Joshua Razikua Kaumbi
Death must not find us thinking that we die… Death will not find us thinking that we die (Martin Carter).
On a Monday of the 10 November 2020, the late MK called me to register his disappointment in me for what he considered an unnecessarily stubborn position I held and his admiration for a principled position I held. I demanded we discuss whatever was bothering him in person, which we did.
On the 12 November 2020, I, together with Stanley Binda, accompanied him to a meet and greet to the third president of our party and our republic, which was a supreme honour for us. When the news of his untimely departure to join those whom by whose names we are known broke on Monday; I realised it was a farewell to a president he respected and admired and whose legacy kept him awake at night. He must have known that his time with him had run out. MK’s excitement to see the president’s private office for the first time was an endearing spectacle and a once in a lifetime opportunity for this author to have shared in and been witness to as an ordinary citizen. No matter how far we have travelled, we must never forget where we started (Xi Jinping, 2017, taken from a book bequeathed by MK to me on the 12 November 2020 after the visit).
The last time I saw him was on the Monday of the 30th of November 2020 when he came over and insisted I commission the affidavit of his lovely wife to take the children to Mozambique for the festive season. He was in an unusual hurry.
Let me pay tribute to MK like he paid tribute to me that day.
I am writing about my time at that university of Professor Peter Katjavivi, where both John Pangesch and I got introduced to a group of very sharp, bright and gifted young people of our nation. Each year, one or two from across the nation and the country would welcome themselves into the group by the sheer force of their ideas and passion for this country and the nation.
We were small in numbers, but because we had faith and a plan of action, it eventually did not matter how small we were (Fidel Castro, edited)
At first, I had Lucia Iipumbu, that daughter we raised through the structures of our movement; Richard Mbuende, my confidant and chief of staff; Stanley Binda, the refined and softer version of a revolutionary intellectual; Himuvii Mbingeneeko and Amon Ngavetene, avowed communist and socialist in a capitalist society; Victor Hamutenya, that genius scientist from Oshigambo High School; the late Chris Hatutale Hawala, the short organic intellectual from Okahandja who bounced long before Obama made bouncing acceptable in the corridors of power; Anne-Dorris Hans the feisty Madelein Albright hoodwinked into the group; Bernadus Clinton Swartbooi, a very articulate and daring fella from the south, where human learned to grow equal to the trees and the soil in order to best escape the harsh reality of nature; Henny Hendly Seibeb, ever feisty, well-read and exceptional writer from Khorixas; Shampapi Shiremo, historian from that perennial river home to both human and that man-eating beast; Steven Denk and his Pono, Mitchel Van Wyk and Carlo Mcleod, et al.
MK came from that rich vein of a committed idealist, turned pragmatist and statesmen, the bedrock of our future, in which he will forever take part as an immortal, as his ideas and convictions, which he shared freely and vigorously with those he had been in the trenches for the same cause in the orbit of youth development for over two decades are timeless.
I already could see their ability to organise and was certain that destiny would produce the m[e]n for the hour-out of this group (El Commandante, edited). I was paying tribute to MK. When you reminisce, you put the eraser away.
The Mandela Kapere that the nation is bidding farewell to is the same MK of two decades ago. He strived for and embodied peace and harmonious existence. Thus, he insisted on meeting General Martin Shalli (Rtd) to tell him that, because of the respect he had for him, he was not to say what he said at that material time. Mandela and Shalli both left as friends on the 13 November 2020. Mandela Kapere was a gentle giant of his generation, a peacemaker who was completely committed to a just cause and a broader group, which is the humanity enclosed within our shared space. Of late MK was concerned with the recent performance of the party in both the regional and local authority elections to such an extent that he thought someone should ignite the process that will avoid repetition. He was further concerned about the fact that the party skipped two full generations of activists and loyalists, and that some, instead of serving both the party and the nation, again started the frantic frenzy at the feeding trough and division. If at all we are to honour him, I advise, that the aforegoing should occupy our engagement henceforth.
It is befitting that the duly elected president of our country elected to accord, and rightly so, Hon Mandela Kapere, the son born in the crucible of our struggle, an official funeral.
This young man’s presence will always remain in our life, because… The fact is, when men carry the same ideals in their hearts, nothing can isolate them … nor the sod of cemeteries… (Fidel Castro).
Go well Cadre!
As you are about to meet and theorise with Christian Hatutale Hawala, please remember that the Namibian dream has not been deferred (Kapere, 2020).