As the most urbanised tribe in the then South West Africa (SWA), under the South African Apartheid regime, it was only fair that the Damaran folk would provide a significant chunk of football teams across the length and breadth of South Africa’s fifth province, back in the day. Okahandja was no exception to this unwritten rule, as the garden town dominated the majority of football clubs from the natives’ location, to be known as Nau-Aib in the intervening years. As was customary practice, most recreational entities were established along tribal lines, much to the delight of the law enforcers, as such practice only enhanced their divide and rule strategy.
Despite her relatively pocket-size populace, the mountainous town birthed a decent number of strong football teams, in the shape of Zebras, Magic Tigers, Battle Boys, Die Mannschaft Okahandja, Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC), and Spoilers.
History reveals that the latter was the only entity that was not established entirely along tribal lines. The blue and white-strip outfit consisted of a mixture of “Onnies” (schoolteachers), “Gattas” (police officers), “Mfundisi” (men of the cloth-pastors), complemented by few well-to-do blokes of substance in society.
That trend would be carried over to the next generations for many years to come, up to the present day. Club stalwart and retired school principal Meester Theobaldt Tukuru Katuvesirauina, was a tough-tackling fullback with the exciting Nau-Aib outfit.
Carlos ‘CK’ Kambaekua
The garden town of Okahandja has in the past produced great footies in the mould of the great Oscar Mengo, Doc Naobeb, Albert Tjihero, George Gariseb, Bimbo Tjihero, Kiro Makati, Congo Hindjou, Erastus Gariseb, Marko van Wyk, Richard Gariseb, Jesse Diergaardt and many others, but no one comes anywhere near the unheralded dribbling wizard Ilibi Gariseb.
Word has it that the highly gifted pocket-sized attacker would dribble the entire opposition, and by the time he was left with only the goalkeeper to beat, Ou Ilibi would sink his teeth into the strings of the old-fashioned ball fitted with a tube. Bro Ilibi would casually stroll past the bemused goalie to score the goal with his teeth. That was Bro Ilibi for you.....May his soul continue to rest in eternal peace in one piece.
Okahandja is known for her unmatched uniqueness in terms of cultural diversity, camaraderie, closeness and mutual respect amongst her inhabitants. After all, unlike many other towns, this historical town had one combined learning institution for natives – the revered Aurora Primary School. This institution would become home to many well-known personalities, athletes, musicians, community leaders, and high profile politicians.
Notable personalities from that institution were: Benjamin ‘Doc’ Naobeb, Oscar ‘Silver Fox’ Mengo, Peter Katjavivi, Festus Tjouho ‘Big Shoe’ Kauaaka, Theofelus Eiseb, Timotheus ‘Lemmy’ Goagoseb, Hidipo Hamutenya, Bethuel ‘Ace’ Tjirera, Moses Naobeb, Zebedeus ‘Merino’ Kandonga, Moses //Omeb, Albert Tjihero, Usiel Ndjandu Jaezuruka, Elias Leopaldt, Axali Doeseb, Mbaraha Kaitjirokere, Epson ‘Mostertjie’ Eiseb, Hans Haraseb, Jossy Haoseb, Jephta Noabeb, Norii Kaanjuka, Mike Migub Noabeb, Harry Garos-aob, Alex Vekarapi, Ignatius Kaitjirokere, Jamanuka Tjihero, Bimbo Tjihero, Gerson Doeseb, Ishmael ‘Zambia’ Khoeseb, Kiro Makati, Eliakim ‘Baby’ Doeseb, Nokovambo ‘Chicken’ Kaengurova, and many others.
Upon completion of his primary school, Tukuru shifted to the city of bright lights (Windhoek), in pursuit of a Teaching Diploma at the higher learning institution. Having chosen teaching as his preferred profession, it was only befitting that he would find refuge with respectable hometown outfit, Spoilers Football Club during off weekends and school holidays.
The bow-legged ebony-skinned tallish defender formed the spine of the Nau-Aib outfit alongside his trusted blood nephew, the late Gustaf Kanduu Zamuee and many upcoming youngsters in the squad. Tukuru was slotted in what was then famously known as the “half-back” position, operating between the defenders and strikers.
A tough competitor, the hard-as-nails Meester Tukuru took no prisoners, and his trademark tight man-marking style was just amongst a few of his characteristics on the field of play, whilst his height also stood him good on set pieces.
Back in the day, football was a religion amongst natives with no other recreational activities available. There were only four prominent football teams from Nau-Aib, in the following sequence: Spoilers, Magic Tigers, BBC, and the youthful Battle Boys. These teams would engage in exhibition matches on weekends, regularly swopping opponents on Saturdays and Sundays.
The locals also welcomed top teams from Windhoek and gave a good account of themselves to the extent that Okahandja became the breeding ground for talent scouts from the city of bright lights. Many football teams made it their sole beat to entice highly gifted footies from the garden town with lucrative job opportunities. Katutura glamour football club, African Stars, were chief beneficiaries of the incredible raw talent from the garden town.
An uncompromising loyalist, Meester Tukuru, who cut his teeth in competitive football structures with Augustineum Hostel team Crack Rovers FC, appeared to have been gravely hypnotised by the blue and white strip of his beloved Spoilers FC back home, to the extent that he would occasionally turn out for Katutura giants, Tigers FC, whilst still a pupil at Augustineum High.
The hard-as-nails defender also had a brief stint with the short-lived mixed-race Okahandja Die Manschaft at the dawn of the eagerly awaited amalgamation of multi-racial football in Apartheid South West Africa (SWA) in 1977. Regrettably, Meester Tukuru missed out on the opportunity to take his promising football career to the next level and test his strength against the very best on offer.
Amazingly, an incredible, irresistible, appetising, juicy carrot was dangled in his baby face to accept the plum position of principal of the newly-constructed K.J Kapeua Combined School, holed up in Okandjira, Ovitoto, southeast of Okahandja. It is the successor to the demolished Bulskop Primary School.
But even though he had prematurely retired from playing competitive football, his influence and vast experience of playing at the top level, rubbing shoulders with seasoned campaigners, without an iota of doubt, trickled down to his new subjects. The school’s youthful football team went on to become a major force to be reckoned with in the highly competitive inter-schools football competitions.
Some of his most outstanding proteges were much-travelled former Brave Warriors, Liverpool, Civics and African Stars Football Clubs’ multi-talented midfielder-cum-defender Jamunovandu ‘Congo’ Ngatjizeko, Gazza Katjatenja, Michael ‘Tovey’ Muukua, Steven Mbahuurua, Immanuel Uaatjo, Jordan Kaurivi, and the enterprising Coloured Mbaha, amongst a galaxy of promising youngsters.
RIP - Forgotten Comrade Gift Kapenda Kazombaue
1946 - 2021
On a rather very sad note, New Era Sport would like to use this space to pay homage to one of the country›s brightest personalities, Gift Kapenda Kazombaue, who has taken a bow from the game of life as a result of devastating ill-health. The likeable socialite-cum-political-activist and former schoolteacher, was the go-to man during the height of Apartheid. A true gentleman, Bro Gift was very passionate about football, and was a founder member of the now-defunct Celtics FC at Windhoek›s old location. May his soul rest in power.
Ode to Johannes Pinani Muinjo 1954 - 2021
The author got to know the muscular, stocky fitness fanatic during our formative years at the hotly contested afterschool 3-a-side tennis ball games at the Central Big Shops. And even though his playing style didn’t match those of his more celebrated cousins Erich, Boy, Simon, Willy and Phillip, ‘Pino’ made his mark with Orlando Pirates’ second strings, rubbing shoulders with fellow young boys from the Nama/Damara location.
Amongst his teammates were the robust big frame Bear Eichab, Vaaitjie Aperpo, Pedro Brown, Topsen ‘Topio’ Afrikaner, Willem Makunda Namaseb, Hunab Eichab, Sageus Kaizemi, Kapangurua ‘Gorilla’ Kapepu, Joanero Gowaseb, Petrus ‘Perro-5’ Eichab, Piet Gowaseb and other talented footies from the hood. Sadly, Bro Pino has exited the game of life after a short illness.