President Frank-Walter Steinmeier delivered an Address at the Funeral Service for the President of Namibia

"I bow my head to Hage Geingob"

March 01st, 2024
Editorial, News from Berlin
20240301 President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.jpg

Today we are assembled to bid farewell. Farewell to a great statesman who shaped the Republic of Namibia like no other. The presence of so many of us here today is a tribute to his unmatched achievements and his lasting legacy.

In all of Africa and around the world, Hage Gottfried Geingob will be remembered for his fight to free this nation from the yoke of Apartheid. Here in Namibia, he will be remembered for his instrumental role in crafting Namibia’s constitution and steering this country towards democracy, stability and prosperity.

In Germany, however, in the hearts and minds of my compatriots, President Geingob will always be remembered for his courage to reach out to the German people over the dark abyss of our history – the atrocities committed by German troops during colonial rule that resulted in the genocide against the Ovaherero and Nama communities 120 years ago.

The path of reconciliation that we embarked upon almost ten years ago has not been an easy one. But together we have gone very far – and we want to go further.

When I talked to President Geingob for the last time, late last year, he told me that it was his wish to successfully conclude our Joint Declaration in order to bring the special relationship between our two countries to a new level. I am here today to say that my country remains committed to his legacy. We are committed to the path of reconciliation.

Reconciliation is not about closing the past; it is about taking responsibility for our past – and it is a commitment to a better future together. I hope I will be able to return to this country very soon and under different circumstances, because I am convinced that it is high time to tender an apology to the Namibian people. My only regret is that our friend, the great President Geingob, will not be there to bring the process he started to an end.

Again, I bow my head before Hage Geingob – a brilliant leader of the "land of the brave". We share the grief of the Namibian nation and his family. My colleague, partner and friend: rest in peace.


News from Berlin