Death has struck the close-knit family of Katutura glamour football club African Stars for the umpteenth time, following the sad passing of staunch supporter and former attacking midfielder Justus Tjikarerera Tjejamba. The strongly-built No.10 was without a shadow of a doubt one of Stars’ ever-present diehard,s and barely missed an official match whenever his favourite team ‘Starlile’ was in action. Having bravely fought and manoeuvred his way around a series of life-threatening ailments over the years, Tjejamba has sadly succumbed to heart failure. As has become customary practice, honouring our sports personalities present and posthumously, New Era Sport takes you, our esteemed reader, through the somewhat abbreviated promising football journey of this great son of the soil. May his gentle soul rest easy
Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekua
Born in Namibia’s commercial capital Windhoek on 25 January 1959, the young Justus Tjikarerera Tjejamba’s genes dictated that he would be a footballer of note.
After all, his old man, Erastus Tjikapua Tjejamba, was a versatile footy for the now- defunct Nau-Aib (Okahandja) outfit Fortuna Football Club, the precursor to Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC).
A product of Windhoek’s old location, and oldest son of a well-to-do politician-turned-successful communal farmer, young Justus was just like many other young boys his age – football-crazy – to put it bluntly.
He would play the game at the slightest provocation whenever the chance presented itself, be it on the streets, or on his way to some nil-star makeshift grocery outlets in the neighbourhood.
Back in the day, the beautiful game of football was the only pastime available to the marginalised black communities, with virtually no recreational facilities in sight. Though he was born in the city of bright lights (Windhoek), Justus literally spent a significant chunk of his formative years in the dusty village of Okakarara.
The strongly-built, bow-legged, calculated boy from ‘Long Tail’, sandwiched in the OD sub-section of Katutura location, demonstrated flashes of greatness in the early stages of his infant years. He was a special talent, and certainly destined to become a noted footballer.
Tellingly, it was not until he went to Okakarara to further his academic aspirations at the town’s senior secondary school that the natural left-footed attacking midfielder rose to prominence as a much-adored dribbling wizard.
Justus formed the nucleus of the school’s first team’s firing line alongside the dangerous pair of sharpshooters Jackson ‘TB’ Meroro and Moses ‘Five’ Kandingua, in a five-pronged front line that also included defensive midfielder Gotty Kavezepa, and hard-galloping stocky winger, the late Immanuel ‘Fusi’ Semba.
Justus’ exploits on the football pitch did not go unnoticed, as he was rewarded with a much-deserved call-up to boyhood team African Stars to showcase his amazing God-given talent in the team’s second strings during school holidays.
Owning an unbelievable first touch, great close ball control, and dribbling skills second to none, he additionally packed dynamite in both feet. He was your typical modern-day roaming No 10.
Despite his tortoise-pace mobility, his great vision and ability to comfortably shield robust defenders came in handy in most battles.
His markers could not easily rob him of the ball whenever he was in possession of the spherical object glued to his big feet. He occasionally weighed in with crucial match-winning goals when called upon.
Sadly, a catastrophic car accident left him with multiple career-ending knee injuries, which curtailed his progress as a potential Reds’ first-team candidate, thus bringing a premature end to an otherwise flourishing football career in 1980.
Justus was travelling in a poorly-equipped open army truck with fellow pupils from a school gathering in Otjinene when the truck overturned at the notorious sharp turn linking Otjinene to Okondjatu, near Ehungiro village.
The tragic accident left Justus with multiple serious bodily injuries, including damaged knee ligaments.
“Eish, it was a very sad day. He was seriously injured, but what made it even worse was that it was our final year at school. We all thought the brother would never recover in time to come back and write the final exams. But for some amazing Godly-sent work, he miraculously managed to weather the storm. He was hospitalised for an extended period,” reflected former teammate Bernard Norii Kaanjuka.
Nonetheless, the football-crazy Justus did not despair, and dedicated his time and soul to vigorously support his beloved Starlile with almost all off-the-field administrative duties.
He regularly provided much-needed humanitarian assistance in kind, transporting players to and from training sessions, including match-days, often outside town.
Justus would often travel the energy-sapping long distance from Otjombinde to Windhoek, just to watch his beloved Stars in action.
Indeed, a life well-lived.
Justus will be ushered to his final resting place at the family homestead of Helena in the Otjombinde constituency, approximately 150km east of Gobabis, tomorrow morning. May his soul rest in power.