AS Namibia mourns the passing of President Hage Geingob, the creative industry remembers him as a man who championed the arts.
The industry says Geingob’s legacy lives on in the hearts of Namibian creatives who affectionately recall his passion for music and genuine connection with the people. Priscilla Apollus, known as Priscilla the Namibian Dessert Queen, shared her encounter with the late President during the official opening of Parliament in 2020.
She recalls Geingob’s warm demeanour and profound wisdom, his encouragement of her rare talent, and his unwavering support for Namibian artists.
“He was a people’s person and a very wise man… I remember that after my performance he came up to me and said, ‘your talent is rare, keep on pushing forward’,” said Apollus.
Geingob’s interest in music extended beyond mere appreciation; he often graced the stage alongside musicians, embodying his genuine connection with the arts community. Apollus said his enthusiastic presence at cultural events and his support for local talent commended him to many, earning him the title “The people’s President”. She added that, as Namibia mourns the loss of a visionary leader, Geingob’s legacy as a catalyst for change and an enthusiastic supporter of the arts remains ingrained in the nation’s collective memory.
She went on to say that Geingob’s zest for life, exemplified by his love for dancing and his past as a soccer player, serves as a reminder of his vibrant spirit and unwavering dedication to his country.
Apollus, extended condolences to Geingob’s family and the former First Lady Monica Geingos. “May their hearts find solace in the outpouring of love and support from a grateful nation as they bid farewell to a beloved leader and friend,” she said.
Former civil servant Maria Immanuel known as ML Musik said she had the honour of serving under his leadership from 2017 to 2021.
Reflecting on Geingob’s profound impact on Namibia, Immanuel said she will celebrate his life and legacy rather than dwell on his departure.
She said Geingob was not only a President but also a mentor and boss to her.
Immanuel went on to highlight his sharp wit, intelligence, and generous spirit.
She said Geingob’s ability to impart wisdom through sarcasm, coupled with his unwavering kindness, left an indelible mark on those who had the privilege of working with him.
The tribute pays homage to Geingob’s commitment to national unity,
encapsulated in his iconic mantra, “One Namibia, One Nation”.
Immanuel recalls Geingob’s memorable quotes and anecdotes, including his emphasis on truth, the transformative power of education, and the importance of distinguishing between effectiveness and efficiency.
“Geingob’s visionary leadership, particularly in laying the groundwork for Namibia’s independence through initiatives like the UNIN concept, will continue to inspire generations. I acknowledge the President’s resilience and determination, exemplified by his journey from leaving government service to becoming the nation’s highest office holder,” she said.
In addition to the tribute, Immanuel revealed that a song dedicated to Geingob was composed under the guidance of
John Steytler. She said it is a testament to Geingob’s enduring impact on the lives of Namibians.
“I pay homage to President Hage Geingob as a transformational leader whose legacy will endure in our hearts and minds. Long live Hage Geingob, the President, whose influence will continue to shape the future of the nation,” she said.
One Blood, comprising of siblings Daphne and Victor Kaune remember the president as an amazing person and a phenomenal leader.
They said Geingob was different in how he did things and that made him unique.
“The country has truly lost a gem. Not only did he love our music, but he loved us as a group. He always used to say, ‘That’s my group, One Blood’. This became known by everyone, and it meant the world to us that the President knows who we are and what we do despite him having to run a whole country and being busy,” said the group.
Venaune Kandukira, popularly known as Big Ben told VIBEZ that when President Geingob took over the reigns and announced that no one would be left out in the Namibian house, he said it had an impact on the creative industry.
He added that after Geingob took over, starting with his inauguration, everyone in the government knew and understood that when there is an event, artists are
“I know musicians who have been in the music industry for 20 years who have never had an opportunity to perform on a national big stage, but suddenly the state was open for Namibian musicians and they would be on stage for national events in Namibia, and they would be treated and paid well. That is true, and I stand by it. It is by lowering a reflection of a lack of anything on the part of the previous presidents,” he said.
Big Ben recently released a song titled “Leader of the Brave” dedicated to the late President. In the song, he called the President the leader of the brave, and his spirit lives on.
“In the song, I am referring to the ancestors who laid to rest for this country since the 1800s, from the German occupation to the colonial occupation to after independence. In my song, I am not trying to elevate the late President, but he was unique and loved Namibians,” he said.