ONGWEDIVA – President Hage Geingob has eulogised the founding governor of Oshana region Sylvanus Vatuva as a trailblazer and dedicated public servant who played a key role in assisting the central government dismantle apartheid Bantustans and setting up administrative structures in Oshana. “His contributions in shaping the growth trajectory of the Oshana region to what it is today are indeed significant,” said Geingob. “I wish to express my sincere condolences to the widow, Mrs Helena Vatuva, the children, the grandchildren and the entire family.” Vatuva, died at the age of 87, after an illness. He was also a renowned businessman. Tributes also poured in yesterday for Vatuva who served as governor between 1991 and 1998. His daughter Paulina Uugwanga described his father as a family man.
“We are celebrating our father’s life because for him, family always came first, his children and wife came first before anything else, it doesn’t matter how busy his life was,” Uugwanga told New Era yesterday. Uugwanga, who is also an educationalist, said it was a prerequisite for them to get an education as a result their father made it mandatory to be present at their graduation ceremonies. “He was very instrumental in our education. When you graduate, he will ask if that is the highest you could get to and then he would ask when you are registering for the next qualification. And you will feel guilty for not registering again,” Uugwanga fondly remembered. Apart from the formal education, Uugwanga said their father imparted knowledge to the community to use for their everyday life. NamPower’s Managing Director Simson Haulofu said Vatuva was secretly known as ‘Omusuomi’, an Oshiwambo word for a Finnish, as he was always seen as honest. “He never saw anyone as a child, young or old, uneducated, poor, foolish, we were all equal in his eyes. He gave us hope and assistance,” said Haulofu. Haulofu said he used to pass by Vatuva’s shop and pretended to want to buy something but just hang around the shop and once Vatuva arrived, he would ask him five questions and give him bread to take home. “He was the first man we came to know, who could give you a lift in his car and ask for no payment,” said Haulofu. Vatuva is survived by four children, his wife and 22 grandchildren.