Death has struck again for the umpteenth time in the last couple of months, which has seen a string of great men of substance and athletes alike all losing their precious lives.
Ask anyone from George Mbaha to Tjivaro Kandanga, Ellison Hijarunguru, Tjijandjeua Kamundu, Mike Kangombo and Tjeripo Hijarunguru... just ask any of the aforementioned former students of the Okakarara Secondary School boxing club who the most dangerous boxer of their generation was, and the name ‘Cross Bee’ will pop up without hesitation.
A non-nonsense super bantamweight boxer, Zephania Marukuaijani ‘Cross Bee’ Tjihumino, was the real deal and could have gone very far had his unquenchable desire for equal rights not taken preference ahead of sport.
In today’s instalment of your favourite weekly sport feature, Tales of the Legends, profiling our sport personalities present and posthumously, New Era Sport pays a dignified tribute to the pair of departed sporting heroes in the names of Zephania Marukuaijani Tjihumino (boxer) and Immanuel ‘Killer’ Xoagub (footballer).
Born Zephania Marukuinjani Tjihumino on 12 March 1958, the usually laid-back dude was in real life a salted politician, who dedicated his entire life to the political movement of the South West Africa National Union.
However, many people, including some of those he rubbed shoulders with in social circles on a daily basis, are rather ignorantly unaware of his flawless sporting journey in the ring.
Affectionately known by his shortened name Maru, Tjihumino was a much-feared amateur super bantamweight boxer back in the day, fighting and competing fiercely in the then popular annual Inter-Schools Multi Sport Games in the mid-’70s.
In hindsight, Maru, who famously went by the ring name ‘Cross Bee’, cunningly looked like somebody who could hardly harm a fly, something that was in contrast with the dominant view that his name should be in the same conversation with some of the world’s greatest super bantamweight champions of his generation.
Holed up in the vastly populated Otjozondjupa region, Okakarara Secondary School has in the past unearthed a significant number of great athletes-cum-noted-academics.
The likes of well-established academics and high profile personalities such as Vetumbuavi ‘Green Eyes’ Mungunda, Ambassador Gotthardt Tjivaro Kandanga, boxing guru Ellison Ndjambi Hijarunguru, ocean expert Dr Moses Maurihungirire, Milka Tjihenuna-Mungunda, Zacharias Tjeripo Hijarunguru, Tjeripo ‘Pro’ Rijatua, Kaomo Vianda Tjombe, Sadrag ‘Zico’ Tjazerua, Moses ‘Five’ Kandingua, Kuveri Oversea Tjongarero, Steven Mbaisa, Jackson Meroro, and many others all cut their teeth with the village’s higher learning institution but at different intervals.
One of the unsung heroes from the revered Okakarara Secondary School, whose sporting resume has been kept in the closet for some unknown reasons, is none other than the easy-going, well-known academic Maru Tjihumino.
Sadly, the much-adored Tjihumino recently passed on to be reunited with his ancestors after losing a stretched battle with illness at age 64.
Tellingly, whilst many came to know Tjihumino as the soft-spoken gentleman, ‘Cross Bee’ was a menace in the boxing ring, brutally peppering his poor opponents at will with well-executed devastating body punches.
Without an iota of doubt, Tjihumino easily ranks amongst some of the finest and most accomplished leather traders of his generation during his high school tenure at the Okakarara Secondary School.
He humbled his opponents with relative ease and had very few peers, if any, when it came down to the art of exchanging heavy blows in the boxing ring.
Admittedly, his unavoidable arrival on the local boxing scene perfectly coincided with the period when the often much-despised boxing discipline, whose primary objective is to cause serious bodily harm to your opponent, started to make serious inroads in the annals of elite sport gatherings across the length and width of the Land of the Brave.
The outstanding Tjihumino was a formidable member of the untouchable Okakarara Secondary School boxing team that regularly competed in the popular Inter-Schools Multi Sport Games for natives back in the day.
Some of his celebrated stable mates were Moses Uetunjengua Hengari, Libhardt ‘Bones’ Kandonga, Dimetrius Tjijandjeua Kamundu, Zacharias Tjeripo Hijarunguru and the late George Mbaha.
Sadly, the latter lost his precious life in the boxing ring at the mining town of Arandis in 1980.
Former stable mate Ellison Hijarunguru, a fellow pupil at the Okakarara Secondary School, describes the departed Maru as a phenomenal hard-punching boxer and a common denominator in the school boxing team’s success.
“Maru fought in the super bantamweight division; he was a very strong dude, complemented by a devastating left hook. Cross Bee boasted excellent boxing skills and could finish a fight with unbelievable combinations”.
State-owned Agricultural Bank of Namibia former CEO and Tjihumino’s former stable mate Zacharias Tjeripo Hijarunguru could not heap enough praises on his ex-mate.
“It’s a very sad day and indeed a dark chapter for Namibian boxing in general, including those who came to know this great son of the soil up close. Maru was a skilled boxer with good technique... he could unleash a tirade of lightning left hooks; whilst moving forward, only to finish off his opponent with a classic right cross. May his soul rest in peace!”
RIP-Immanuel ‘Killer’ Xoagub 1955-2022
Meanwhile, down sea level, the peace-loving community of Swakopmund’s largest residential area of Mondesa was left traumatised by the sudden death of one of the town’s most recognisable sons of the soil, Immanuel ‘Killer’ Xoagub.
A phenomenal attacking midfielder, Xoagub formed the backbone of the exciting Mondesa outfit United Stars Football Club, pulling the strings with great aplomb alongside the equally dangerous stocky forward Reinhardt Habasen Gurirab.
Despite residing in separate towns, there seem to be some sorts of similarities between United Stars and their Kuisebmond counterparts Namib Woestyn (Walvis Bay), whose bitter rivalry with fellow seasiders Blue Waters is well documented.
United is the undisputed heir to the crown of Namibia Woestyn.
Lest we forget, both teams boast a decent representation of Topnaars in their armoury.
United were a force to be reckoned with in the popular knockout cup tournaments for lower tier teams, usually staged in the Erongo region’s towns such as Arandis, Swakopmund, Omaruru, Usakos, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
Xoagub was part of the competitive United side that narrowly missed out on promotion to the elite league in the playoffs when they suffered against Ramblers with the late speedy winger Juku Tjazuko, the chief tormentor on the day.
Sadly, Xoagub recently passed on to meet his maker barely a month after he celebrated his 67th birthday.