The garden town of Okahandja has in the past produced a significant number of highly-gifted personalities, ranging from politicians, astute academics, community activists and athletes, in that sequence.
One of the town’s most recognisable figures is none other than former Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC) stocky winger Usiel Ndjandu Jaezuruka. Usiel is the uncle of former Liverpool tough-tackling fullback Mbakero Robson Jaezuruka.
Apart from two of the finest footballers to have ever played the beautiful game of football on Namibian soil – Doc Hardley and Oscar Mengo – the historical sacred enclave of Okahandja was also home to other high-profile personalities in the shape of teacher Engelhard ‘Larney’ Gariseb, Brazzo Gomusab, Frans ‘Ouman’ Gertze, Axali Doeseb, Professor Peter Katjavivi, Jomo Haoseb, Congo Hindjou, Bimbo Tjihero and many others.
New Era Sport caught up with one of the most steadfast inhabitants of the town, Usiel Ndjandu Jaezuruka, as he takes you, our esteemed reader, through his untold football journey.
Born Usiel Ndjandu Jaezuruka on 23 November 1948 on the outskirts of Okahandja in the now-abandoned Okakango settlement, Usiel is one of the town’s authentic inhabitants and has never left his birthplace, apart from spending a few years in the city of bright lights (Windhoek).
“I started schooling in Okahandja, but was posted to Windhoek’s Old Location shortly thereafter. I ended up at the Rhenisch Herero Primary School before returning to Okahandja to further my elementary education,” recalls the well-spoken Usiel.
Like many other young boys of his era, he was football- crazy and started chasing an inflated piece of pigskin with boyhood buddies in the town’s rocky streets. He later joined local club Fortuna, the successor to another predominantly Otjiherero-speaking football entity named Zebras Football Club.
“Eish, it should be understood that in those days, there were no proper league structures, and many football teams had to make peace with playing in knockout cup tournaments and a few exhibition matches against teams from neighbouring towns such as Karibib, Usakos and far afield towns like Otjiwarongo, Tsumeb and Swakopmund.”
Some of his celebrated teammates were Tjikapua Tjejamba, Naftalie Tjirare, Boesman Tjirera, Laban Kariko, August Kandorozu, Eliza Kangundumba Kariko, Obed Tjiunomake Kairikove, Gustav Kanduu Zamuee, Niwe ‘News’ Kambonga and Binga Kairikove. All aforementioned have since gone the way of all flesh.
Usiel was a founder member of the exciting Nau Aib outfit Black Beauty Chiefs (BBC), leading the frontline alongside the equally dangerous goalpoacher Festus ‘Big Shoe’ Kauaaka, Karau Kaitjirokere, Meester Oscar Axarob Ngaringombe and young Oscar Mengo.
With tribal pride at stake, BBC went full throttle in dominating domestic football in the hotly-contested exhibition games staged in Nau Aib on weekends. At the time, there were only four genuinely competitive football teams in the entire community: BBC, Spoilers, Magic Tigers and Battle Boys, apart from Okahandja Mannschaft (all whites) and Teenagers (coloureds/basters).
“We used to travel long distances in open trucks to honour our assignments in the popular knockout cup tournaments, notably in Swakopmund, Tsumeb and Otjiwarongo. BBC reached the final of the Chief Hosea Kutako Trophy after seeing off hosts Life Fighters.
“Sadly, our semi-final victory was marred by violence after irate supporters swamped the field and blocked play with vehicles parked on the pitch, thus causing mayhem. However, when peace was finally restored, the final went ahead without any further hindrance, but we unfortunately lost to African Stars in an otherwise very tense encounter,” concluded the now-retired winger.
RIP: Naftal ‘Ou Naph’ Vries 1951-2022
The traditionally close-knit family of Katutura giants Black Africa Football Club has suffered another devastating blow with the sad passing of club stalwart and staunch supporter Naftal Vries, a devoted man of the cloth and noted joiner in the Katutura township.
His death follows that of other prominent members of the club in the following sequence: Lucky Richter, Vorster Moetie, Eliphas Heita, Gotthardt Tjimbongoro ‘Vuil-baard’ Karamata, Uncle Paul Modise, Ewert Beukes, Salomi Shikulu and more recently, Erica Sarah Kauendji (Carpio’s old lady). May their souls continue to rest easy.
Born on 25 December 1951 on Farm Kowas in the Dordabis district, Vries completed his schooling at the revered Ella du Plessis High School in Khomasdal.
He then proceeded to South Africa to further his education at St Joseph’s Technical College in Aliwal North, where he successfully obtained a diploma, mastering the art of joinery and carpentry between 1968 and 1971.
Upon his return to his native land, he opened his own joinery company at Stall 10 under the name of Nafta Joinery, located at the old hostel compound for contract natives in Katutura.
A staunch follower of Black Africa, Vries was elected member of the technical committee in 1990, and went on to serve his beloved Black Africa in various portfolios with distinction, including that of team manager until 2000.
He never wavered, and kept following his beloved club closely until his untimely departure. He leaves behind his beautiful spouse of 44 years, Delina Jenneta (nee Ockhuizen), five children and 11 grandchildren.