By Annines Angula
Windhoek - Namibian President Hage Geingob has expressed sadness following the death of former veteran politician and diplomat, Nora Schimming-Chase, early Tuesday morning after a long illness.
Schimming-Chase lost a long battle with cancer at the age of 78. She was among the first core group of Namibians selected to establish the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately after independence in March 1990.
"I have learned with sadness about the death of family friend and outstanding Namibian servant, Comrade Nora Schimming-Chase. Cde Nora and Cde Libertine Amathila joined as brave female freedom fighters Comrade Putuse Appolus in Dar-Es Salam in the 1960s. I wish the family strength," Geingob said on his Twitter account.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and her staff also expressed their condolences to the bereaved family and expressed their “solidarity with them during this moment of bereavement”.
“Wherever Nora Schimming-Chase had served, she made a difference; service with diligence was her single purpose; loyalty to her country was her defining characteristic.
“She was a bright woman, full of life. She was a constant source of encouragement to junior staff members and sound advice for her colleagues.
“Thus, as we mourn her passing I wish us to recall what Shakespeare once said: ‘Laughing faces do not mean that there is an absence of sorrow. But it means that they have the ability to deal with it’.
“That is how I feel we should celebrate Ambassador Schimming-Chase’s life, laughing while mourning,” Permanent Secretary Selma Ashipala-Musavyi said in a statement.
She served as the ambassador to Germany from 1992 to 1996 and Austria from 1994 to 1996.
The President Geingob described her “as an outstanding Namibian servant and freedom fighter, who together with comrade Libertina Amathila joined Putuse Appolus in Dar-es-Salam in the 1960s”.
While in exile during the war of liberation, Schimming-Chase was South West Africa National Union (Swanu) representative in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 1974 to 1978.
She was the co-founder of the opposition Congress of the Democrats (CoD) in 1999. She was elected as vice-president of the now defunct CoD, to former leader Ben Ulenga.
Schimming-Chase served a lawmaker in the National Assembly for the CoD from 2000 until 2009 when she resign from the party, claiming the former official opposition has lost its course.
After retirement from active politics, and in recognition of leadership acumen, Schimming-Chase was selected by her peers as the founding Chairperson of the Namibian Association of Retired Ambassadors.
In 2014, former President Hifikepunye Pohamba awarded her the Most distinguished Order of Namibia First Class during the commemoration of Heroes Day.