Ya Toivo a Visionary – Angula

Defence Minister Nahas Angula has described Swapo stalwart Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo – who turns 90 today – as a visionary man who persevered difficulties for the sake of his motherland.

Angula made the remarks at the launch of a 32-page booklet on the life of Ya Toivo at the ruling party’s headquarters yesterday.

Angula authored the book as part of the festivities lined up to celebrate the 90th birthday of the legendary Swapo leader.

The booklet is a handy ready, chronicling the icon’s life from the 50s until the time of Namibia’s independence in 1990.

Angula described Ya Toivo as a visionary man whose qualities should be celebrated.

“We are here to celebrate vision and longevity and Ya Toivo is a man of vision. We must celebrate his courage, perseverance and steadfastness. These are the qualities of Ya Toivo,” said the defence minister at the launch.

In recent weeks public lectures on his life have been hosted across the country and a huge birthday celebration is planned for Windhoek.

The booklet titled, “Andimba Herman Toivo ya Toivo, Portrait of a Revolutionary Legend,” was the initiative of the Sub-Committee on Information and Entertainment under the Toivo ya Toivo 90th Birthday Preparatory Committee.

Toivo ya Toivo started at a tender age to organise fellow migrant workers from the then South West Africa who were working in Cape Town, in order to form a political organisation to campaign for the independence of the occupied motherland.

Angula who is also the chairperson of the aisory sub-committee said Ya Toivo mobilised the people of the former Ovamboland against the exploitative contract labour system. Ya Toivo and his political mobilisers created political awareness among the contract workers, youth and students in that part of the country.

His political activities at times led to his detention by traditional authorities in the then Ovamboland.

After the launch of the armed liberation struggle in 1966, Toivo ya Toivo and 36 others were arrested, tried and sentenced to long-term imprisonment on the notorious Robben Island in Cape Town.

Officially launching the booklet, the Speaker of the National Assembly Theo Ben-Gurirab encouraged Namibians not only to read the booklet, but to study it.

“We have to reflect as we appreciate the sacrifices made wherein so many people have died for the struggle of freedom and independence,” he stated.

The author said the book is dedicated to the youth of Namibia whose mission is to bring about social and economic transformation. “Such transformation should aim at shared economic growth, reduction in income disparity and social justice,” he said.

Angula said Ya Toivo symbolises the sacrifices the people of Namibia made to gain their freedom and independence. In the booklet one can read about Ya Toivo’s formative years, his political education, lighting a political prairie fire as well as launching a crusade for mass political mobilisation, his trial in the Pretoria Supreme Court and his life on Robben Island.

Angula indicated the booklet should be understood as an exploration of the historiography of the development of nationalism in Namibia.

He said a comprehensive biography of Ya Toivo and other pioneers of African nationalism in Namibia should still be written for posterity.

Source : New Era