Rudolph Tino Haingura
I have known Ignatius Shixwameni as the revolutionary secretary general and President of the Namibia National Students Organisation (Nanso) at the height of the national students’ boycotts of the late 1980.
He and other leaders of Nanso popularised the slogan ‘Liberation first and education later’.
Against this background, he and others did not write examinations in 1988 to focus on national liberation first – and thereafter returned to complete their academic studies.
I still vividly remember the letter he personally wrote to me and Ben Wakudumo with the directive to establish a Nanso branch at Rundu Sekondêre Skool in 1987.
This letter come after we attended a meeting at Döbra.
Father Boonstander, who was our Parish Priest in Rundu, convinced us to attend a supposedly NACAYUL meeting at Döbra.
He directed us to the hall where Nanso had their congress from 1 to 4 May 1987.
We were surprised, excited and proud to see the young and dynamic leader in the name of Shixwameni, affectionally known as Iggy, addressing the congress in the eloquent and revolutionary spirit of Che Guevara, and the style of the Father of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.
In front of the podium, one could witness the vibrancy, dynamism and oratory skills of the young boy from Utokota, schooled through the doors of Rundu Sekondêre Skool.
Shixwameni has consistently and principle demonstrated his deep understanding of societal social justice and political issues – and this was observed by his peers at school and the Academy for Tertiary Education during his formative years as a young person.
During that time, the universities of Western Cape, Wits, Fort Hare and Zululand, amongst others, were synonymous with the struggles of the Namibian students for national liberation.
Paul Kalenga and Ignatius Shixwameni were instant household names in the student movements in the late 1980s.
Shixwameni and his key confidantes were the masterminds of the historic national students’ boycotts that started in today’s Ohangwena region at Ponhofi Secondary school in 1988.
These boycotts spread like wildfires across the country.
The 13th of June 1988 student boycotts that the selected few and I have orchestrated in Kavango under the guidance of Shixwameni has been the turning point in student activism and participation in national liberation in that part of Namibia.
I cannot speak of this struggle without mentioning the names of three persons who have been instrumental in my political education journey, namely: late Maurus Nekaro, Marius Kudumo and Markus Kampungu.
I can vividly recall the night before the school boycotts when I went to the principal’s house, Maurus Nekaro, in Safari, and to Markus Kampungu and Marius Kudumo, who at that time as teachers, lived in the Hostel of Rundu Sekondȇre Block One.
The purpose of the night mission was to inform them about the boycotts, and to get their blessings, guidance and support.
Markus Kampungu and Marius Kudumo were very close friends of Shixwameni, who at that time, was the NANSO president.
The leadership and commitment of Shixwameni will always reverberate in the annals of the struggle for the total liberation of Namibia.
I can also remember he was the youngest in the team of internal leadership that went to Lusaka in 1988 to discuss the road to the 1989 UN-supervised election and reconstruction of Namibia after independence.
The departure of Shixwameni is not only a loss to his family but to the whole of Namibia in a time when opportunism, desire for material wealth, falsified liberation struggle credentials and self-gratification prevail – and principles and the promotion of the common good are rare commodities.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in eternal peace.