• July 3rd, 2020

Tribute to Peter Mvula Ya Nangolo … On behalf of 50 former Swapo secondary education students in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1975 - 1980

In 1974, many young Namibians left the country and travelled via Angola to join the liberation struggle waged by the South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo), whose provisional headquarters was in Lusaka, Zambia.

These young people, except those under-age or those with disability, were trained at Shatotwa Military Training Camp in the Western Province of Zambia for deployment to Swapo which were in the eastern and north-eastern warfront to face the enemy in military operations.

Simultaneously, Swapo devised strategies to train future professionals, who would transform social and economic development for Namibia after independence.

In September 1975, Swapo selected a group of fifty PLAN combatants from Kaunga, Oshatotwa No. 1 and No. 2 military bases and sent them to further their secondary education in the Federal Republic of Nigeria with financial assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Swapo and the United Nations entered into an agreement to educate, train and capacitate young Namibians in preparation for national independence. The Swapo Department of Education and Culture – was assigned with the implementation of that agreement. An implementation team was set up and operated from Lusaka. 
Once all administration arrangements were in place, such as medical checkups, vaccinations, passports preparations, identification of schools in Nigeria for placement, air tickets, replacement of our military boots coupled with new civilian clothing, the group was ready to depart. 

UNDP assigned their official, Beryl McGovern, to accompany the students to Nigeria. Swapo leadership decided to assign Cde Mvula and paid for his ticket to accompany the students to Nigeria under the supervision of the UNDP. 
We recall Cde Mvula meeting us at Lusaka Airport in the company of senior officials; Maxton Mutongolume, Hidipo Hamutenya and a white lady – she was tall and very beautiful. We soon got to learn she was a UN official Beryl McGovern, who was Mvula’s sweetheart, later to become his wife and mother of Puleni, his son, the youngest of his children. 
 Mvula was on duty - and in love. 

We boarded the flight and Mvula took charge of ensuring we understood all safety requirements as we were seated; buckling up, safety pamphlets, waste dispensers and parachutes – most of us checked under the seats as per the announcement regarding locating the parachute “in an event of  an unlikely accident”. 

Mvula would walk around in the aisle of the plane – on reflection, God knows if he did find some sleep that night.  “Koxi yoshipundi, ha pevi”!  He also had a tough task explaining and making us understand the food service. We safely landed in Lagos after a night in Douala, Cameroun. Cde Mvula departed and arrived in Lusaka safely in the company of Beryl.
After completion of secondary education, the majority of us were sent for further studies in different Swapo-friendly countries; to this day we remain a very united group.

We thank God that most of us came back home together with our mentor that we are mourning, Comrade Mvula ya Nangolo. We believe that 90 percent of us are still alive and active in various sectors advancing the socio-economic development of our country. Unfortunately, two sacrificed their lives in the struggle, one on combat and the other from natural causes.  May their souls rest in eternal peace.

The majority of us are still alive, hence our presence here to partake in the celebration of Cde Mvula’s life. 
In life, each discipline has a leader, whether it be military, science or politics.  
In contemporary Namibian  history, the leader of poetry is Mvula Ya Nangolo, and in history associated with writing, Mvula ya Nangolo is the only Namibian hero. 

We should therefore celebrate his success in that field, as well as the history of journalism he concurred while in exile and on his return to mother Namibia.

Cde Mvula’s departure has touched our hearts deeply.

We will treasure his comradeship, his leadership and the contribution he made to our respective professional lives.

We will always treasure Mvula’s love for his country and its people, his genuine comradeship, his unwavering patriotism and lifelong commitment to peace, solidarity and justice for Namibia.

Comrade Mvula’s exemplary milestones and their significance in our lives

As a young Namibian and an intellectual, Mvula lived a productive life in Swapo, as a journalist, a writer and poet, a thinker and philosopher;

As an author and poet, Mvula disseminated knowledge and issues at hand; he remains the only Namibian publishing poems and literature of the liberation struggle. He was indeed our living archive; he clearly remembered all his colleagues’ activities and all history concerning Namibia, Southern Africa and the world at large;

His selflessness – Mvula sacrificed his youth days and adult life for the liberation of Namibia;

His sincere comradeship – Mvula stood firm by revolutionary and progressive principles;

Mvula was a fountain of knowledge of historical events demonstrated by his documentation of the people of southern and east Africa coupled with great respect for African culture;

He had an immense ability to blend his African upbringing with civilization – Mvula had strong admiration of modern civilization, his belief in divergent cultures and willingness to mentor their co-existence with African cultures and traditions are exemplified by his proficiency in various languages and dialects, including English, Oshindonga, Otshikwambi and Kiswahili and his insightfulness in a number of cultures;

Ability and intellect to tease without offence;

Appetite and value for style - he had a unique choice for clothing, hair style and cosmetics; and
Mvula remains exemplary to us; his influence is displayed in the photograph of some members of Group 50, which reflects part of the seventies styles. We will forever miss Mvula dearly.

By way of closure

With heavy hearts, we admire the love that Cde Mvula shared with his family, relatives, and his children. 
We also acknowledge and treasure friendship gained by Mvula ya Nangolo during the liberation struggle. He was able to build bridges of friendship spanning all regions of the country. As a professional journalist and during his tenure as a public officer Cde Mvula’s professional style positively impacted the media fraternity within and across the borders of Namibia – we are together in this loss.  
To the bereaved children, family and friend: Your loss is our loss. 
We share your pain, but by faith and prayers together, we will endure the pain and find solace in the arms of the Almighty God.
May Comrade Mvula’s soul rest in eternal peace

The 50 former Swapo  secondary education students in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, funded by the United Nations Development Programme 1975 – 1980.
Those involved or were consulted on the tribute:

1.    Andrew Ndishishi
2.    Aina Ulenga
3.    Hileni Joseph
4.    Julia Jeremiah
5.    Kaatry Imalwa
6.    Dr Martha Shikongo-Nambabi
7.    Penny Akwenye
8.    G Tuli-Mevava Nghiyoonanye
9.    Dr Ndahafa Nghifindaka
10.    Honourable Anna Ndahambelela Shiweda
11.    Selma Shilongo
12.    Fousy Kambombo 
13.    Naftali Sheehamandje Iipinge
14.    Dr Panduleni Shingenge
15.    Dr Peingeondjabi Shipoh
16.    Phillemon Kaluwapa
17.    Rauna Dengeinge
18.    Aili Hamukwaya
19.    Nelago Sheya
20.    Oshoveli Shingenge

Staff Reporter
2019-05-06 08:57:09 | 1 years ago

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