Fransina Ndateelela Kahungu
On Wednesday, the 30th June 2021, the devastating news reached Namibia that Tekla Tala Uwanga is no more. As it is written in the scripture of the Holy Book that, set your house in order, for you shall die and not live. It was not easy for me to believe this truth.
In September 2012, Swapo Party held its First National Policy Conference to discuss what the former President Hifikepunye Pohamba referred to as “the bread and butter issues” affecting all Namibians and also to consider new policy options to improve the effectiveness of the ruling party’s policy interventions to facilitate better delivery of services and boost its ability to address the numerous developmental challenges facing Namibia.
At the same conference, Uwanga presented a policy paper on gender equality. The manner in which the policy paper was presented illustrated the knowledge and skills of the presenter. I was impressed, therefore, forming a closer bond with her.
From there onwards, Talakie as she was affectionately known, continuously burned a torch of light in Swapo Party Women’s Council’s (SPWC) activities in Windhoek West district (constituency) where she served as SPWC district coordinator from 2016 until 30th June 2021.
During her reign as a SPWC district coordinator, she made sure that all branches’ leadership are encouraged to do their level best, especially making sure that women are fully involved in political, social, economic, cultural and spiritual activities. Tekla was a hardworking person who would always listen to others.
She would give a fair chance to each person to speak. She was a leader of note. When she speaks, she would boldly do so with clarity and when she explains something to you, she would slowly, tactfully do so.
During the year 2015, when Swapo Party embarked on the process of identifying the candidates to become the local authority councillors for Windhoek municipality council, Tekla, together with myself were among the people identified through the election processes.
Tekla with a broad smile on her face presented herself very well to the extent that she made it to be among the 15 people required. She became a councillor in the year 2015 until 2020. Throughout the term of office, she served as a chief whip for Swapo Party representatives in the council, an activity she carried out with determination up to the end although not without challenges.
Equally, throughout her term of five years, she served in the management committee. While, in the year 2018, she served as a deputy mayor of the Windhoek municipality council.
Tekla was a selfless person. I will remember her as a caring person who contributed not only ideas but materials too when necessary.
Her philanthropic gestures are well remembered, particularly, by security personnel at the town house of municipality of Windhoek, and the people in various communities especially the needy. Tekla strongly believed in the teaching that “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”
She privately assisted many people and did not like it when a person publicly acknowledged the assistance she gave. I can best describe her as a person who was always willing to uplift others.
A good leader is a good reader too. Tekla was one of the councillors who used to read with understanding. She constantly read the thick documents for the council meetings and always keen on details. She took her work very seriously and never abandoned her council activities even if it was during weekends.
The year 2020 was a year I will forever remember her because on the 2nd January 2020, as a mayor I needed councillors to join me on site visits to various informal settlements in Windhoek. Tekla together with councillor Ananias Niizimba, Faniel Maanda and some officials joined me.
To our surprise, we observed a group of more than 200 residents who were busy clearing land to unprocedurally occupy it. From the onset, my term of office was challenged with this massive task. Immediately, we developed strategies to curb further land invasion.
Councillor Tekla played a vital role by convincing the people not to continue and at the same time informed all that the meeting with the affected community members will be held on Saturday, the 4thth January 2020. I have to indicate that, the community members kept on organising themselves on a daily basis to clear land. During that period, Mr O’Brien Hekandjo, was acting as chief executive officer. Together with his team, they played a big role to bring the situation under control. I remember Chief Abraham Kotokeni Kanime, Head of City Police assisted by Levi Tshivolo Iileka trying their level best to bring order to an angry crowd of people, which refused to listen to our proposals.
However, at the end of the confrontations, the committee was formed with the aim to deliberate further with councillors on the land issue. At one point, the crowd was not happy with Mr Botha Shilongo Ellis taking pictures.
The whole month of January, Windhoek municipality council was busy deliberating the issue of illegal land occupation. Together with councillor Ian Subasubani who was a deputy mayor, we led fellow councillors and technical staff members developed a long-term strategy, which guaranteed legal occupation of land.
Ever since the 2nd of January, Windhoek municipality councillors have been running up and down with the purpose to effectively and efficiently deliver services to the inhabitants of Windhoek until December 2020.
At this juncture, allow me to express gratitude to the Windhoek municipal council members of the 2015-2020 term for the positive contributions they have made by enhancing the quality of lives for Windhoek inhabitants.
Tekla has been a conservative person in her dealings. She chooses her words wisely in any conversation. She is a person who always discusses a subject in an objective manner. Talakie has really been an independent thinker. One of the strategists who played a motivational role for all of us was none other than councillor Tekla Tala Uwanga.