I came to know the late Jason Angula in 1970 when he joined us at Martin Luther High (MLH) school from St. Mary’s Odibo to complete his matric (Grade 12). I also had the pleasure of making his acquaintance when we played rugby for the first team at MLH.
In retrospect, I have come to know him as a youngster from Mondesa, a schoolmate, activist and leader of the movement, trade unionist and secretary of labour, a strategist and a benign human being. It is against this background that I shall address my tribute to him. As you are well aware Jason’s father was a teacher who taught in Grootfontein and Swakopmund in the early 1960s.
Jason would listen to his father tell him stories about the suffering of the people of South West Africa (Namibia). His father believed in education and therefore placed Jason on that road without giving him a map, suffice it to say, his political and organisational skills could be attributed to the guidance from his father. He was a voracious reader with an inquisitive mind and his love for reading taught him about life and people, all of which broadened his horizon.
He was very self-disciplined with impeccable and healthy respect for time. He would speak to the workers and he listened attentively to their plight in his capacity as a comrade and not as a teacher; these discussions with the workers enriched his appreciation of Marxist-Leninist theory of the proletariat (working class). Jason’s participation in the workers’ circles set off alarm bells, which consequently placed him under the surveillance of the regime police and was assaulted many times for several unfounded reasons.
It is worth noting that even though his father did not give him a map; he found his compass and it helped him to chart a course on “what is to be done”. If one were in his company, one would understand what could be done without him uttering a word.
As a consummate and fearless cadre, he introduced a revolutionary spirit, which permeated into the people’s consciousness to be very sharp while serving in the struggle. Jason believed that as cadre he should be brave and should be ahead no matter how difficult it was; he also believed that Party members should teach the young generation to adhere to the collective, the solidarity and comradeship. Jason encouraged his comrades to pose questions candidly and he approached everything from the standpoint of whether it was good for the collective and not from an individual perspective.
His camaraderie and collective thinking helped him to experience less antagonism, whilst the comrades were not offended by his sharp words. He had a sharp ear and was always very attentive to people’s opinion and tried to pick out what was essential and therefore he was able to stand out as a leader of the movement. Not everyone is endowed with the gift of learning from life and people, but Jason was fortunate.
He never threw dust in anyone’s eyes and we were always heartened by candidness and sincerity. For us who knew him, his laugh could be infectious; especially when the workers’ course was in the right direction. This “left-handed comrade” was a great and trusted comrade whom when work was done properly, he would rejoice. Jason was very disciplined in the Maxuilili style, always punctual for meetings having made ample preparations by all standard.
“One time” as we fondly called him, always looked truth in the face, it never deceived him no matter how sad the reality might have been, he was able to look upon it with a sober mind and eyes; but if you did not know him you might say he a cold-minded person. He had a strong will and he lived through ordeal, though over many things he knew how to look for truth in the fall without favour of fear. Jason combined his daily work with a clear understanding of what should be done and had the ability to rally cadres around the main work in the party. He was very well informed, had a good knowledge of the revolutionary movements in the world. Knowledge had helped him to become a true leader of the working people, a leader of the proletariat.
Jason could speak, English, German, Portuguese, Otjiherero, Oshiwambo, Afrikaans and Khoekhoegowab. His knowledge of these languages facilitated his ability to communicate with many in the Land of the Brave. Jason was very fond of people and he earnestly considered the needs of his comrades. He was a role model to many, and he was a wholehearted man. He told us in clear language to devote our lives efforts to the common cause, hence he always had a bigger picture of Namibia beyond 1990 to be a country for all Namibians of all colour and all size. Jason had unfailing faith in the movement and in the mighty Swapo Party, he had a deep respect for the leaders and Dr Sam Nujoma personally.
He was a man of integrity and believed in treating people equally. He lived a simple, honest and incorruptible life, he was always concerned about the wellbeing of others and our brotherhood; he was a distinguished diplomat. Comrade Jason completed his historical mission as entrusted to him by the movement and by Namibia’s historical realities. May his patriotic and kind soul rest in peace.