Nothing would have pleased Elombe Brath more than to have been among the invited guests at the recent inauguration of Dr. Hage Geingob, Namibia’s third president. He was a man deeply admired by Brath, who joined the ancestors last year on Malcolm X’s birthday.
On many occasions, as activists in Harlem know, Geingob, as representative of the South West Africa People’s Organization, was a speaker at Brath’s weekly rallies of the Patrice Lumumba Coalition at the Harriet Tubman School on 127th Street. Brath and the members of his organization played a vital role in keeping the struggle alive in this part of the world.
In effect, representing Brath at the inauguration, which also marked 25th anniversary of Namibian independence, were his son Cinque and Elombe’s brother Kwame Brathwaite the esteemed photographer.
“I have been to many parts of the globe to see acclaimed celebrations in Germany, China and Canada,” Cinque said upon his return last week from Windhoek, “but the inauguration in Namibia was tops. It was a splendid ceremony enjoyed by the people, many of whom were among the 87 percent who elected him to office.
“The former colony of South Africa is doing just great … and the new president is poised to lead Namibia, and to do it with a flair and swagger. His vast time spent in the U.S. contributed to his swagger and leadership presence.”
Also attending the inauguration were Viola Plummer and Colette Pean of the December 12th Movement. Spending time with them, Cinque said, made the trip all the more enjoyable and memorable. “But nothing pleased me more than encountering Theo-Ben Gurirab and his wife, Joan Guriass,” he added. “I remember him from the many years when he attended the Coalition rallies when he prime minister of Namibia, as well as his nation’s minister of foreign affairs, and other offices. He and his wife are now permanent residents of Harlem.”
Among the African notables were dignitaries from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola, including Cyril Ramaphosa, vice president of South Africa, and former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
During Geingob’s swearing-in ceremony, outgoing President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba extended the symbols of power to the new leader—the national seal and a bound copy of the constitution. The nation also appointed Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila as Namibia’s first female prime minister since independence.