The community of Walvis Bay has described the death of struggle stalwart Maria Nambatha Amathila as a great loss to the town.
Amathila, who was born and raised at the harbour town, died on 30 March at the age of 75 after a long illness in the Walvis Bay State Hospital.
She left Walvis Bay with her cousin Ndapandula Mupupa in 1975 to join other Namibians in the fight for liberation.
Mupupa says because of her poor health, Amathila could not complete her military training and was sent to Kenya and Tanzania for secretarial courses.
Amathila assisted with the relocation of Swapo's head office from Luanda to Kwanza Sul in Angola under the leadership of the late Moses Garoeb.
In Kwanza Sul she managed the training of secretaries for the party's offices across the globe.
"My sister was a lovable person, but most of all a very motherly person. While in exile, she helped to raise the children of comrades who were sent to other parts of the world by the party for studies. Some were as young as three months old," Mupupa says.
Amathila returned home in 1989 ahead of the country's first democratic elections. She worked at the party's head office in Windhoek as a secretary to the legal service division during the election campaign.
Amathila was also the first secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the directorate of Copyright Services under the leadership of the ministry's first minister, the late Hidipo Hamutenya.
She worked in several other ministries until she was assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, now the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation.
She was then posted to serve as a secretary at the Namibian high commission in Pretoria, South Africa, until her retirement.
Former Walvis Bay mayor Wilfred Emmanuel describes the late Amathila as a person who put others' needs before her own.
"When Twaloloka burned in 2020, Maria called me from her sickbed to go and collect food parcels and other goods. When hospital patients had no food because there was no catering tender, she called me to take her to a supermarket to buy the patients food," Emmanuel says.
Community elder Saul Habeb lauds Amathila for her contribution to keeping the community in check.
"She was a strong and very vocal person. She was not shy to call you out if what you were doing was wrong. Ouma Maria contributed greatly to the community, especially to the elders' community committee and to the Swapo party," he says.
Amathila is survived by her brothers Mathew and former parliamentarian Ben Amathila.
She will be laid to rest at the Kuisebmond cemetery tomorrow.