STAFF WRITER

THE late Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Veno Kauaria, was described as a luminary whose reformative and progressive contributions in the education sector enriched thousands of Namibians who will treasure it for years to come.

This was said by President Hage Geingob at the memorial service in honour of Kauaria at the parliament gardens in Windhoek on Friday.

Kauaria died two weeks ago at the age of 61 and was laid to rest at Okonjoka village in the Amunius constituency on Saturday. The President and the First Lady attended the buril.

Geingob said the passing of “a distinguished daughter of the Namibian soil, who was an admirable educator, mother, sister and comrade” had left a void in the education sector.

He said while Namibians gathered to pay homage to Kauaria to console her two bereaved children, father, siblings, family members, friends and comrades, they were also celebrating a purposeful life of service, patriotism and resilience.

“We reflect on the deeds that characterized Comrade Kauaria’s life, which endeared her as a patriot to the greater public particularly in the field of education in which she has been engaged for many decades,” he said.

The President chronicled Kauaria’s life journey.

“Comrade Kauaria who was born on 24 October 1960, left Namibia in 1979 for the United Kingdom then the USA in search of better education opportunities as opposed to the inferior Bantu education that was forced upon black Namibians by the apartheid regime.

“She graduated from the Long Island University in New York in 1986, with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and in 1988 with a Masters of Library and Information Science from the same university returning to Namibia in 1989,” Geingob added.

“Over the years, Comrade Kauaria, left an indelible footprint through her professional experience in the library and information sector where she served as the Director of the American Information Centre in Windhoek; Director of Library and Archives in the Ministry of Education, as Namibia’s leading librarian and archivist, responsible for all public archives in the country; and Executive Director in the Department of Lifelong Learning, Arts and Culture, in the same Ministry, before joining the political arena.

“Comrade Kauaria also served on various professional institutions as the chairperson of the Culture Programmes Committee of the Namibian National Commission of UNESCO; Deputy chairperson of the National Commission of UNESCO; founder member and chairperson of the Namibian Information Workers Association; Member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Public Libraries Committee; Member of the International Council on Archives (ICA); the chair of ESARBICA (The Eastern and Southern Africa branch the International Council of Archives); Member of the American Library Association; and co-founder of the Friends of the Windhoek Public Library.

Geingob said Kauaria added the unique Namibian and regional rich literary heritage to these bodies, informed by the revolutionary and cultural experiences of the liberation era in Southern Africa.

She was one of the 10 members of parliament nominated by the president in October 2020 and she was appointed Deputy Minister of Higher Education in April 2021, a position she held until her death.

Meanwhile Presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari read an emotional eulogy titled ‘Veno Kauaria: A life of Purpose and Kindness’ for Kauaria, who was his aunt.
“A diligent human being, a gorgeously beautiful woman, and in equal measure, a very good person. I must add that this moment of overwhelming sorrow and loss for all of us notwithstanding, I am deeply honoured to share the eulogy of a generous soul.

“. . . Kavetu was soft – but beneath her down-to-earth persona, a strong-willed, resilient and fiercely ambitious person would emerge to pursue specific objectives,” Hengari read in part.

She is survived by her two daughters, Cutie and Uerii, among other relatives.