Stalwart of Namibian politics Tötemeyer passes on at home

Niël Terblanché

Professor Gerhard Tötemeyer, who served in the Namibian Cabinet as the Deputy Minister of Local, Regional Government and Housing and who also served as the country’s first-ever director of elections has died.

In life, Professor Tötemeyer was a notable figure in Namibian politics and academia.

Born on May 21, 1935, in Gibeon, Tötemeyer spent his early years in Keetmanshoop where his father worked as a missionary.

His family’s stay in Germany during World War II led to initial language barriers upon returning to South-West Africa, as he spoke neither English nor Afrikaans at the time.

He overcame these challenges by taking vocational training and later pursuing academic studies.

Tötemeyer graduated with a Bachelor of Honours in History from the University of Stellenbosch in 1959 and subsequently acquired a Secondary School teacher’s diploma in 1960.

His academic pursuits led him back to South West Africa, where he taught at Windhoek High School in the early 1960s.

He then broadened his academic horizons with a research post in Freiburg, Germany, and earned a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Stellenbosch in 1974.

Before venturing into politics, Tötemeyer held several influential academic and administrative positions at universities in Stellenbosch, the Transkei, and Cape Town.

In 1987, as Namibia neared independence, he became Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Management Science at the University of Namibia, a position he held until the early 1990s.

Professor Tötemeyer’s political career began in earnest after Namibia’s independence in 1990.

Before he became a member of the Cabinet or served as the elections director, Professor Tötemeyer was a member of the first Delimitation Commission of Namibia, a critical body for the administrative division of the country.

After retiring from politics in 2004 due to health concerns, he continued to contribute to society, serving as the Chairman of the National Housing Enterprise, a state-owned company providing housing for the poor, from 2005 onwards.

Professor Tötemeyer was also known as an author who published several books on politics and education in both South Africa and Namibia.

The body of the 88-year-old former politician, who retired from public service in 2004, was found in his home in Swakopmund earlier this/on Wednesday morning.

It is suspected that Professor Tötemeyer passed away as a result of a heart attack.

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