HUNDREDS of Walvis Bay residents jubilated through the streets of all the suburbs of the harbour town yesterday as part of the welcoming ceremony of Namibian Paralympic gold and silver medallist Johanna Benson.
She arrived to dancing and singing residents, old and young, while a parade cars followed her through town to the Kuisebmond Stadium where she was officially given a hero's welcome by the town's mayor, Derek Klazen. The parade was led by drum majorettes and the police brass band.
Benson was also met by Namibia's boxing legend Harry Simon and Agnes Samaria, Namibia's middle-distance Olympian. Simon and Samaria are both from Walvis Bay.
"We welcome back a sensational member of the city of Walvis Bay, and the pride of Namibia," said Klazen as he introduced Benson.
He said that she managed to inspire a nation to believe that anything is possible.
"She gave it all for Namibia; and while we cannot give her silver and gold because she already has that, we will definitely name a street after Johanna Benson," he assured.
Director of Sport Vetumbuavi Veii said although Johanna was a "disabled child"; she managed to "unite a nation through her achievements".
"This is what sport is about. To unite. Africans need to learn not to hide away their children with disabilities because they think it is a taboo. Bring them out. Disability does not mean inability. God has given us all unique characteristics," he said.
He reiterated the government's commitment to reward Benson with N$100 000 for her gold medal, N$70 000 for the silver medal, and a house of her choice in Walvis Bay.
"President Hifikepunye Pohamba asked what we can do for her, and I said let's give her a house, and he said 'That's a good idea'. Now government will give her a house anywhere in Walvis Bay," said Veii.