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Tributes flow for Jane Katjavivi

2022-08-10  Edward Mumbuu

Tributes flow for Jane Katjavivi

Her gentle demeanour, dependability and willingness to assist those in need are among the features that set the late Jane Katjavivi apart from the rest. 

This is according to President Geingob, in his commiserations to the Katjavivi family, following her passing yesterday. 

She was 70. Jane died while on flight to Windhoek in the presence of her husband and National Assembly (NA) speaker Peter Katjavivi, the NA announced. 

She was a renowned writer, editor and former publisher, with an academic background in African studies. 

“Jane was helping out at the Swapo office and became a steadfast supporter of freedom fighters during the liberation struggle,” Geingob said. 

The now departed Jane became “one of us in advancing our fight for freedom and independence. “Jane will be sorely missed by many of us for her gentle demeanour and willingness to offer assistance to those in need,” Geingob added.  After independence, Geingob recalled, Jane was instrumental in building
Namibian literature while assisting many with editing manuscripts and documents. 

“We will cherish the outstanding role she played in the development of language and the preservation of
Namibian literature,” the President quoted in the statement issued by the Presidency. 

When New Era visited their residence in Klein Windhoek, reporters were denied entry as the family was still coming to terms with the news. 





“The speaker is in the house, resting. The family will issue a press statement in due course,” said an official from the speaker’s office.

On his part, official opposition leader in the NA, McHenry Venaani, asked the Katjavivi family to find solace in Isiah [55:8]:  

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” 

Venaani went on to describe Jane as an astute author and editor with a unique way with words, freely expressed eloquence and fluency. 

“She left a legacy of what a great public servant should be: dedicated, sincere, honest and committed to excellence and service. She proved that one does not need to be in a position of power to make a difference,” Venaani said. 

Contested Ovaherero paramount chief (PC), academic Mutjinde Katjiua also extended his tribute.  Katjiua remembers Jane as a humble soul “who in conduct and disposition transcended race and thus radiated humanity at its best”.

“She has been a pillar of support to professor Peter Katjavivi during the dark days of exile and the dawn of independence with its challenges. She was a great mother to Perivi, Isabelle, Uanaingi and many others as well as a loving grandmother,” Katjiua said. 

Jane’s journey in academia begins at the University of Sussex where she earned an Honours degree in English literature. 

She would later collect a Master’s degree from the University of Birmingham before becoming an accomplished writer, editor and publisher. 

She was also notably the founding Publisher of the University of Namibia Press from 2011 to 2016.

Her classic ‘Undisciplined Heart’ is the talk of town, among avid readers. 

It tells the story of Jane’s love for family, friends and adopted country, Namibia, in a gentle and honest way that reflects the joys and tragedies of life. 

2022-08-10  Edward Mumbuu

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