Zephania Kameeta

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Zephania Kameeta
Zephania Kameeta.jpg
ChurchEvangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia
In office2002 – 2013
Personal details
Born7 August 1945
Otjimbingwe, Erongo Region

Zephania Kameeta (born 7 August 1945 in Otjimbingwe, Erongo Region) is a Namibian religious and political leader.[1] Since March 2015, he has been the Namibian Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.[2]

Religious work[edit]

Kameeta studied at the Paulinum Seminary at Otjimbingwe from 1968 to 1971.[3] He was ordained as a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1972, and taught at the Paulinum Seminary from 1973, serving as its principal 1976-77.[4]

Kameeta served as a parish minister in Lüderitz from 1978 to 1981. He was elected vice-president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1982 and deputy bishop in 1985.[4] Between 2002 and 2013 Kameeta was bishop of the ELCRN.[5] From 2003 to 2010 he also served as the Lutheran World Federation's Vice-President for the Africa region.[6]

Kameeta is an exponent of liberation theology.[7][8] He is best known for his rendition of Psalm 23 which he wrote in 1973:

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
He lets me see a country of justice and peace
And directs my steps towards this land.
He gives me power.
He guides me in the paths of victory,
As he has promised
Even if a full scale violent confrontation breaks out
I will not be afraid, Lord,
For you are with me.
Your shepherd's power and love protect me.
You prepare me for my freedom,
Where all my enemies can see it;
You welcome me as an honoured guest
And fill my cup with righteousness and peace.
I know that your goodness and love
Will be with me all my life; and your liberating love will be my home
As long as I live.[9][10]

This poem was later published in his Why, O Lord?: Psalms and Sermons from Namibia (Augsburg Fortress, 1986) and included in Pocket Prayers for Peace and Justice (Church House Publishing, 2004).[9][11][12]

Political work[edit]

In 1975, Kameeta founded the Namibia National Convention, a group founded to promote Black Consciousness.[10] He was arrested by the South African authorities for protesting against the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference.[3]

Kameeta served as a member of the Central Committee of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) from 1977 to 2002.[1] When Namibia became independent in 1990 he was elected as a SWAPO member of the National Assembly, becoming its first Deputy Speaker.[1] In 1997 he was elected to SWAPO's Politburo where he remained until 2002.[1]

Kameeta was one of the pioneers of the Basic Income Grant Coalition.[13] In 2015, he was appointed Minister for Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.[2]

Kameeta has Albinism. His prominent role in society has helped fellow albinism sufferers gain better understanding and acceptance.[14]


On Heroes' Day 2014 he was conferred the Most Brilliant Order of the Sun, First Class.[15]


  • Pütz, Joachim; von Egidy, Heidi; Caplan, Perri (1990). Namibia handbook and political who's who. Windhoek: Magus. ISBN 0-620-14172-7.


  1. ^ a b c d "Prominent SWAPO activists". Nordic Africa Institute. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Ministers" (PDF). Office of the Prime Minister. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b Historical Dictionary of Namibia. Scarecrow Press. 2012. p. 194.
  4. ^ a b Torreguitar, Elena (2009). National Liberation Movements in Office: Forging Democracy with African Adjectives in Namibia. Peter Lang. p. 209.
  5. ^ Miyanicwe, Clemans (28 August 2013). "Troubled ELCRN to elect new bishop". The Namibian. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  6. ^ "Bishop Kameeta Appointed to Namibian Presidential Council". Lutheran World Federation. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  7. ^ Diescho, Joseph (29 July 2014). "The role of the Church in Namibia". New Era. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  8. ^ Buys, Gerhard; Nambala, Shekutaamba. "Johannes Lukas de Vries". Dictionary of African Christian Biography. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  9. ^ a b Pocket Prayers for Peace and Justice. Church House Publishing. 2004. p. 3.
  10. ^ a b Ejikeme, Anene (2011). Culture and Customs of Namibia. ABC-CLIO. p. 62.
  11. ^ Low, Valentine (1 June 2004). "Church gives 23rd Psalm a makeover". Evening Standard. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  12. ^ Verkaik, Robert (2 June 2004). "Our Father, who art in heaven, give us fair trade". The Independent. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  13. ^ Jourdan, Stanislas. "Basic Income Movement Leader Appointed as Head of New Ministry for Poverty Alleviation". Basic Income Earth Network. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  14. ^ "'People think you're stupid'". News24. 5 October 2007.
  15. ^ "Namibians honoured by President". New Era. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 6 November 2016.