Niko Bessinger

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Niko Bessinger (12 June 1948 – 25 March 2008) was a Namibian politician and independence activist.

Bessinger was born on 12 June 1948 in Walvis Bay, South West Africa. He studied at St. Bonifacius Roman Catholic Primary School, Augustineum Secondary School and matriculated at Athlone High School in Cape Town in 1966. He then studied architecture at the University of Cape Town before receiving a Fulbright grant to study at the University of Detroit in the United States. Bessinger joined SWAPO in 1972 and became treasurer of the Windhoek office in 1976. He became national treasurer a year later. From 1981 until just prior to independence in 1990, Bessinger was SWAPO's internal secretary for foreign affairs. During this time, he was arrested several times by South African authorities. Upon independence in 1990, he was elected to the National Assembly and chosen by President Sam Nujoma as the first Minister of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism. He was elected to the National Assembly again in 1994 before resigning in 1996, when he was replaced by Marlene Mungunda. He remained on the SWAPO Party Central Committee until 2007. Bessinger died of a heart attack on 25 March 2008 at his home in the Khomasdal, Windhoek. At the time of his death, he also had cancer.[1]

Personal Life

Niko Bessinger is survived by his children, Anthony Bessinger, Hatani Bertolini, and Kakuna Calista Karuaihe.