By Marianne Nghidengwa
SWAPO Party Secretary for Information and Mobilisation, Helmut Angula, has shared how in his youth he had worked for fallen liberation icon Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo as a brickmaker, and how this later turned into a private joke between the two lifelong friends.
Angula had also served as Ya Toivo’s deputy between 1990 and 1991, at the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
But it was when Ya Toivo was appointed
As Minister of Labour, between 1999 and 2002, that Angula started to tease him.
“When he became Minister of Labour, he was passionate about tackling issues around child labour. Now and again, I would tease him, by reminding him that when I was 17 years old, he employed me as a brickmaker.
“I would always tell him to pay me for that, to which he always responded that I should pay him for making me a man,” a laughing Angula said this week.
Ya Toivo died last Friday at his Klein Windhoek home, at the age of 92.
Angula said he had first met Ya Toivo in 1958, when the liberation stalwart was deported from Cape Town.
“He was put under the detention of the then Ondonga king at Okaloko in the Oshikoto region.”
Angula added they met for a second time in 1963, when he (Angula) had tried to join masses in Tanzania, then known as Tanganyika.
“I met him for the second time when I was getting my Swapo membership to go to Tanzania, then known as Tanganyika, but he dismissed me as a youngster, who would not survive the forest.”
Angula said that he then resorted to working for the late Ya Toivo in Ondangwa, for whom he made bricks.
“I then started working for him casually, making bricks. But he always told me to go school.”
Angula added that the third time their paths crossed was in Cuba, when he (Angula) was the Swapo representative to the Latin American country.
“The third time was in exile in Cuba, where I was Swapo’s representative. We talked a lot about the country, our prisoners and the political system; we wanted to liberate our country.”
After Cuba, Angula said that they met again in an independent Namibia, where they formed part of the country’s first Cabinet in 1990.
“We found ourselves back home. Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma, saw it fit for us to work together in the same ministry.
“We worked harmoniously. He gave me the department of energy, and I was responsible for drawing up legislation on energy issues. He trusted me and never interfered with my work,” Angula said.
Angula described Ya Toivo as a man who welcomed everyone.
“He welcomed everyone and had an open door policy.”
Angula said that their relationship strengthened over the years, to an extent that their families could be regarded as one.
“We have been close and he has a room in my house. Our families are one.”
Angula also recalled that on 27 May, the late Ya Toivo and his wife attended his daughter’s wedding in Windhoek, and stayed up till 02h00 with him.
“They came to the house and we stayed up until O2h00. We stayed up talking, drinking and eating. He did not show any signs of sickness. I did not know that was his way of saying goodbye,” Angula said.
He added that the last time he saw the veteran was on the day he died.
“The last time I saw him was that fateful Friday when he passed on. I was one of the first people to rush to his house. I saw how medical people were trying to revive his heart. He passed on.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015