Mourners from all walks of life gathered on Saturday to pay their last respects to former Oshana region governor Silvanus Vatuva - man who was a not only an influential businessman and the first governor of Oshana, but a strong figure in the country's independence movement.
Vatuva, who died on 1 September at the age of 87, was buried at Omungwelume in the Ohangwena region.
In a message from president Hage Geingob, the head of state described Vatuva as a man whose life was characterised by hard work and dedication to serve fellow human beings.
"A man whose departure from our midst has not only been felt by his family and friends, but by many Namibians who have been following his work with admiration, from the early years of our country's independence," Geingob said. "A man who had an obvious passion for building a better Namibia by enabling equitable access to services through good governance at the level of local government."
The president also noted that Vatuva played a crucial role in assisting the central government to dismantle apartheid Bantustans and set up administrative structures in Oshana.
"Governor Vatuva will therefore be remembered for his immeasurable contribution to the development of Oshana region in general, and Oshakati in particular," said Geingob.
Oshana governor Elia Irimari said Vatuva became governor during a difficult time, when government structures were organised along ethnic lines, but he transformed them into functional, inclusive and efficient people-centred institutions.
"Comrade Vatuva will always be remembered as a founding political pioneer of Oshana region, for the great strides in infrastructural development such as education, water and electricity infrastructure we have in our region. He has also played a significant role in harmonising policies and driving the reconciliation process to unite a region that was utterly divided," said Irimari.
After Namibia's independence, Vatuva was appointed as a commissioner for the part of northern Namibia which later became the Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati regions.
He was subsequently the first governor of Oshana, serving from 1992 to 1998. He also served as regional councillor for the Oshakati East constituency until 2004.