FORMER gender equality minister Rosalia Nghidinwa, who died in Windhoek on Monday, has been accorded a state funeral.
Sikongo Haihambo, one of the family members, told The Namibian yesterday that President Hage Geingob accorded Nghidinwa a state funeral.
A state funeral means government will assist the family with all the burial costs.
Haihambo said a committee chaired by Cabinet secretary George Simataa had been set up to arrange the memorial service and funeral programme.
Nghidinwa died after a long illness. She was 65.
Swapo Party leaders offered their condolences to the Nghidinwa family, saying the nation had lost a "true leader".
Former Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba described the late former minister as a very humble person who played an important role in the liberation struggle.
He added that Nghidinwa also played an important role in the Swapo Party.
"I have known the deceased since the time we were leaving the country, and we were accommodated in her father's house. She also helped the combatants with medicines and food in the Kavango region," Mbumba said.
Swapo Women's Council secretary Eunice Iipinge said Nghidinwa's death was a big loss to the country, and specifically to the women's council.
She said Nghidinwa was a very important member of the party's women's wing because she used to "advise and counsel us".
"We lost a true leader, who used her profession to carry out the work of the liberation struggle. We thank President Geingob for recognising her efforts by according her a state funeral.
"Nobody can fill her shoes, and we only thank God for giving us our dedicated leader with a good heart. On behalf of the Swapo Party Women's Council, we mourn together with family and friends of the late Nghidinwa," Iipinge stated.
Gender equality minister Doreen Sioka also offered her condolences to the Nghidinwa family, saying her death was the will of God which "cannot be influenced by a person".
"We have lost a mother and a leader who was very humble and very kind, a person who never quarrelled with anyone. She was committed to her work, and was a person whom you could smile with," the minister added.
Nghidinwa was a long-serving Namibian politician and member of the Swapo Party, having joined the organisation in 1974, and spent many years in exile.
She was a health practitioner by profession, and an active member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin), served on the church's governing council from 1991 to 1996, and throughout the years ran several community health centres within the Kavango area for Elcin.
Nghidinwa served as deputy minister of labour from 2000 to 2005, and then minister of home affairs and immigration from 2005 to 2012.
She later moved on to be minister of gender equality from December 2012 until 2015 when she left parliament.
As a parliamentarian, she had a strong commitment towards community development programmes in rural areas, and improving the welfare of vulnerable groups, including elderly citizens, women and children.