka Hango, Hango ya Ndjuluua, Ndjuluua ya Kiinge, Kiinge ka Mukongo, Mukongo gwa Tshiyala, Tshiyala tsha Namundjanga, Namundjanga gwa Nambala.
The Late Meme Sofia Naapopye Asino was married to the Late Tate Edward Asino and together they have seven children, namely; Matti Iileka, Mikka Natangwe, Elizabeth Ohenda Niithete, Justina Wiliko, Helvi Hambelela Mpingana, Erastus Iitula Iinekela and Hiskia Megameno Asino. The Late Meme Sofia Naapopye Asino and the Late Tate Edward Asino also have seventeen (17) grandchildren.
In this regard, the Nujoma and Asino families deeply mourn our pillar of strength and fountain of wisdom. When the white minority South African regime tried to render us invisible, she communicated to us that we are worthy to be seen and to be heard.
She brought us to life with her narration of the story of our family and challenged us to remember our family tree and heritage.
The Late Meme Sofia Naapopye Asino together with the entire family, survived numerous intimidation and harassment by the apartheid security forces for the simple reason that they are my family members, but they never wavered until the attainment of our freedom and genuine independence on 21st March 1990.
We are grateful for her humility, dedication and daily prayers, these being some of the qualities that have embodied her life. We recall that when she went to United States of America (USA), with her family through the church, she used to make sure that they pray every day and this is something she learnt from our mother, the Late Meme Helvi Mpingana gwaKondombolo.
Against this background, she will be missed but what she stood for will never be forgotten as her work will fill the void of her passing. It is now our solemn responsibility to strive together to live as a family and build the future destiny of our country to which she dedicated her life.
As we bid our sister and mother farewell at a time of the COVID 19 Pandemic, let us show our spirit of solidarity and let this pandemic deepen our resolve to overcome this challenge. Let us draw inspiration from her life. Let us honour her memory by upholding the principles she stood for.
At this juncture, allow me to remind all the seven children and seventeen grandchildren of the Late Meme Sofia Naapopye Asino about the pivotal role a mother plays in the life of her children.
The classic poem by William Ross Wallace says that; ‘the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world’. It illustrates the influence a mother plays to her child and in the long run to the society; that as a mother strives to nurture and teach a child, she makes the world a much better place.
Indeed, mothers are the emotional backbones of the family. They provide the holding place for everyone’s feelings and do their best to keep us from being hurt.
One proverb rightly affirms what most of us have experienced: “A mother understands what a child does not say.” Indeed there exist a dynamic between mother and children. Mothers can hear sentences in the silences of their children and have the special gift of intuition because it gives them a strong sense of what is right for their children.
Thus, our mothers are timeless teachers in the classroom of life. They bequeath to us timeless wisdom, a legacy so precious and valuable.
For every person, there is a mother behind who fostered her child’s sensibilities to their full potential. This has everything to do with the tenderness and toughness, the compassion and conscientiousness of the heart.
There is nothing quite comforting as having our mother’s arm wrapped around us when we are sad, lonely, or afraid. This is the divine mission assigned to women alone.
Against this background, as the Late Meme Sofia Naapopye Asino takes a befitting rest, allow me on behalf of the Veterans of our National Liberation Struggle, the Nujoma and Asino Families and indeed on my own behalf, to extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathy to the children, grandchildren and the entire bereaved family and comrades for her loss.
May we all be granted fortitude during this difficult time of bereavement and sorrow.
May Her Soul Rest In Eternal Peace!