ONGWEDIVA – The ministry of education is reeling in shock following news of the death of the director of education in Omusati region Laban Shapange.
The 51-year-old Shapange died of Covid-19-related complications at the Onandjokwe hospital yesterday morning, where he has been receiving treatment.
Social media went abuzz with tributes pouring in from friends, family and colleagues, who praised him for his exemplary leadership and mentorship he provided in the education sector.
To the learners, Shapange was famous for his repetitive line: ‘study, study and study’, a phrase he often used when he addressed learners in his region.
Minister of education Anna Nghipondoka, who was succeeded by Shapange in Omusati, said his death is not only a loss to the Omusati education directorate but the Namibian education fraternity at large.
“He was a man of great character, hardworking, self-propelled, a man who had the education of Namibian children at heart and a man who brought Omusati to where it is today,” Nghipondoka spoke fondly of his former colleague.
According to Nghipondoka, Shapange was not deterred by challenges. “Not even challenges could put him down; for him, they were a mere
steppingstone,” said Nghipondoka. Nghipondoka further added that Shapange will be particularly remembered for driving the symposium holiday classes.
The symposium classes were initially introduced to assist learners with English and enable them to get better grades in their external examination.
Education ministry executive director Sanet Steenkamp said news of Shapange’s death came as a shock. “As colleagues, we will remember
him in a special way. It is really sad – and during this difficult time, we extend our condolences to wife and children,” said Steenkamp.
She described Shapange as one of the few directors who have gone through all the ranks in education; hence, he had a good understanding
of issues in the sector and was very passionate about his work.
“He is one of the few directors who have been through all the ranks. He, indeed, had a good career in education. Shapange was a teacher,
a principal, an inspector, and a deputy director before he became a director,” said Steenkamp. Steenkamp said Shapange will be remembered for his deep, good sense of humour.
“I will personally miss his jokes; he really had a good sense of humour,” said Steenkamp. Executive Director further described Shapange as a brave director who had no fear of addressing issues.
She said Shapange tackled issues head-on, including issues considered to be controversial. Amongst his colleagues, Steenkamp said he was known
as the ‘senior citizen’ for the type of arguments he always brought to the table.