Respected land campaigner laid to rest
Pioneer campaigner for the landless, Maria Sululu Isaaks was finally laid to rest last weekend at Farm Versailles, after a last ditch intervention by H.E President Hage Geingob ordering that her bereaved family should be allowed to bury her at that farm.
Isaaks was the first person to be buried at the farm after it was proclaimed a resettlement land.
She was one of the founders of the //Naosan /Aes (Fire of the Ancestors), a group of over 300 families, mainly from /Khomas and Omaheke regions, who have been fighting to be resettled since 2009.
The death of Issaks, prompted the community to seek audience with the Office of the President and the Ministry of Land Reform seeking clarification. President Geingob, last week intervened and directed that the burial take place as planned at Farm Versalles as per the wish of the deceased.
The last-minute change in decision avoided a potential confrontation with the police, who were on standby to stop the burial.
Ironically, history repeated itself when the deceased, who was born at Ongombo east, was imprisoned with her family members when she could not bury her late mother at that farm and eventually formed the //Gaosa /Aes group.
Scores of mourners, including the Deputy Minister of Land Reform, Bernadus Swartbooi, Khomas Regional Governor’s Special Advisor, Hon. Sibeya Mwashikele, Deputy Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Paul Kisting, former Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Dr. Elias Kaiyamo, and now an Ambassador, Jafet Isaaks and community members attended the funeral.
Although the atmosphere was subdued, the ceremony resembled a celebration of a life well lived and, according to everyone who knew her, Maria Isaaks affectionately known among the community as “Ausie Sulex” fully dedicated her life to the landless and early childhood education in Namibia.
Deputy Minister Swartbooi described her as a pioneer land campaigner, a born leader and a woman of vision. He said the whole community gathered with heavy hearts because she had been influential in the fight for land.
The outspoken deputy minister described the late Isaaks as, “A touch and uncompromising and straight to the point. She took charge of history. The community were in great pain after losing one of their respected beloved. I hope that you will continue the work of this remarkable woman.”
“Isaaks was a pioneer. Pioneers are people who cry tears at night and show the bravest of faces during the day. That was Ousie Sululu,” he said.
He added that Isaaks has been a dedicated pioneer of the landless and that the Land Policy had undergone a positive metamorphosis because of her.
He further promised that the Ministry would engage the Versailles Community Committee on the touchy differences between the //Naosan /Aes and Stinwater groupings resettled at the farm that hampers development.
“We owe this to Isaaks. Here lays the greatest advocate of the landless. In fact, she is probably the first advocate of the landless in post independent Namibia,” he said amidst an applause from the mourners.”
“The loss of the great, irreplaceable Maria Isaaks will be felt in our hearts forever,” Deputy Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Paul Kisting said in his sermon.
“As a community leader, Isaaks never said no to a needy cause. She gave generously of her time, her talents and her resources to all who asked and volunteered to help countless others. Isaaks always had a smile for those in trouble and an ear to all who needed someone to understand their problems,” he added.