I write what I know: You have not died, for the causes you championed were inherited by us in their entirety… You are gone from us, but the weapon and rucksack that you left, your tools of work, are a part of [our burden]… how can we mourn a comrade, but by holding the fallen gun and continue the combat… [his] life continu[ing] in those who [will] continue [the cause].
– Samora Machel’s poem to Josina
The best strategist Swapo ever created is no more. The man fondly known as HH represents a chapter in the history of our country, which cannot be deleted lest the book contain missing pages.
An enigma, a closed book to many people, a Machiavellian at best, the de facto Number Two for long stretches of the struggle for liberation, a tactician of tact, a propagandist of unimaginable proportion, the man with the secretive laughter, HH went to rest on a pillow engraved with the words of freedom.
The late Moses Garoeb called him “most intelligent”. Kazenambo ruffled feathers when he called him “a hero” long after he left the movement. The sitting president continues to acknowledge him.
Those in my tribe dubbed him Kavandje, or okasino katuezu ko… (said with African respect) You will think you saw or heard him, but will be unable to quote him or tie him to the event. He knew the system like the palm of his hand and had everyone and everywhere, creating shadows that almost tore the movement asunder upon his departure.
In 1989 HH informed Martti Athisaari that the votes from the North will come and Namibia will be free. Indeed the votes came and the rest was history.
HH was a very loyal cadre of our struggle. A former diplomat from Ghana, a friend of mine, once opined that in Angola Swapo was Hidipo, and Hidipo was Swapo. He diligently served our struggle and his master to the best of his ability. He comes from those who said: justitia omnibus.
HH defied logic. He taught us that one need not be big in stature, or be a grand orator to contribute immensely to a cause. He gave meaning to the old adage that a small package can contain dynamite. HH is the only shortest man I have met who was intelligent, a man who would never make you look stupid, always in his thinking mode.
The political mathematician with a precision of a sewing machine needle went to rest. His soul is at peace, for it was with his Swapo when his name was called.
When our valiant history will be narrated around the warmth of the African fire, his name will pop up without wavering and indignity. When our future self ploughs into the past in quest of stimulation and answers, they shall have no preference but to read HH’s name imprinted in the people’s hall of eminence.
This man, whose achievements tower above his length, selected us to attend Harvard as part of “promising young Namibians”. Even though all of us failed to master the GMAT, that was required of us to take up that challenge, it was a gesture framed into eternity, or when he attempted while at Foreign Affairs before the night of the long knives. (Alfredo Hengari).
He guarded the dumping site of our past, letting others think it was his action. He did this, because sharing in the glow of our victory, should let us also share in the shame of having kept quiet.
Farewell HH, go home Lebeus, for no culture should allow a man to be a shadow of his old self. Only those who tried can be said to have made mistakes.
Requiescat in Pace
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