President Hage Geingob has hailed the late former Windhoek mayor, alderman Matheus Shikongo, describing him as a trailblazer and pioneer who lived a meaningful life and has left behind an admirable legacy.
Geingob conferred a state-funeral on Shikongo, a long-serving City of Windhoek mayor and the first black Namibian to don the chain. He died of Covid-19 complications on Thursday, 13 May 2021, in Ongwediva Medipark Hospital at the age of 71. He was buried yesterday in Windhoek at the Pioneerspark Cemetery.
He served as the mayor of Windhoek in 1993 and again from 2000 to 2010, making him the capital city’s longest-serving mayor.
Speaking at the memorial held at Parliament Gardens in Windhoek on Monday, Geingob said from lowly and humble beginnings, Shikongo ascended to the lofty heights of success.
“His savviness in entrepreneurial pursuits is legendary. Long before he donned the mayoral chain, he had already made an impact on the citizens of Windhoek and indeed the nation at large,” Geingob said in a condolence message read on his behalf by vice president Nangolo Mbumba.
He said Shikongo helped establish the ABC brand at Okapya, Oluno and Omuthiya, as well as the popular Club Thriller, which was the mainstay of the city nightlife for many years.
Despite his numerous commercial achievements, Geingob said Shikongo’s lifetime accomplishments and contribution to Namibia went far beyond the world of business for as the saying goes, “legacy is not what one does for yourself but what you do for the next generation”.
Founding President Sam Nujoma described Shikongo as a man who was greatly respected and loved by his family, community, colleagues, and Swapo comrades and in the business fraternity where he had longstanding and cordial relations.
“We have lost not just a dependable colleague and a comrade. We have lost a dear friend, who had many virtues. He was generous in spirit and had a charming personality,” Nujoma said in a speech delivered by Khomas governor, Laura McLeod-Katjirua.
“He had the endearing ability to lift any mood and fortify our resolve in even the most difficult situations. He had a sense of humour and was humble.
He was principled and a man of great courage, in times of both calm and difficulty,” he added.
He said Shikongo was an honest man who never hesitated to speak up for what he believed to be right.
“His life was full of meaning and accomplishment in the way he dedicated himself to serve the people of our country. We will remember him for his kindness, his professional approach, but above all, for his ever-present sense of calm, even in a crisis or when under extreme pressure. He was a voice of reason and a voice of wisdom,” Nujoma said.
The Monday memorial was attended by among others, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa- Amadhila, Deputy Prime Minister and international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi and the leader of the official opposition the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), McHenry Venaani.
Shikongo grew up in the vicinity of Ondangwa, which served as the centre for the colonial administration in the then Ovamboland as well as the recruiting station for the South-West Africa Native Labour Association (SWANLA).
He was trained by PLAN combatants inside Namibia as an intelligence operator.
His training included the handling of weapons and ammunition and their proper storage, collection of information about the enemy as well as the protection and concealment of combatants.
He was trained by renowned combatants and commanders of PLAN such as the late commander Isak Shikongo ‘Pondo’, who was PLAN’s chief of intelligence, late commander Philip Hainana ‘Shikoka’ and now retired brigadier general Peter Heita ‘Progress’, under instruction from retired lieutenant general Martin Shalli who was PLAN’s chief of operations at that time.