REMARKS BY FATHER WERNER AFUNDE (LT COL):A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HONOUREE ARCHBISHOP BONIFATIUS HAUSHIKU ICP AT THE CITY OF WINDHOEK MASS RENAMING CEREMONY

17 May 2024

1. I am honoured and humbled to stand before you all to honour the late Archbishop Bonifatius Haushiku, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Windhoek.

2. I stand before you, ladies and gentlemen, to honourhis leadership qualities and contribution to the cause of the local church and beyond, and the promotion and defence of fundamental human rights and freedoms before the independence of Namibia.

3. You will not fully understand and appreciate what I will say unless you have interacted with the late Archbishop Bonifatius Haushiku at personal level. 

4. His leadership and commitment to fundamental human rights and freedoms will always stand the test of time as a revered figure in the history of our country.

5. Bonifatius Haushiku was born near the mission station of Sambyu on the 25th of May 1933.

6. He was a catholic baptized and fully initiated into the Catholic faith at the Sambyu Mission. 

7. The late Bonifatius Haushiku undertook his philosophical and theological training at St Theresa’s Seminary and St Augustine’s Scholastic respectively, in Roma, Maseru, Kingdom of Lesotho.

8. Upon completion of his studies, Bonifatius Haushiku was ordained to priesthood by Bishop Rudolf Koppmann at Sambyu on 29 June 1966. 

9. He was appointed as Assistant Priest at Sambyu in 1967, and later received his appointment as Rector (parish priest) of Andara Mission Station.

10. He became Auxiliary Bishop of the then Apostolic Vicariate of Windhoek on 27 January 1979. At the time of his consecration to the Office of an Auxiliary Bishop, he was the 13th African Bishop in South Africa and Namibia.

11. He was inaugurated as the new Bishop on 25 March 1981. 

12. The question of how to deal with the de facto government was a difficult one, especially after the breakdown of the Geneva Talks in 1981. 

13. The new Bishop has to deal with these challengesduring those years. A year full of upheavals in Namibia. 

14. A Transitional Government was inaugurated, but the Catholic Church opted not to recognize it, because not everyone was of the same opinion and it was not easy for Bishop Haushiku to keep the various groups in the Church together, but he succeeded.

15. The political situation necessitated that the new Bishop received invitations from organizations all over the world. 

16. In order to respond to everyone, he had to travel from Pretoria to Lusaka, from Germany to United Kingdom, from Moscow to Warsaw and to Washington. Though he was sometimes misunderstood his only aim was to work for peace, justice and reconciliation.

Support of Missionary activity

17. The late Archbishop Haushiku had opened the doors of his Archdiocese to the missionary spirit, finding men and women to work in the missions as priests, religious sisters and brothers. 

18. He welcomed missionaries from Indian, South Africa, Malawi, and the Fidei Donum priests from Poland, Nigeria, and Switzerland to participate in the field of evangelization in his Archdiocese. 

19. Under his leadership, the international “Cheshire Homes” for the physically handicapped children were established at both Anamulenge and Katima Mulilo Mission Stations respectively.

Contribution to Ecumenism Commitment

20. The late Archbishop Haushiku maintainedecumenical relationships with the different churches present in his Archdiocese and within the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) as a church umbrella organization.  

21. With other church leaders, Archbishop Haushiku worked closely together and undertook important international visits.

22. The following activities took place at the premises of the Roman Catholic Church during the time of Archbishop Haushiku:

a) The founding conference and subsequent conferences of the Namibia National Students’ Organisation(NANSO) at St. Joseph High School (Döbra) from 1984 onwards.

b) The first two affiliates of the National Union of Namibia Workers (NUNW) namely, the Namibia Food and Allied Workers Union (NAFAU) and the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) were founded in the hall of the Roman Catholic Church, Holy Redeemer Parish in Katutura, Windhoek.

c) Both the Namibia Women’s Voice (NWV, now defunct) and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) were established at the Holy Redeemer Parish in Katutura. 

d) Together with Bishop Kleopas Dumeni of ELCIN and Bishop James Kauluma of the Anglican Church, they took the apartheid government to court to release 36 Namibian detainees at Khaikhanachas Centre outside Mariental. The detainees were abducted from Angola during the Cassinga Massacre of 4 May 1978.

e) Training in Carpentry and Woodwork of  Ex-Robben Island prisoners and ex-Khaikhanachas detainees took place at the Roman Catholic Church premises in Pioneerspark.  Some of the trainees became professional carpenters and earned a living from such skills. 

f) During 29-30 April 1986, representatives of the pro-UN Resolution 435, churches, political parties, women’s and students’ movements assembled at the Roman Catholic Centre, /AI-// Gams in Klein Windhoek.

g) Archbishop Haushiku hosted at his Head Office in Windhoek the first meeting between the officials of the UN High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) and the CCN Executive Committee to plan the repatriation, reconstruction and resettlement (RRR) of Namibians returning home from years of exile.

h) In 1989 the entire country was geared towards the independence process.  One of the first activities was to bring the returnees back home. 

i) With the return of Namibians from exile, CCN member churches offered their facilities as reception centres. 

j) The RCC offered five reception Centres at different places such as Döbra outside Windhoek, Mariabronn outside Grootfontein, Okatana Mission Station, Oshikuku Mission Station and Anamulenge Mission Station in Oshana Region and Omusati Region respectively and at Catholic Mission Stations in Kavango. 

k) At these Centres, the Catholic Church offered sites to receive the returnees, to register them and assist them on the way to their home regions.  Archbishop Haushikuwas happy to offer his support for this undertaking.

Contribution to NDF Military Chaplaincy in independent Namibia

23. At the request of the Ministry of Defence upon requesting a priest to serve the military, and under the leadership of the late Archbishop Bonifatius Haushiku, Catholic Military Chaplaincy was established and Army Parish was erected on 7 October 1997 with all the rights and duties of a public and juridical person. I was the founding Chaplain, based at Military School, OsonaBase, Okahandja for a period of 11 years.

Establishment of the Church Hierarchy

24. After independence the Church became truly localand under the leadership of the late Archbishop Haushiku, and on 22 May 1994, the Namibian Catholic Church Hierarchy was established.

25. Archbishop Bonifatius Haushiku became the first Metropolitan Archbishop of Windhoek and the President of the Namibian Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1996, a function he performed until his death. During the same Ceremony, Father Joseph Shikongo OMI, a Namibian,was consecrated the Bishop of the newly created Apostolic Vicariate of Rundu, and Father Antonio Chiminello OSFS, became suffragan Bishop of Diocese of Keetmanshoop.

26. The Most Reverend Archbishop Ambrose de Paoli was appointed as Apostolic Nuncio to Namibia implyingthe establishment of the diplomatic relations between Namibia and the Vatican Holy See in 1996. 

27. Another important step that Archbishop Haushiku courageously took for the development and growth of the local church, was the opening of a Metropolitan St.Charles Lwanga National Seminary for the training ofpriests in 1997 in Klein Windhoek at the former!Ai//gams Centre. In the subsequent year Catholic AIDS Action, was officially found.

Haushiku as a Man strong in faith and Man of Prayer

28. There is no doubt in the mind of anyone who had interacted with the late Archbishop Haushiku in person that he was a man of great faith and man of prayer. 

29. I have lived with him at the Cathedral for two years.

30. I have observed that he was outstanding in holiness to the benefit of those entrusted to him. 

31. His moral authority, life of integrity and the prestige that uphold the exercise of his apostolate as a Shepherd only came from the holiness of his life.

32. His life of prayer has nourished his apostolate from within. He was the moral compass of the local church and nation at large.

33. I wholeheartedly join you in honouring andbestowing upon the late Archbishop Bonofatius Haushiku the deserved renaming of a long street after him.

34. We as the Roman Catholic Church will rememberhim from generations to generations to come. 

35. I thank you in the name of his life of great service and leadership to the Church and the people of Namibia.

35. Archbishop Bonifatius Hushiku passed away on Wednesday, 12 June 2002 at 07h30 in the Roman Catholic Hospital at Windhoek

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