Loide Jason Ongwediva-Hundreds of mourners converged on Elim to pay their final respects and bid farewell to Joanna Ndayelelwa Iyambo who was laid to rest at Elim ELCIN church cemetery in Omusati Region last Saturday. Among the mourners were the Founding Father Sam Nujoma, former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, retired Bishop Kleopas Dumeni, retired Lieutenant-General Martin Shalli, Sacky Kayone, Swapo’s regional coordinator, and Modestus Amutse the Oshikuku Constituency councillor who also represented the Omusati governor. Nujoma described Joanna Ndayelelwa Iyambo as one of the veterans of Namibia’s liberation struggle in her own right and not simply because she was married to one of the legendary commanders of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), Swapo’s military wing, the late Patrick Israel Iyambo, well known by his combat name ‘Luganda.’ Nujoma said the late protected him during the most difficult times. “I received with grief the sad news of the passing of comrade Joanna Ndayelelwa Iyambo, on 5 December 2017 at Ongwediva Medipark Private Hospital. Therefore, I joined you here, fellow mourners, to bid farewell to a comrade and an unwavering Namibian patriot who has served her country and people with dedication and commitment,” said the father of the nation. Luganda was among the first group of seven combatants that went to Egypt in July 1962 for military training. Others were the late PLAN commander Tobias Hainyeko, commander John Otto Nankudhu, Vilho Haitembu, Titus Muailipeni Shitilifa, Petrus Hambija and Lazarus Sakaria. When Swapo decided to pursue simultaneously a three-pronged strategy, including the armed struggle, Luganda acted as reconnoitre and secretary of the commandos of the first group known as ‘G1’, which was led by the late comrade John Otto Nankudhu (Koshiuanda), the commander of the commandos. Luganda’s clandestine military operations and exploits lasted for nine years inside Namibia after the launch of the armed liberation struggle, thanks mainly to his training skills as a reconnoitre and military strategist, as well as tactician that enabled him to survive capture by a powerful white minority South African apartheid occupation army. This is how he came in contact with the late Joanna Ndayelelwa Ashipala, who was a teacher by profession at Olupumbu and Elim combined schools, respectively. The years between 1970 and 1974 were the most difficult for Luganda inside the country as a lot of money was used and offered to whoever would provide the enemy with information that would lead to his capture or being killed. Luganda also had problems in attending public hospitals whenever he was sick and an arrangement was made to have a lady from Endola area, who was a qualified nurse at Oshakati, to treat him at an old woman’s house in Omagalanga. Joanna was one of those who facilitated transport arrangements and contacts as well as hid him during those difficult times. After the attainment of freedom and independence on March 21, 1990, Joanna continued to contribute to the development of Namibia. “Namibia has lost a fearless freedom fighter who committed her entire life to the just cause of freedom. She stood firm and never wavered. “For this reason, she will be remembered as a patriot and her legacy will inspire the current and future generations as we chart the future destiny of our country and embark upon the second phase of the struggle for economic independence,” said Nujoma. “May we all be consoled by the fact that she lived to see the dawn of independence of her beloved motherland and was granted a house by the Ministry of Veterans Affairs for her heroic deeds as an active combatant of PLAN and her enormous sacrifices for the cause of our freedom and genuine independence.” She is survived by her children and grandchildren.
New Era Reporter
2017-12-20 09:32:53 11 months ago