There is an old saying that death is not the last sleep; it is, in fact, the final awakening. Those who love beyond the world cannot be separated by it, for death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity because death cannot kill what never dies. Those we love can never truly leave us, simply because there are certain things that death cannot touch. Death is the greatest form of love.
In today’s edition of your favourite weekly sports feature, Tales of the Legends, profiling our sports personalities present and posthumously, New Era Sport will pay a dignified tribute to an unsung football hero, one Jonah Hishono, aka ‘Lukunga’.
Sadly, those who have rubbed shoulders with the much-adored left-footed attacker are mourning and, at the same time, celebrating the life journey of this incredible great man of substance. Hishono took a bow from the game of life earlier this week on Monday after losing a marathon battle with ill-health. May his brave soul rest easy!
Born in the copper town of Tsumeb in 1967, the departed Jonah Hishono, famously going by the nickname ‘Lukunga’, was baptised by his vast circle of friends, and he was the biological offspring of former Benfica Football Club forward Jesaya Hishono.
The latter is a much accomplished Diesel Mechanic from the revered Augustineum Training College and played club football for the Nomtsoub-based outfit in the 70s. A chip off the old block, young ‘Lukunga’ followed in his old man’s footsteps and was a formidable baller in his own right. His genes dictated that he would be a phenomenal athlete.
After all, his old lady, Sii Vikitto Hishono, was a noted basket rattler on the netball courts and a formidable tennis player in her heyday.
Young ‘Lukunga’ was dispatched to the boys-only Don Bosco Roman Catholic Boarding Primary School, holed up in the small village of #Goas, sandwiched between Karibib and Otjimbingwe in the mountainous Erongo region, alongside fellow Copper Town youngsters Samuel ‘Packs’ Uushona and Alfeus Ngono Moses, amongst others.
Bro ‘Lukunga’ and his homeboys teamed up with other boys in the hostel and played football while away time on weekends. Blessed with amazing ball skills and a devastating left foot, the young boy was the envy of every football fan at the school hostel. The boy from Nomtsoub effortlessly mesmerised defenders with his trademark deft touches on the spherical object.
Admittedly, many learners from previously non-governmental learning institutions were always politically motivated and steadfastly despised the inferior Bantu education curriculum with all their might. While on a school holiday in his native Tsumeb in 1978, the militant young boys resolved to take it upon their tiny shoulders to challenge and fight the evils of racial discrimination.
Fed up with the apartheid laws and racial discrimination, it came as no surprise when young ‘Lukunga’ and a few of his homeboys skipped their motherland, crossing the Angolan border to go into exile in search of better opportunities and join the liberation struggle.
Young ‘Lukunga’ and his buddies, under the guidance of political female activist Meme Maria Nehoya, elder sister of former Parliamentarian and noted Swapo stalwart Dr Ben Amadhila, cleverly tiptoed across the Kavango River to join the resolute political movement Swapo in exile – and as they say, the rest is history.
Hardly out of his pair of shorts, the fairly young ‘Lukunga’ found himself in the Kwanza-Sul Refugee Settlement for Namibians in Southern Angola, where he underwent extensive training as a Guerrilla freedom fighter.
It was during his tenure in the refugee camp that young ‘Lukunga’ started showing glimpses of greatness on the football pitch with his trademark jaw-dropping dribbling skills and deadly thunderous pile drivers from long range. His hot shots left many goalminders with fractured fingertips.
Lukunga went on to establish himself as a vital cog in the star-studded combined UNIN Football team, ably surrounded by former greats Jason Kayala Haufiku, Lawrence ‘Zondi’ Amadhila, Immanuel ‘Fusi’ Semba, Erich Khari-axab Lambert, Ali Goraseb, Mannfredt ‘Bush’ Menjengua, Mike Panya Murangi and many other Namibian refugees.
Apart from amazing exploits on the football pitch, ‘Lukunga’ was a mean, fearless PLAN fighter throughout his journey with the Swapo Liberation Movement.
A survivor of the devastating Cassinga massacre of unsuspecting defenceless men and women, including innocent pikininis at the dirty hands of the South African trigger-happy soldiers on the 4th of May 1978, ‘Lukunga’ spent a significant chunk of his formative years in the thick bushes of neighbouring Angola.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the uncompromising, fearless PLAN Combatant will go down in history as a true son of the soil and an undisputed brave hero, who has dedicated his entire life towards the liberation of his beloved motherland.
Tellingly, the young fellah literally unselfishly sacrificed his youth, fighting to free his native land from the much-despised South African apartheid regime.
Meanwhile, a sizeable number of kind-hearted residents of Nomtsoub, Tsumeb, have come out in large numbers, offering financial support towards the burial expenses for the departed retired footy amongst them, well-established local personalities and former footballers, named in the following sequence:
Former Hungry Lions, Young Ones and Benfica Football Club sharpshooter Ernest ‘Kallie’ Billhawer and his beautiful spouse Kokaa, Dr Elizabeth Shivute, former Black Africa Football Club ace Putu Eigowab, Naftal Spy, Sam Dingaan Nangolo, Lot with his sweetheart Ndafa Muteka, and dozens of Good Samaritans from that neck of the woods all extended a hand of Goodwill to assist the bereaved family.