Dumeni to turn 90

Founding president Sam Nujoma writes congratulatory letter

30 September 2020 | Local News



Retired Evangelical Lutheran Church Bishop Kleopas Dumeni will be turning 90 on Saturday.

In a congratulatory letter, founding president Sam Nujoma wished him well.

Nujoma said this significant milestone brings into fore fond recollections of Dumeni’s contribution to the freedom and independence of the country.

“Your leadership and formidable conviction remain a source of inspiration to the current and future generations to jealously guard this freedom gained through many years of struggle.

“Indeed, compacting 90 years in a few paragraphs is no easy task. There are just too many important events which have shaped who you are and where you are today, but I do wish to mention a few things that have impressed, inspired and enlightened us most,” the letter read.

Challenging the colonial authorities

Nujoma narrated that Dumeni’s mentor, the first black leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Owambo-Kavango (ELOK), which was renamed the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) in 1984, Bishop Auala, confronted the colonial authorities on various issues, such as the pass laws and the introduction of the Bantustan authorities.

In this regard, in 1971, the Lutheran churches wrote an open letter to then South African prime minister, John Vorster, denouncing South Africa’s role and conduct in Namibia.

This was followed by several letters and statements by church leaders in subsequent years.

Upon Bishop Auala’s retirement, Dumeni succeeded him and continued challenging the colonial authorities through his speeches.

Gaining momentum

“You became a bishop at the time when the fight for the liberation of Namibia was gaining momentum. You established links with the Lutheran churches in Namibia and beyond to help you call for the implementation of UN Resolution 435, which paved the way for the independence of Namibia,” Nujoma wrote.

He said Dumeni was also passionate about the education of Namibians and considered Bantu education mediocre. As a result, he launched a massive campaign for the training of young people in various fields.

“We remain indebted to the contributions you made in your lifetime in the liberation of our country. Please accept my warm personal best wishes for good health and many happier years,” Nujoma wrote.

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