Ode to the ‘OD Bomber’ 1957 – 2020 RIP Nehemiah Nokokure Kunouee Heuva
I’m crying for my beloved cousin, Nokokure, aka “Bomber” who has unexpectedly taken a bow from the game of life.
Death is like an old friend who keeps tailing you wherever you go, watching your next move closely only to tap you on the shoulder, whispering: “Hi mate, do you still remember me?” and the moment you turn to respond, you are gone. That’s the man we have come to know as Death.
Death has robbed the nation of one of the most kind-hearted and loving human beings in the shape of Nehemiah Nokokure Kunouee Tjaveondja-Heuva.
A jack of all trades, the departed “Bomber” was your modern day gentleman. He would fit in like a fiddle in all aspects of life, from traditional rituals, horse riding, music, farming to football.
A former flying winger with the now defunct Katutura giant killers Hungry Lions Football Club, “Bomber” was a product of the notorious Windhoek’s old location where only the toughest survived.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sport feature, Tales of the Legends, New Era Sport pays tribute the “OD Bomber”, delving into his abbreviated football journey with the Brave Lions of Judah.
Born in Namibia’s commercial capital Windhoek in 1957, Bomber was like many other boys his age, football crazy. He would chase a little piece of inflated leather at the slightest provocation in the dusty streets of Windhoek’s old location.
Back in the day, during the South African apartheid era, recreational facilities were very much in short supply with football, cycling and boxing the only pastimes for the marginalised Bantus (blacks).
With extramural activities virtually non-existent, kids had very little to do after school, so young boys resorted to collecting empty soft drink and discarded liquor bottles from the streets for their pocket money.
It was quite a tricky assignment because darkies were not allowed by law and regulations to guzzle white liquor such as brandy, whisky, vodka, beer and all other high profile “haya water from moag” (spirits).
The preferred destination for re-sale used to be the nearby Bockerman Bottle Store holed up in Windhoek West, next to Hochland Park. Sadly, the cunning streetwise Damara-speaking boys would lay siege under the bridge to relieve us of our hard-earned sixpence and few shillings.
That was the order of the day in the old location where only the toughest survived. Real toughies like Ignatius Mbapeua “Mazola” Katataiza, Itembu Tjistuki, Kaevara Kapuuo, ruled the crest. Bomber was a scholar at the St Barnabas Primary School and it was here where he learned the ropes of playing the beautiful game of football after school just to while away time.
With no organized sport structures in place at all Bantu schools, young boys were obliged to call into life their own football teams. Bomber joined a small football team from the Mbanderu section going by the name of Fire Star, under the stewardship of Stanley “Stigga” Kozonguizi.
Other notable squad members were Dr Kaire Mbuende, Ngaritungwe “Tier” Hoveka, Dave Kavaka, Dougie Kozonguizi, Kavitundema Toromba, Lesley Kozonguizi, Otto “Move” Kahiuoua, Jaanuu Katjiuongua, Mike Panja Murangi, Tuaendakuje Hoveka, Katjitata Kazombiaze, Karoorora Toromba, Mynhardt Tjauha, Tjazupi Kauaria.
Apart from football, cycling races also took centre stage but the lack of proper equipment made things very difficult. Most bikes were “cleverly” stolen from white people’s backyards and discarded parts from the city’s main refuse yard next to the Simon de Wet Bridge.
Being the main langana, bro “Mazola” was the kingpin when it came to all sorts of no good, notably snatching bicycles from unsuspecting white boys – much to the chagrin of the “Bowker Boys”.
In the interim, the boys would find another pastime in swimming, with the Van Rhyn Dam (Ondende) holed up right in front of Concordia High School, their happy hunting ground.
The dam was named “Ondende” (dangerous) for its notorious record of high number of drownings.
It was at Windhoek’s old location that Bomber and his football playing buddies witnessed firsthand the sight of a dead body.
One of his boyhood buddies, Karoorora Toromba, lost his precious life through the deadly boot of a bullish older boy (name withheld) during a go-about football match at the Rhenisch Herero School sport field in 1967.
The unfortunate incident traumatised so many young boys in the neighbourhood to the extent that they stopped playing football at all for a few months. Some of them even avoided using that route and would navigate their way through the open gaps between sub-standard corrugated iron houses en route to school or on other errands.
When blacks were forcefully removed from the Windhoek’s old location to be resettled in the modest Katutura township, a sizeable number of blacks resolved to retreat to their original habitat (reservaat).
Bomber was amongst those who retreated to their homesteads in the rural areas only to resurface at the Okakarara Senior Secondary School to advance his educational aspirations.
He was amongst the first intakes at the predominantly Ovaherero-speaking students in 1973. The strongly built winger was to lead the firing line of the school’s newly formed football team alongside beanpole striker Siegfried Himeekua Ngeendepi, aka “Sigu” and stocky winger Fritz Ndjavera.
The trio, alongside fellow students Obed “Moripe” Muundjua and Rakuha “Groovy” Kaahangoro were recruited by Katutura outfit Hungry Lions Football Club, aka the Brave Lions of Judah, and would frequently feature for the second tier league campaigners during the school holidays.
Bomber established himself as a vital cog in the Lions’ strike force and went on to win every piece of silverware there was to be won in the business during an illustrious football career.
However, his further flirtation with the spherical object was abruptly interrupted when he found himself a slave with the South African Railway Services and got posted to some remote areas out of town.
Bomber, you might be gone to be reunited with your ancestors but your legacy will live on in the minds of those who got to know you up close. May your soul rest in eternal peace in one piece.
2020-02-28 09:57:59 | 4 months ago