Shaningwa said this while delivering a speech on behalf of the ruling party at a state memorial service held at Parliament Gardens on Wednesday in honour of Nghidinwa (65) who died on 14 January at the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek after a short illness.
“Ms Rosalia Annette Nghidinwa actively participated in the struggle. She was an unwavering patriot who provided immense support to wounded freedom fighters.
“Even though it was during tough times, she continued giving her support as a nurse and was never shaken in her duty. She was a down-to-earth human being and never demanded a front seat, she always regarded herself as last. Death has robbed us of a charismatic leader,” Shaningwa said.
A state funeral will be held for Nghidinwa in her home town of Nkurenkuru in the Kavango West region on Saturday morning.
President Hage Geingob said Nghidinwa’s legacy of dedication to nation building, the development of our country and the social welfare of our people, is one that will endure.
Official opposition party leader, Mchenry Venaani, described the late Nghidinwa as someone who lived her life with enormous respect.
“Her vitality, her passion, her essential integrity, and her abundant love for our citizenry reminded our nation what it means to be human. How she lived her life full of respect and kindness reminds us of the immutable ties that bind each one of us as flock of humanity,” Venaani said.
Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka, who officiated at the memorial service as the programme director alongside Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister, John Mutorwa, said Nghidinwa was her sister.
“I salute my sister. She was a pillar of strength and we have all lost that,” Sioka said.
Former President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, said Nghidinwa made sure that the rights of children and women were recognised when she served as Gender Equality Minister.
“On behalf of my family, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to her bereaved mother, siblings and her children,” Pohamba said in a speech read on his behalf.
Founding Father of the Namibian nation, Dr Sam Nujoma, described the late minister as a hardworking leader and a loving mother.
“She visited me late last year in Walvis Bay, but nothing indicated that she was not well until l received a call from one of her children that she was admitted in hospital,” Nujoma told mourners on Wednesday.
Nghidinwa served as Minister of Labour and Social Welfare from 2000 to 2005 and as Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration from 2005 to 2012.
She was appointed Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare in December 2012, a position she held until her retirement in 2015.
Nghidinwa was a nurse by profession and an active member of ELCIN, serving on the church’s governing council from 1991 to 1996.
She was a member of the SWAPO Party since 1974 and has spearheaded community development in her region.
She leaves behind her mother, six children and 19 grandchildren.