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‘Humble’ business icon, politician remembered

2021-05-17  Maihapa Ndjavera

‘Humble’ business icon, politician remembered
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Namibians are grieving the passing of the late businessman and Windhoek’s first black mayor Matheus Shikongo, who succumbed to Covid-19 last week.

Last week, President Hage Geingob led the tributes, saying the death of Shikongo is a sad day for the country, Swapo and the residents of Windhoek, which he served diligently for decades.

 He added that the late Shikongo
made valuable contributions to the socio-economic development of Namibia. In his message of condolences to the wife, children and the entire bereaved family, the President said: “The late Matheus Shikongo was a businessman and member of the Swapo Party of Namibia, who was elected as the first black mayor of Windhoek in 1993, and was later re-elected for consecutive terms from 2000 to 2010.” Meanwhile, fellow businessman Martin Shipanga noted Namibia lost a humble and hardworking man. When they were young, Shipanga said Shikongo was an inspiration for many black businesspeople and the emerging communities in Katutura.  

He recalled the heavy tasks that were laid at the door of Shikongo and his administration as Windhoek mayor to transform a heavily segregated city at independence. “I had the privilege of serving with him at the City of Windhoek for 10 years, and there is a lot we have done, which testimonies can be seen today. 

The black child is now enjoying the fruits of the hard-fought battles of bringing the city to the level where it should be,” he stated. Shipanga added that the late Shikongo was fond of upgrading the Sam Nujoma Stadium, just to encourage the youth to be more involved in sports activities. 

In outlining some successes they achieved during his tenure as a mayor, Shipanga said Shikongo fought for infrastructural development, especially in Katutura and Khomasdal. He observed that during Shikongo’s tenure, people were given the ownership of municipal houses, more play parks were constructed, and the creation of markets and plazas were accelerated to bring businesses closer to the communities. 

At the Swapo level, Shipanga said Shikongo was one of the leaders who never hesitated to avail his resources and venues, just for the party’s activities to take place. 

Fellow local business mogul Sven Thieme said it was with sadness that he learned about the sudden passing of the late Shikongo. He described Shikongo as not only a successful businessman and mayor of the city, but also as someone who played a pioneering role in the establishment of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI). 

“He served as 5th NCCI president from 1997-2000. We are saddened by his sudden departure, and we will forever remain indebted for his immense contribution to the Namibian business sector, ensuring that the Namibian business voice was not only heard and embraced by the government, but was also supportive of government’s developmental agenda,” said Thieme. 

Current Windhoek mayor Job Amupanda said Shikongo considered him as a son, and he missed the chance of meeting him at the farm after he received an invite.  “I learned a lot from him, during his visit he wished us well, and let us into many happenings in his time.” Shikongo was born on 26 June 1950 in Ondangwa, Oshana region. In December 2010, Shikongo was replaced as mayor
by fellow Swapo member and deputy mayor, Elaine Trepper.

2021-05-17  Maihapa Ndjavera

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