Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi
|Story by George Sanzila
Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi has described the late struggle stalwart Andimba Toivo ya Toivo as a selfless and dedicated leader who defended social and economic justice for all in the face of trying times of apartheid. The Speaker noted that ya Toivo’s ultimate goal throughout his political activism was to pursue Namibia’s self-determination even at the expense of his own life.
Katjavivi was paying tribute to the late ya Toivo at the family residence on Monday (13/06/17) where scores of mourners are gathered to remember a fallen giant whose outstanding gallantry played a key role in Namibia attaining political independence.
He noted that despite ya Toivo facing inhuman and sometimes life threatening treatment from his South African jailers, he remained steadfast and resolutely believed that independence would once be achieved. “Comrade Andimba dedicated his long and active life to the cause of the people of Namibia. He had a vision that Namibia would be a country whose proud people can determine their own destiny. He was committed to social and economic justice for all, anchored on the improvement of the lives of ordinary people to which Swapo has been committed since its foundation”, said Katjavivi.
Even though he did not achieve the fabled reputation that surrounded Nelson Mandela, they were both jailed for many years in the notorious Robben Island prison.
Katjavivi further related his first encounter with the fallen hero which emanated from the setting up of Swapo representation in UK to raise awareness on the plight Namibian liberation fighters who had been put on trial in South Africa following the introduction of the terrorism act. Katjavivi then spearheaded the Swapo foreign relations office covering the rest of Western Europe on instruction of founding President Sam Nujoma.
The generated international solidarity would result in the appointment of ya Toivo as vice president of University of Hull in the United Kingdom by the students union in camaraderie and support for him and other Namibian political prisoners. ya Toivo was released in 1984 and met Katjavivi in the United Kingdom and visited the university to offer his appreciation for the support and assistance that had contributed to his release. Katjavivi noted that ya Toivo was a unifying force who fiercely advocated for the downtrodden as his own early life as a farm worker was once subjected to exploitation and abuse. He implored Namibians to continue to work hard and to maintain peace and stability in keeping with the spirit of Ya Toivo. The struggle stalwart who died last week Friday has been accorded a national hero status and will be buried at the heroes’ acre on the 24th of June.