A giant has fallen, and though the truth is often very hard to swallow, the incredible times and electrifying moments many Namibians shared with Khai Meester Molan Moses Gariseb will forever be entrenched in our memories.
The untimely departure of this great man of substance is indeed a tragedy that has emotionally paralysed not only his loved ones and family members, but those who came to know him up close as an astute football administrator and educator par excellence.
And although we are still reeling from the shock departure of Khai Meester, we take solace from the great joy you brought into our live,s and the inspirational and massive role you unselfishly played in the education sector and lest we forget, laying the foundation for the ultimate growth and overall development of Namibian football during your time with both Rocco Swallows and Ramblers Katutura (Ramkat) Football Clubs.
We salute you. Farewell Khai Meester, your presence was a much-welcomed blessing from the Almighty, and the entire Katutura community will surely miss you and always remember the great moments we shared with you, socially and professionally.
Dear readers, please allow me to borrow a phrase from universally-acclaimed political icon and the first democratically-elected president of South Africa, the late Nelson Mandela – a great man of substance – as a prelude for this obit.
“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It’s what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
Well, Khai Meester certainly ticks all the boxes of that narrative.
Founder and leader of the now-defunct exciting Katutura outfit Ramblers Football Club, famously known as “Ramkat”, abbreviation for Ramblers Katutura, Khai Meester was a multi-gifted leader who turned whatever he laid his hands on into gold.
Those who know the history of Namibian football will find it difficult to complete a sentence about domestic football without the much-adored big-framed educator, loosely referred to as Khai Meester (Big Teacher), cropping up. Ramblers was laterally a close-knit family affair, punctuated by the hegemony of two prominent clans, the Gariseb’s and Jagger’s.
Years later, Khai Meester was elected president of the newly-formed schoolteachers’ outfit Jeeps Golden Arrows, campaigning fiercely in the popular Central Namibia Football Association (CNFA) in Khomasdal.
The likeable socialite started his long and winding tutorial journey at the Rhenisch Damara/Nama High Primary School, to be renamed Goreangab in later years, before he was duly appointed as principal of the newly-constructed A.I Steenkamp Primary School in 1970, dragging along a few of his former colleagues to the new school in the following sequence: Pastor Biwa, Mr Richter, Mr. Fredericks, Mr Hanstein, and the Skrywer siblings Abraham and Legio.
Blessed with natural leadership qualities, Khai Meester proved to be an undisputed and calculated football administrator as well as educator par excellence. So, it came as no surprise that a significant chunk of his proteges from the revered A.I Steenkamp elementary learning institution went on to establish themselves as household names in various fields.
Those who spring to mind are vibrant youth activist and astute writer Shaun Asprilla Gariseb, Axab Gowaseb, Jorries Afrikaner, Johnny Vries, Lolo Goraseb, Legio Skrywer, Mabos Ortman, Gert Matesu, Phillip Muinjo, Edward Gariseb, Desiderius Baffrath, Lesley and Justice Basson, as well as actors Norman Job, Raditsebe Lucky Mosalaesi, and many others.
Without a shadow of doubt, Rocco Swallows and Ramblers were the most outstandingly disciplined teams in the old dispensation, where football matches barely finished because of disputes, notably whenever some of the teams starred defeat in the face. Khai Meester will be laid to rest at Farm Drie Rivier in the Rehoboth district on the 30th of this month.
May his gentle soul rest in power.
Go well “Cousin”
Remembering Nico Nakale 1969 - 2022
A proud product of the Anna Maasdorp Combined School, holed up in the small village of Duineveld south-east of Rehoboth in the semi-desert Hardap region, many people only came to know Nico Nakale, as the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation’s (NBC) friendly camera operator.
However, Bro Nico, famously going by the nickname Cousin amongst his colleagues, was a mean rugby player during his school days. The much-adored NBC TV senior camera operator cut his teeth in the tough and demanding rigours of chasing the oval-shaped ball during his elementary school days with the Anna Maasdorp Combined School’s rugby 15 as a much-feared speedy backline.
The author met the fairly young streetwise Bro Cousin in 1993 as a junior camera operator, and a damn good one. Well, we immediately clicked because of our similar backgrounds as we both conversed comfortably in the same township lingo “Tsotsie taal”, to be precise.
The two of us went on to form a telepathic working partnership and travelled across the length and breadth of the country, covering numerous sporting events. Eish, one particular escapade that springs to mind is our unforgettable safari down south to cover the annual National Netball Club Championships in Mariental.
Just after we had passed Rehoboth on the way to Kalkrand, we decided to pull off the road to tackle an irresistible smiley (roasted sheep head), and parked the car at the roadside picnic tables. To our surprise and shock, a stray jackal all of a sudden jumped out of a mounted dustbin, causing some unwanted pandemonium. Without hesitation, Bro Cousin unpacked his old rugby tricks and took to his heels, leaving me stranded in no- man’s land.
Back to his untold sporting journey, Cousin played competitive rugby for the Rehoboth High School with a great measure of pride, and was subsequently duly selected to represent his motherland internationally at youth level.
Regrettably, he was unable to take his talent to the next level as a result of an extremely demanding work schedule. Sadly, the likeable camera operator succumbed from illness at the Ongwediva Medipark last Friday, 15 July 2022.
May his gentle soul rest easy.
RIP Charlie Swartz 1957 - 2022
Dear readers, please pardon me, my fingers are trembling with anger and grief as I’m moving to pay a brief dignified tribute to another great man of substance, trusted buddy and confidante Bro Charlie Swartz, a dedicated diehard Black Africa supporter and uncompromising football fanatic.
Bro Charlie was a real “wakey”, a streetwise dude in the true definition of township lingo. A self-styled Langana of the non-tribal compact Gemengde location, Bro Charlie was one of those regular figures at high-profile local football matches, and barely missed a match whenever his beloved BA was in action.
May your soul rest easy, outie van my.