… If genuine, great leaders are left out without proper recognition
By Saunders Jumah the Utopian
FLAGS across the country were lowered to half mast in Namibia, and at the country’s embassies across the world, because of the loss of the greatest son of the soil, who despite being regarded as an inferior by apartheid government, punched a white soldier while in captivity in former apartheid South Africa.
He defied and castigated white supremacy in South Africa, over his quest for the freedom of his native South West Africa, now the Republic of Namibia.
Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo is no ordinary leader; he has been an extraordinary leader, who did not seek recognition or fame.
He served in the ministries that were assigned to him; he did not reject any appointment that was given to him. He remained humble and resilient.
After his passing, the Namibian government and Swapo Party seemingly availed the recognition to this noble man, after he is gone. We are disputing the halved recognition the son of the soil is receiving, at the hands of all the leaders that have ruled Namibia.
Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo deserves extraordinary recognition. Africa has a bad tradition of paying lipstick recognition, after the important person has passed away.
We need and must stop this. Noble and extraordinary people like Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo require a dignified much more than a dignified State funeral.
The Bank of Namibia must mint his portrait in one of Namibian currencies, as an extraordinary recognition to an extraordinary man, in Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo.
We need to remember that in those days, to challenge white supremacy, was not an easy thing; staying in Robben Island prison, in solitary confinement, cannot be regarded as a joke to Africa and Namibia.
The fact that during his time he did not demand special recognition and self-imposed respect, as happens with other heroes, Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo deserves more and extraordinary recognition, if Namibia is to be blessed.
Nowhere apart, from global icon Nelson Mandela, has a man’s distinguished sense of humble leadership, been expressed like Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo.
Government needs to spend for Andimba, so that a statue can be erected in Windhoek or at the gates of Namibia, across the country. Apart from statue and coining or currency portrait, Eros Airport or Walvis Bay Airport must be renamed after this great son of the liberation struggle of Namibian independence.
As the stakeholders ponder around this proposal and plea, similar efforts must proceed to think over how another great hero, who fought hard diplomatically for the freedom and independence of Namibia – Mburumba Kerina – can be recognised, before he dies.
Mburumba Kerina is the father of Namibia, for coining the name Namibia. In recognising heroes, Namibia must do away with effects of the ‘isms’ of tribe, region and race.
Mburumba Kerina must receive his cake of recognition, while alive.
These are not the personalities that must starve or suffer an inch in an independent Namibia, because we are free because of them; we are independent because of them, we are or have become presidents, ministers, members of parliament and National Council, because of them.
The Founding Father, Dr Sam Shafishuna Nujoma, is being taken care of, and these two must also be treated as such.
Though the Founding Father is not 100 percent looked after, because of the delays in terms of government thinking about his accommodation, we appeal to government to speed up its completion, so that these true heroes of Namibia keep blessing this country.
Nations that spite its founding leaders do not have a better future. Malawi is one bad example, while Zambia under Michael Sata is a good example, whose dividends and blessings are witnessed in its economic growth, and value of its currency.
We must draw a lesson on the way we handled Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, while he was alive. If we had done more while he was alive, we must do more for the living heroes like Sam Nujoma and Mburumba Kerina, among others.
Africa feels proud, when we respect and dignify our leaders and heroes.
Rest in eternal peace comrade and grandfather of Namibian independence!
It is about the past we inherited, and the future we all make.
*Saunders Jumah the Utopian is from the Forum for the Future of Africa
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015