The pop star lookalike Usiel Muruko spent a significant chunk of his formative years juggling between various reservats (settlements for native Bantus). Originally from Otjimbingwe, the stocky light-skinned boy found himself locked up in the village of Omaihi.
He later relocated to Otjituuo via Epukiro, before finding permanent refuge in the city of bright lights (Windhoek).
Kastamba, as he was also known, started his elementary school at the Rhenisch Herero school in Windhoek’s Old Location, and ended at the revered Martin Luther High School (MLH) from the Herero Higher Primary School in Katutura.
Though young school-going children from the affluent suburbs were allowed to compete freely in various sporting disciplines at provincial level, Bantus (blacks) were deliberately denied the opportunity of enjoying the same benefits as a result of the systematic racial segregation, ruthlessly imposed on indigenous inhabitants of the Land of the Brave by the South African apartheid regime, back in the day.
When the slightly limited multi-ethnic pupils’ Rhenisch Herero School football team confidently arrived at the old Katutura Municipal sport stadium in 1967 to compete in the maiden edition of the Central Region Natives Schools Floating Trophy (nowadays Khomas), the star-studded gold and green strip outfit had a stocky winger in her arsenal.
The said forward proudly went by the name of Usiel Kastamba Hijakurooro Muruko, also famously known by his social name of ‘Okamboha’, loosely translated as the Small Spike.
Fittingly shepherded by dribbling wizard Johannes Pwiro Hangula, flanked by the equally dangerous attackers Ephraim Kaparoro Kandjii, Erastus ‘Nobby Stiles’ Hambira, Justus Iku Kuzee, Fundi Kiddo Kambangula and Katjitata Kazombiaze, the boys from Windhoek’s Old Location managed to carve a place in the final against the more talented flamboyant Rhenisch Damara/Nama School in an electrifying final, where no quarter was asked or given.
However, it was the more determined and resolute Rhenisch Herero School which came out unscathed, sending their more fancied and technically superior opponents packing via a well-deserved 3-1 score line with tallish forward Ephraim Kandjii netting a well-taken brace. Captain fantastic Pwiro Hangula added the third to wrap up a comfortable win.
Without a shadow of doubt, one of the star performers on that particular freezing windy Sunday afternoon was the Elvis Presley look-alike left winger Usiel Hijakurooro Kastamba Muruko, a very calm, highly intelligent and well-spoken footy of mild manners - indeed a calculated young boy of decent upbringing.
As it turned out, that particular nail-biting final was to define the immediate future of some of the best-performing squad members who were subsequently swallowed up by their respective boyhood teams, notably African Stars and Tigers football clubs.
And whilst agile shot-stopper Gustav Bollie Kandonga, defenders Shaka Mbako and Hofni ‘Grey’ Umati, free-scoring forwards Hangula and Kambangula found refuge with Ingwe, the trio of Muruko, Kuzee and Kandjii joined Stars, becoming household names with the Katutura glamour football club.
After a few eye-catching displays for the Reds’ second strings, Kastamba silently vanished from the football scene, having lost focus as a result of his seemingly uncontrolled roving eye for the opposite gender, worsened by other distractive evils of society.
Nevertheless, apart from being a much- chased ladies’ man and always immaculately dressed (Juvie), Kastamba will be well- remembered for entertaining local football fans with his trademark darting runs down the left flank, specifically during the weekends’ hotly-contested popular exhibition encounters between youthful bitter rivals Golden and Ehahe.