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The life and times of James Vetoorora Muundjua

2022-04-29  Carlos Kambaekwa

The life and times of James Vetoorora Muundjua

Retired Dobra and African Stars Football Club goalkeeper James Vetoorora Muundjua will forever be remembered as a fearless political activist, who sent shockwaves through the community back in the day for frequently finding his name on the crime sheets of the notorious Apartheid regime. Amongst the many sword-crossing moments with the Apartheid regime, Muundjua once committed an act of aggravated arson and malicious damage to property when he set alight a police vehicle and other properties belonging to the South West Africa National Union (SWANU). Regrettably, the unpleasant episode landed Muundjua in hot water with law enforcers.  


Muundjua was born in 1941 at Okombambi commercial farm in the Gobabis district, owned by the grandfather of the late Hanno Rumph, who was Namibia’s ambassador to Germany and the European Commission, but spent the major part of his formative years in the city of bright lights (Windhoek). 

Muundjua got his promising but rather short-lived football career off the ground as a lethal forward at the Rietquelle and Okazize (Leonardville) Primary Schools for natives. He was the founder member of Black Africa FC while still a pupil at the revered St Joseph’s (Dobra) boarding school. 

Going by the moniker of ‘Kangombe’, and finding refuge in the Donkerhoek section, Muundjua was obliged to reciprocate the hospitality, and would thus often turn out for Tigers FC before jumping ship to be reunited with his village homeboys at archrivals African Stars. 

Your typical old-fashioned centre forward, Muundjua packed dynamite in both feet was lightning fast, and always left bemused defenders for dead with breathtaking athleticism. 

His arrival in organised football structures, coincided with the emergence of many football entities in the domestic set-up. The likes of Cape Cross (Pirates), Ramblers (Rocco Swallows), Tigers, Swans, Thistles and African Stars were all making serious inroads in the annals of domestic knockout cup tournaments. 

The multi-talented versatile village boy, who has by now converted to the last line of defence (goalkeeper), did not have to wait long for topflight action. 

“What actually happened is I came to the city with fellow pupils to watch the annual Mukurundu Hoveka Floating Trophy final between Tigers and African Stars in 1960. Stars saw off Cape Cross 1-0, with the highly-talented young George Kanima Hoveka making his senior debut for the club.” 

George Kanima Hoveka made a long-lasting impression during the match, paving the way for other youngsters to break into the first team. Other shining stars in that particular match were Charles Kauraisa, Ipumbu Katjepunda and Babietjie Mbaha. 

Soon afterwards, young winger Obed Kamburona and other talented youngsters Theo Ndisiro and Tjeripo Ngaringombe also managed to secure themselves starting berths in the first team. 

However, a profoundly upsetting episode unfolded when Stars almost closed shop when the majority of big-name players developed itchy feet to join forces with newly formed Explorer Eleven FC.  

The Reds were left with a skeleton playing personnel and had to dig deep in their pocket to weather the storm. Only the trusted cadres, marshalled by captain Obed Kamburona, Siegfried Tjaatako Tjijorokisa, Theo Ndisiro, Thomas Hindjou, Edward Teek, Justus Katume Handura and a few others stayed put.

Muundjua finally got his big break when the two first-choice Starlile goalkeepers Willy Kavari and Boetie Mashego (Abraham Mashego’s son) started to be found wanting between the sticks.    

The acrobatic Muundjua never looked back, and made the number one jersey his personal property, representing Stars with a great measure of pride, loyalty and dedication until his premature retirement from playing competitive football. 

He was succeeded by the six-fingered Ripuree Hoveka before younger brother Uzeu ‘Two-by-Two’ Muundjua took over the gloves, and was then followed by the late trident of Njangatare Kajau, Ngatangue Kezumo and Cheese Kavikairiua, while the butterfingered Ratjindua Katjimune was also roped in as a stopgap before the unavoidable arrival of Ndjiva Kauami.         

Apart from his magical exploits between the sticks, Muundjua stood accused of having caused serious damage to property through the act of arson when he set fire to a Land Rover Mini Jeep, belonging to the SWANU political party. Now, let us hear from the horse’s mouth. 

“Laughs…we had dozens of unresolved differences within the party leadership, punctuated by no adherence to the constitution. Some members in the leadership made it their sole beat to violate the statutes at the slightest provocation to advance their agendas. 

“It was clearly stated in black and white that executive members should not reside outside Windhoek for more than three months, but both Sondag Kangueehi and John Muundjua conveniently ignored this directive. Kangueehi found employment with the government of the day in Aminius, while Muundjua retreated to his village, a practice that was very much against the spirit of the constitution. 

“Coming back to the much-talked-about arson accident, it is believed the party purchased a second-hand Pontiac sedan car, but later sold it to a prominent party member who defaulted on payment. To worsen matters, funds from foreign donors were always unaccounted for. I was very frustrated with the shoddy style of management and decided to revolt by burning the party’s parked Jeep,” he reflects. 

Muundjua did not escape the wrath of law authorities and was subsequently locked up as a trial awaiting prisoner for 27 days, with no official charges laid against him. 

Although he was eventually found guilty of the offence, Muundjua was just given a rap on the knuckles in the shape of a light fine, and saw him freed from custody. 

Despite all the brouhaha surrounding his somewhat thorny life journey, Muundjua was the first none Catholic follower to be admitted at Dobra, and still has fond memories of his time at the boarding school, where he spent quality time with fellow pupils in the following sequence: Black Kangootui, Tepeho Kasenda, Gotthardt Kanguvi, Alphons Kauzuu, Ben Kangootui, Nguvi Teek, Abraham and Jakkals Tsuob, Hermann Katjiteo, Benjamin Tjongoura, Oscar Katjiteo, Ludwig Katjupu, Erica and Hilde Kanguvi, Ernest Kangombe, Justus Puturi, and a handful of Batswana boys. 

Pio Teek, Michael Markowitz and Willem Hans (doubling as an auxiliary chef) were among the young boys, while Kamaruru Tjongarero (Muinjangue) was the youngest of them all.  

2022-04-29  Carlos Kambaekwa

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