He loves to cook Indian and Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian dishes, drinks moringa tea and water as a form of relaxation. Simplicity is key to him, especially coming from a big family such as his.
Kaire Munionganda Mbuende said he adores listening to jazz, afro-jazz, highlife and classical music, especially Beethoven, to relax, unwind and reflect on life in general and while enjoying some quality time with the family.
Mbuende was the Ambassador of the Republic of Namibia to the Kingdoms of Belgium and the Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Permanent Representative to the European Union.
Born in Windhoek, Old Location, on 28 November 1953, Mbuende later moved to Katutura in 1968 as a result of forced removal when essential services such as water were cut off and houses bulldozed.
He was named after his father’s great grandfather, who fled into Botswana during the genocide perpetrated by the German colonial troops. He died in Botswana and is buried at Tsabong.
“I grew up at a time when there was political awakening in the community following the 10th December 1959 massacre of Africans in the old location for refusing to move to Katutura.
The gaining of independence by some African countries in the 1960s increased the demands for our independence.”
Mbuende said during colonial times, his family was involved in politics; hence, children’s names were motivated by the circumstances.
“Children in my family were given names that embodied the aspirations for independence. My younger sister’s name is Ngarikutuke, which means the country must become independent.”
THE FAMILY MAN
Mbuende is married to Maureen Magreth (Hinda) Mbuende, a member of parliament – and they have six children. “I have a large family as the remaining patriarch in the Mbuende family/clan. I raised six children three boys and three girls – Hainyeko, Tjivingurura, Venomuinjo, Penondjira, Mbitjita and Kamunika. Also, I put my siblings (two brothers) through university. I have also been providing for my siblings’ children and grandchildren. I have two granddaughters – Grace and Avihe.”
ACADEMICS AND INTEREST IN DIPLOMACY
Mbuende has a PhD in Economic Sociology from the University of Lund in Sweden, a BA in Sociology and Economic History from the University of Lund, Sweden. He obtained BD in 1978 from the Lutheran College, Makumira in Tanzania, now known as Tumaini University.
“My interest in diplomacy came through an unusual route. I did not study international relations as most diplomats do. It was through the study of economic history and international economic relations that I developed an interest in international relations.”
He added that there has always been a close relationship between politics and academia. It was politics that arose my interest in education, as Africans were denied educational opportunities.
“For my generation, studying was a political act. The aim was to acquire knowledge that would be used to contribute to political change.”
On choosing between politics and academics, Mbuende said knowledge of ones’ country’s political, social and economic situation, so that one can promote its interest effectively, is important.
“Technical knowledge of social and economic as well as political and security issues on the global agenda so that one can contribute to global norms setting and the resolution of global challenges ranging from developmental, peace and security and climate change. Mastery of diplomatic skills, such as negotiations, networking and a general political acumen including a good sense of judgement.
HONORARY CITIZEN OF SWEDEN AND TANZANIA
“My political thinking was further refined in Tanzania during the heydays of Ujamaa or African socialism. The debates that took place in society and at academic institutions during that time greatly influenced my thinking on politics and economics. The notion of disengagement from the international economic system through self-reliance and import substitutions was rife – and so was the critique thereto.”
He recalled a school of thought that emphasised the primacy of internal dynamics and that is what inspired him to study sociology and later on economic history in particular the history of industrialisation.
“I consider myself lucky to have lived in Tanzania during the time of President Julius Nyerere and to have witnessed internal debates at different levels.”
He added that another enriching experience was to live in Sweden and to be exposed to the Swedish welfare model anchored on a market economy with social responsibility (solidarity).
“Sweden was a commitment to international solidarity and supported people fighting for their freedom. I developed close relations with various organisations that were supporting the struggle for the independence of our country. I was fortunate to have witnessed the workings of the inner party life of the Swedish Social Democratic Party.”
THE MBUENDE ADAGE
“There is no short cut to success in any sphere of life. The first thing is hard work, discipline and passion.”