ONGWEDIVA – The first commissioner of the northern region and first governor of Oshana, region Silvanus Vatuva, was hailed as a dedicated teacher, freedom fighter, businessman, farmer, family man, philanthropist and a friend to all.
Vatuva was eulogised at a memorial service that was held at his Omalaxwaxwa residence at Omungwelume in Ohangwena region on Friday. He was conferred an official funeral by President Hage Geingob and was laid to rest on Saturday at Omungwelume. Vatuva (87) died on 1 September 2020 at Ongwediva Medi Park.
President Hage Geingob said Vatuva’s life was characterised by hard work and dedication to serve fellow human beings.
Geingob further said Vatuva had an obvious passion to build a better Namibia by enabling equal access to services through good governance at both regional and local level. “Today, we pay tribute to a man who gave true meaning to what it means to be a servant of our country and her people,” said Geingob, whose speech was delivered on his behalf by Ohangwena governor Walde Ndevashiya. Founding President Sam Nujoma said Vatuva was a dedicated and committed public servant who played an important role in setting up administrative structures and shaping the growth of Oshana.
Nujoma’s speech was delivered on his behalf by the information minister Peya Mushelenga. Oshana governor Elia Irimari said Vatuva will be remembered for his immense contribution for directing development in the region just after independence.
“Vatuva will always be remembered as a founding political pioneer of Oshana region for the great strides in infrastructural development, such as education, water and electricity infrastructure we have in the region,” said Irimari.
Apart from his role in government, Vatuva was a freedom fighter, who – like many others – has been detained several times. At home, his widow Helena Vatuva said he was a family man, a loving husband and an advisor. Paulina Vatuva-Uugwanga, who spoke on behalf of the children, said their father was humble, gentle and soft-spoken. “To us, our father was not a teacher, businessman or governor; he was just our father,” said Vatuva-Uugwanga.
In the community, Vatuva will be remembered for his generosity and for fostering development in his community.
He was the driving force behind the construction of many schools, churches and even the Oshakati-Omungwelume road.
Those who spoke on behalf of the community said Vatuva was a great advisor, a pillar to lean on and a philanthropist of his time, who transported his community without charging them a penny.
He is survived by his wife, four children, 20 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.