The family of the Andimba Toivo ya Toivo has thanked South Africa for honouring the memory of the late Namibian struggle icon.
Ya Toivo was laid to rest on Saturday in windhoek’s Heroes Acre.
He died two weeks ago at his home in the capital. The 92-year-old statesman had been imprisoned on Robben Island for 16 years for defying the apartheid system.
Family spokesperson, Shikuma Komati expressed their gratitude for the overwhelming support they have received.
“As a family we are grateful indeed for your general support you extended us to overcome this difficult time. We would like to thank the ANC for sharing solidarity with us during this bereavement. I would like to express gratitude to the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Ahmed Kathrada Foundation for standing in solidarity with us during the time we are grieving.”
Our Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, on behalf of President Jacob Zuma, represented SA’s government. She explained that it is important for South Africans to know the contribution foreign freedom fighters played in the liberation of our country.
“I think as South Africans our remembrance of the struggles of the Southern African liberation movements is a remembrance that says we are one people. We are neighbours but we shared a common struggle. Especially with the Namibians because we shared a common enemy. These are the people we need to remember in knowing our history.”
Namibian President, Hage Geingob delivered the final national message – using it to encourage the younger generations to take the baton and pick up where Ya Toivo left off. Geingob also remarked on how Ya Toivo would be in peace in heaven as he joins South Africa’s own late struggle heroes.
“He will also peep into the room where his fellow Robben Island prisoners are – namely Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Steve Tshwete, Govan Mbeki and Ahmed Kathrada. Icons who suffered for freedom of their people. Heroes like comrade ya Toivo and his peers should not be honored with words but with actions for it was through action that this brave son from Omagundu scaled the heights of the school of life to become a symbol of defiance against tyranny and oppression.”
Hundreds of mourners gathered at Heroes for the final send-off of the man they affectionately called Tatekhulu.
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– By Noma Bolani