We’ll forever remember you, Mose Tjitendero

I remember with fond memory how Katutire Kaura, Mose and me used to spend some good part of our free time from classes and study periods and played at the Okahandja River bed. We used to wrestle, he and Kaura teaching me the Herero wrestling style and me teaching them the Oshiwambo methods of wrestling. They could not fathom the techniques I used to pin them down. We also spent time talking and planning about how we could escape from the country to go abroad and further our studies outside the Bantu Education system. I managed to escape first before these two friends could join me abroad. We then met about three years later in the United States of America. Of all those compatriots who joined us, the first group that went to United States, it was Mose and I who ended up enrolling for a bachelor’s degree at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. It was only after our graduation that we went in different directions ‘ he went to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to pursue his post graduate studies and I went to Canada to do the same thing at McGill University. He used to come and visit me in Canada. We also met occasionally in New York were he first introduced me to his lovely wife, Sandy Tjitendero, in 1971. In 1976, Mose and I were called upon by SWAPO to join Comrade Hage Geingob in establishing the United Nations Institute for Namibia in Lusaka.. Mose was tasked with the development and implementation of the education curriculum (teachers training) of the institute, while I was assigned to develop and oversee the implementation of the history and political science program for the college. We spent several years there together participating in the development of Namibian cadres who were later to play a significant role in establishing and the management of various state institutions. They did that as teachers, as senior administrators, as ministers, and as judges. It was with great pride that Mose was able to see how his products developed into patriotic activists and mature professionals. It was I and Theo Ben Gurirab that conjured up the idea of having Mose as the first speaker of the new parliament of the liberated Namibia. After nearly a decade as a deputy directors and senior lecturers at the institute of Namibia, the two of us were assigned with new missions in Angola. He was appointed the head of yet another UN institution of training for Namibians at Sumbe in central Angola. There too he displayed great capacity for leadership in establishing that training centre and implementing its program for the development of technical cadres. Here, too, he acquitted himself admirably. He performed his tasks above and beyond the call of duty. The two of us sold the idea to the party leadership and this is how he ended up being the speaker of the national assembly for 15 years, a task which he performed with distinction, great sense of fairness, dignity and intellectual sagacity. Mose was a principled comrade. He did not waver in his commitment to the liberation struggle, to the development and growth of his Party SWAPO and to the promotion of democracy in Namibia. He lived a celebrated life. He made his mark in the building of the Namibian nation. Those worked with him for nearly five decades and those who stayed with him in spirit and action to the end of his life will forever remember his profound sense of humility, his honesty and steadfastness, even in adversity. Before his untimely departure, Mose was busy building the Pan African Leadership Development Institute and Foundation (PALDIF).

May 2006
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