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New Era Newspaper - 12/06/2017 - Vol22 No212

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Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo

2 NEWS Monday, June

2 NEWS Monday, June 12 2017 | NEW ERA Product of New Era Publication Corporation World mourns death of Ya Toivo … the Namibian liberation icon (Daniel Tjongarero House) Corner of Dr W Kulz and Kerby Streets Tel: 061 - 273 300 P/Bag 13364 Windhoek Registered as a newspaper, Certificate No. 06/08/91 EDITOR Chrispin Inambao EDITORIAL Tel: +264 61 - 273 328 Fax: +264 61 - 235 419 EDITORIAL BOARD: Toivo Ndjebela, Chrispin Inambao, Desie Heita, Helvi Shaanika, Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro, Carlos Kambaekwa REGIONAL OFFICES Katima Mulilo Office: Tel: +264 66 - 253 049 Cell: +264 81 488 6594 / +264 81 124 2895 Rundu Office: Tel: +264 66 - 256 298 Cell +264 81 217 1888 Ongwediva Office: Tel: +264 65 - 238 990 Fax: +264 65 - 231 305 Albertina Nakale Windhoek Words of admiration flowed in from freedom fighters, heads of state and many more including South African political parties and other African organisations for Namibia’s revered anti-apartheid struggle icon, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, who died in Windhoek at the age of 92. Ya Toivo died at his Klein Windhoek home on Friday evening from a suspected heart attack. He was Namibia’s longest serving Robben Island prisoner, having served 16 years on the island with other luminaries of the African peoples’ struggles following conviction for contravening South Africa’s Terrorism Act. He was in the same section as former late South African President Nelson Mandela for fighting for freedom and national independence. Following his release from Robben Island in 1984, Ya Toivo committed himself to the building of a democratic Namibia, serving as secretary general of Swapo and in various portfolios in government. Ya Toivo was a founder member of the South West African People’s Organization (Swapo) and its predecessor the Ovamboland People’s Organization (OPO). The news of his death went viral on social media on Friday evening which was later followed by a message of condolence from President Hage Geingob who officially announced Ya Toivo’s passing. His death has also been reported internationally including by the world renowned New York Times. “Good evening fellow Namibians. The icon of the Namibian struggle and national hero Comrade Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo is no more. He left us this evening around 18h00 at his house in Windhoek, Namibia,” Geingob announced. “On behalf of the Namibian government … I express collective sorrow to the bereaved family … their loss is not only felt by the family but by us all as a country,” stated the president. The founding father Sam Nujoma’s aide John Nauta said the founding president would deliver a message of condolence during the memorial and funeral service. The African National Congress (ANC) national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the party has received with profound sadness the news of the passing of Ya Toivo. The ANC described Ya Toivo as a loyal friend of the South African people, a freedom fighter, hero and icon of Namibia’s struggle for self-determination. “A man of strong beliefs and convictions, Cde Toivo dedicated his life to the fight against oppression by the then South Africa authorities, rejecting apartheid South Africa’s reduction of sovereign Namibia into its colony. His life was the personification of solidarity, the quest for self-determination and unyielding commitment to the liberation of his people,” the ANC statement read. The ANC described Ya Toivo as a pan-Africanist and progressive internationalist, who was a vocal and ardent supporter of the oppressed peoples of the world, leading from the front in, amongst others, the mobilization and call for the release of Africa’s friends – some of whom fought in the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale for Southern Africa’s liberation – and the Cuban Five heroes from American jails. Further, the ANC remember him as a “militant workerist” who advocated the rights of African and black mineworkers in South Africa and Namibia and was banished from South Africa for smuggling taped testimonies to the United Nations (UN) about the harsh experiences of black mineworkers. “South Africa has lost a true friend in Comrade Toivo ya Toivo and we send our deepest condolences to our fraternal organization, Swapo, the people of Namibia and Comrade Ya Toivo’s family on his passing. Comrade Toivo has left an indelible mark in the history of our region and the continent. Ours is to emulate his life’s work and continue to fight for the realization of his vision of freedom for oppressed peoples of the world and of a continent at peace with itself,” the ANC consoled. The Nelson Mandela Foundation also sent its condolences on the passing of Ya Toivo. The foundation noted the friendship Ya Toivo shared with the late Mandela while imprisoned during the apartheid years on Robben Island. The foundation’s CEO Sello Hatang said Madiba often described him as a stubborn freedom fighter, who was determined to win independence for his people in Namibia. Hatang says it’s important to note that their friendship was warm and heartfelt. “I remember seeing the two of them in 2010 … Toivo was in town and he popped in to see Madiba. At the time, the two of them exchanged some really beautiful stories of Robben Island but also to check on each other’s health,” Hatang is quoted saying by the Eyewitness News. Mandela said some people “behave very well” in order to be promoted, but Ya Toivo was different. Mandela before his death described him as “quite militant”, saying Ya Toivo “wanted very little to do with whites, with the warders”. Mandela who called Ya Toivo a “formidable freedom fighter” in his autobiography ‘Long Walk to Freedom’, said he had hit back and knocked down a warder. The South African Communist Party also expressed its message of heartfelt condolences to the family of Ya Toivo, the people of Namibia, Southern Africa and the African continent as whole on the death of the freedom fighter and co-founder and leader of Swapo. “Africa is not independent yet, because of persisting imperialist domination and capitalist exploitation of its resources and people. The masses of our people remain impoverished across the board, while a few, both national and foreign exploiters are becoming rich and richer out of the exploitation,” the party expressed. The party reiterated its call for African continental unity to continue and deepen the struggle to advance the African revolution in honour of the exceptional founders and leaders of the African national liberation movements, of whom Ya Toivo was one. He retired from active politics in 2006. Tsumeb Office: Tel: +264 67 - 221 652 Cell: +264 81 456 8643 Swakopmund Office: Cell: +264 81 217 9739 Cell: +264 81 204 8078 Keetmanshoop Office: Tel: +264 63 - 222 057 Cell: +264 81 312 5975 Luderitz Office: Tel: +264 63 - 204 180 Cell: +264 81 245 9714 DISTRIBUTION & SUBSCRIPTIONS Ernst Apollus Tel: +264 61 - 273 326 Fax: +264 61 - 220 584 MARKETING, SALES & PRODUCTION Festus Goseb Tel: +264 61 - 273 322 Fax: +264 61 - 220 584 Mbambo leads delegation to Zimbabwe John Muyamba Rundu Kavango East Regional Governor Dr Samuel Mbambo is heading a Namibian delegation for a weeklong visit to Mashonaland West Province in Zimbabwe. The visit is in pursuit of knowledge and skills in food production, as Mashonaland is known for farming. The delegation left for Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Windhoek Swapo Party President Hage Geingob has said the party will never compromise on its principles, which include unifying the people of Namibia, irrespective of race, religion, sex or ethnic origin. Swapo espouses a democratic, vibrant and peace-loving nation. “You can negotiate on everything but not on principles,” said Geingob quoting the late Zimbabwe on Friday and will be back on Saturday. Mbambo yesterday joined the delegation in Harare where they were welcomed by Namibian embassy staff and proceeded on the tour. “This trip is a fact-finding mission concerning food production to Zimbabwe, specifically to Chinhoyi in Mashonaland West Province, where we were told that is the province that produces a lot of food. In our region we have Commandante Fidel Castro. Speaking at the opening of the Swapo Party Central Committee meeting in the capital on Saturday, Geingob said the party made a promise to the Namibian people that it will be the party that will transform the country into a developed nation. “As we prepare to engage each other in comradely deliberation let us ensure we keep that thought at the forefront of our minds,” said Geingob who is also the head of state. embarked on a food production programme called Operation Werengendje. We are going to learn more and make use of their skills and experience concerning food production,” Mbambo told New Era in an interview before he left. Mbambo sees the visit as the beginning of what he thinks will be a long standing relationship because after this visit the intention is to have a twinning relationship that will focus mainly on food He said cadres should continue ensuring the government remains dedicated and committed to improving the quality of life of all Namibians. “This is the message we should all ensure is transmitted in every region, every town, every constituency and every village in our country.” He said Swapo must, and will always put, the people first before individual interest. “With that being said, we must all take pride in the fact that 57 years after our party’s production. “This is just the beginning – we will get to a point where we will sign a memorandum of understanding. We are thinking some of those experts coming here can provide training to our people like farmers and so on, or crop and animal husbandry and some of those things, or we can send people to Mashonaland to get training and come back with a purpose to come train others here . The whole idea is to enhance founding Swapo remains as relevant and as strong as it ever was.” “That is due to the fact that Swapo is a party that was built on strong principles. It is a party that has always been committed to peace, justice and democracy,” he added. Geingob said under Swapo’s leadership Namibia is rooted in the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all. “We have created and established the institutional framework that has resulted in a robust governance architecture, food production under Operation Werengendje,” Mbambo noted. He said the delegation would include staff from the University of Namibia (Unam) as there are plans to incorporate agriculture at the Rundu campus. The delegation includes crop, poultry, other livestock as well as horticulture farmers. Some business people in the area of tourism and hospitality also joined the delegation. Swapo will never compromise its principles – Geingob characterized by regular free and fair elections and peaceful leadership succession.” He said Swapo has ensured peace and stability, but after 27 years, people’s attention has now turned to economic prosperity. “People want food, decent shelter and clothes.” “We have therefore entered the second phase of the struggle and once again the people look to the Swapo Party leadership to steer the country towards the attainment of economic emancipation.”

Monday, June 12 2017 | NEW ERA NEWS 3 Tributes flow from former Robben Island prisoners Albertina Nakale Windhoek New Era spoke to some political icons who spent many years incarcerated with the late Andimba Ya Toivo on Robben Island. Helao Shityuwete, aged 82, who also spent about 16 years on Robben Island described Ya Toivo as an old friend politically. “We came a long way. He was my oldest political friend and mentor. We first met when Ya Toivo was my English teacher under a tree at Odibo in 1949,” he remembered. Shityuwete said Ya Toivo was their leader on Robben Island, where he showed them the way through responsive defiance. After independence, he said, they retained their friendship and saw each other frequently. “Even last week we were together where we reflected on the length of our friendship. I wish for the young people to take further his legacy. Go well, my friend,” Shityuwete bid farewell. Another prisoner is Namibian diplomat and politician Martin Kapewasha, 67, who served eight years on Robben Island, being released in 1981. He said Namibia is mourning a legendary hero of the Namibian revolution, adding that Ya Toivo was a founding member of Swapo. Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo – the timeline 22 August 1924: Born at Omangundu village newe Ondangwa 1950: Graduated as a teacher at St Mary’s School 1951: Left for Cape Town, South Africa 1952 – 1953: Worked as a railway police officer 1957: Joined the African National Congress (ANC) at Cape Town 1957: Co-founded the Ovamboland People’s Congress (OPC), forerunner of the Ovamboland People’s Organization (OPO) 1958: Sent a petition to the United Nations, with the assistance of Mburumba Kerina and Michael Scott 1960: Appointed secretary-general after OPO reconstituted itself as Swapo 1966: Arrested and taken to Pretoria, where he and other Namibians were tortured and interrogated 1967: Put on trial with 36 other Namibians 1968: Sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment and incarcerated at Robben Island (he spent most of his time in solitary confinement) 1 March 1984: Released from Robben Island 1984: Became a member of the Swapo Central Committee and Politburo and elected Swapo secretary-general November 1989 to March 1990: Member of the Constituent Assembly 1990: Became a member of the National Assembly and appointed minister of mines and energy 1993: Married Vicky Erenstein March 1999: Appointed minister of labour August 2002: Appointed minister of prisons 2004: Chose not to run for a seat in the National Assembly in time for 2004 general election 2007: Failed to be elected to the Swapo Politburo for the first time in the party’s history 9 June 2017: Passed away at the age of 92 He described Ya Toivo as a leader who helped freedom fighters who came from Tanzania to set up camp at Ongulumbashe and then was arrested and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment on Robben Island, where he served 16 years until his release in 1984. Kapewasha said Ya Toivo was a leading figure in the political spectrum and they took courage from him on Robben Island. “Ya Toivo’s passing has really left a gap in our Swapo leadership because he was a pillar we could lean on. We are thankful he died at a very good age after everybody had learned a good lesson from him. So we are mourning a legend and a giant of our revolution. We convey our condolences to his family and wish that his soul rest in eternal peace,” Kapewasha consoled the family. Ben Ulenga is another former prisoner who joined the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia in 1974 but was later captured after being wounded in combat and sentenced to 15 years in prison, which he spent on Robben Island. Ulenga said they had a good relationship with Ya Toivo. According to him, they not only regarded him as the leader of their group in prison but as their overall leader of the liberation movement Swapo. “I must say the passing of Mr Ya Toivo is indeed Image: O’ Malley Archive a watershed. It’s a closing of an era. I look at it as the end of an era of liberation heros. Of course there are others who are there, but Toivo was not just one among others, he was the one person mainly responsible for what we consider now a movement that brought Namibia’s liberation, freedom and independence,” he noted. Ulenga said what Ya Toivo contributed to the formation of the Namibian nation was beyond expectation and cannot be measured. “Of course everybody of us must die. Death is built in our DNA so we can’t avoid it but I must say it’s regrettable that he is gone. I wish his soul to rest in peace. Namibia was very fortunate to have one like him,” Ulenga said. Arrangements for the memorial and funeral are still to be announced. COMMENT Ya Toivo appeared fit at his last public event • Albertina Nakale As the news spread like wildfire on Friday evening one could not help but wonder how the political icon Andimba Toivo ya Toivo suddenly passed on as he seemed so well and fit during his last public appearance last week Monday. Ya Toivo gave a public address during the 5 th Continental African Conference in Solidarity with Cuba last week Monday as a patron of the Namibia-Cuba Friendship Association, where he said he looked forward to discussions on how the two countries can jointly help bring an end to the economic blockade and the return of Guantanamo Bay to the people of Cuba, which is currently under US control. At the age of 92 (he would have been 93 in August), Ya Toivo entered the venue unaided for his address alongside President Hage Geingob. He calmly took his seat and listened attentively to various speakers while his chance to speak approached. When his chance arrived, Ya Toivo took his speech and delivered it. One could not but stop to admire him reading so well and so many delegates were seen mumbling about his good eyesight – of course taking into consideration the font was made bigger. As a journalist I obviously got to the office to write my article. Since he only had a hard copy I called his mobile phone but he didn’t pick up. I therefore decided to send him a text hoping he would read it and email me the speech as I provided my email address. Thereafter, I promptly received an email from his twin daughter, Nashikoto, saying: “I am one of Tate Ya Toivo’s daughters, my father does not read text messages, he only answers phone calls and makes them. In the future please don’t hesitate to contact either my mother or myself for speeches etc,” she wrote. This whole conversation left me thinking that it’s a new chapter of good and fast communication when doing stories on Ya Toivo, as she provided her contact details as well as those of her mother. Little did I know it would be our last communication and probably it was a way of saying goodbye. May the soul of Tatekulu Ya Toivo rest in eternal peace.

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