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Home / Tales of the legends - Brave “Lion of Judah” gone to rest....RIP - Ephraim Tjitondore Kanjaa-Mbapupua

Tales of the legends - Brave “Lion of Judah” gone to rest....RIP - Ephraim Tjitondore Kanjaa-Mbapupua

2020-08-21  Carlos Kambaekwa

Tales of the legends - Brave “Lion of Judah” gone to rest....RIP - Ephraim Tjitondore Kanjaa-Mbapupua

Namibians woke up to the devastating news about the sad death of well-known local locksmith Ephraim Kanjaa, famously known as “Rep” in social circles. The universally accepted rule of being born and consequently leave is an undeniable process, which is applicable to all human beings, including all other living god creatures on earth. As it stands, nothing is iron-casted or remains intact, human beings live and operates within a process of come and go, essentially detailing the process of mankind. Of course, close family members and acquaintances find it extremely difficult to digest the untimely departure of their beloved ones. 

It’s a long held tradition that when death struck, it does not only touch the hearts and emotions of the deceased close family members but more often, those they came to live and share many great moments together during their lifetime. Brother “Rep” was not only a respected entrepreneur (locksmith) he was a former footballer who plied his trade with the now defunct Katutura giant killers Hungry Lions Football Club, back in the day. A one clubman, the tallish skinny fullback was a no nonsense defender whose uncompromising style of play earned him admiration from his teammates and opponents. The author was part and parcel of the departed brother’s marathon football journey, having played alongside him and is well placed to narrate his well decorated football resume.

 

It’s never easy to accept death, notably of blokes one had shared many proud and tough moments together since our early days on motherly earth.
A mild mannered well-calculated dude and immaculate dresser, bro “Rep” was a cool dude off the field of play but a beast on the field. 
Despite his tiny frame, bro “Rep” was a tough nut to crack and his bone crunching tackles left many strikers sprawling on the field in devastating pain. 

He was amongst the first generation of young footballers who joined the unfashionable Katutura (OD) outfit called into life by average village footballers who descendent in the city of bright lights (Windhoek) in search of pastures green.
Bro “Rep” joined the “Brave Lions of Judah” with few local streetwise boys from the Herero location, amongst them; Johannes “Long Tom” Kaahangoro, Benestus “Tier” Nganjone, Shakes Kandenge, students Sigu Ngeendepi, Andrew Uaetongue Korupanda, Fritz Ndjavera, Nehemiah “Bomber” Heuva, Groovy Kaahangoro, Moripe Muundjua, Pilatus Uaaka, Kendrick “Moi” Kahuure and few other young footballers.
The team was predominantly made up of young men of Ovambanderu descendants, who hailed from the Epukiro reserve in the eastern part of the country. 

Some of the founding members were; Kumbee Tjizera, Zebaldt Uazenga, Daniel “DCK’ Kamatjipose, Turi Murise, members of a social group of raw village boys who arrived in the city of bright lights in search of and new identity as recognized city boys, going by the name of “Ozombuka”(The Ants).

Excuse the pun, but truth be told, back in the day, the dominant view was that if you were not from old location, you would be branded a “MOEGOE”, an uncivilized bloke in dire need of refinement.
The quartet of Adam “Jomo” Tjiveta, Sacky Kaveuka Marenga, Jeremiah Koutumbo Karumendu, Marongo Veii also joined the fray.   
With virtually no organized football, let alone proper league structures in place, the newly formed maroon and white strip outfit would compete in low key knockout cup tournaments in towns such as Gobabis, Omaruru, Outjo and Okakarara.

With the “Brave Lions of Judah” starting to make serious inroads in domestic knockout cup competitions, notably in the lower tier division, some of the old guard started to fade out but Ou ‘Rep” stood firm and went onto oversee several generations at different intervals. 
Under the shrewd mentorship of astute mentor, the late Ben Uanivi, the club went on an aggressive recruitment drive to bolster the squad in an effort to compliment the team’s ambitions. 

Youngsters Billy Tuahepa, Hauii Kamaundju, Five Korupanda, Issy Murangi, Usiel Muinjoo Kotjipati, Jackson Meroro, Abia Korupanda were roped in to bolster the raw playing personnel.
Upon the unavoidable integration of multi racial football in Apartheid South West Africa {SWA} in 1977, Hungry Lions, joined by fellow Katutura campaigners Eastern Jumpers, Groovy Lions, Flames, Acrow Chiefs and Okahandja Mannschaft were all given spots in the Central Football Association {CFA} alongside teams from the top tier’s second strings.
In the interim, the club would compete fiercely in knockout cup competitions across the width and length of the country, winning several tourneys with Gobabis their happy hunting ground. 

Bro “Rep” went onto play a crucial role in the team that won promotion to the CFA division one in 1983. The “Lions of Judah” went on an amazing unbeaten run during the entire season without dropping a single point. 
Youngster Foresta Nicodemus, led the revolution of the new look outfit aided by the arrival of new additions; Nduki Tjazerua, Kavejaa Tjiho, Jeff Tjitemisa, John Katjaita, Kandjambi Veseevete, Kavejaa Tjiho, John Katjaita, Toromba Siririka, Ringo Skrywer, Sebastian Hange and Killer Kamberipa, Wellaz Kazondunge and Giddies Gurirab, under the guidance of head coach Simangaliso Matjila. 
The departed noted locksmith was a valuable squad member when the Lions defeated Chief Santos via Justice Basson’s solitary strike to claim the coveted SWAFA annual Easter knockout cup tournament at the SKW stadium in 1984. 
He formed the spine of the giant killing Hungry Lions side when the club joined the newly formed breakaway Namibia Supper Soccer League (NSSL) a year later in 1986.     

Starting to get a bit long in the tooth, jersey number-2 was still able to weather the storm in a solid defensive wall, manned by tough tackling Angolan national Manuel Mendos, Bro Mokes Katjihingua, Sebastian Hange, Mike Ochurub, Steve Kavari and evergreen Shakes Kandenge. Before he hung up his togs, Ou “Rep” marshaled the last generation of the Lions playing personnel alongside mercurial midfielder Teenage Mwashekele, Tomaro Isaacs, Lucky Gawanab, youngsters Bones Kandjou, Isaac Kavari, Selle Katuamba, John Tjikune, Pierre Zemburuka, Zacks Hipikuruka. 

Upon retirement from competitive football, the cool headed fullback left his longtime employment at Gorelick, where he slaved as a noted locksmith, to become self employed.
He was the sole owner of Locksmith, operating from the popular Horse Shoe Market Stalls near the Katutura Single Quarters. 
Sadly, the brother excited the game of life, aged 64 after losing a long battle with illness. Brother “Rep” leaves behind a pair of siblings, a daughter and son. May his soul rest peacefully.  
 


2020-08-21  Carlos Kambaekwa

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