Tears flow at Ya Toivo’s memorial service
By Melania Simeon
Hundreds of Namibians paid their last respects to national hero and liberation icon Herman Andiba Toivo Ya Toivo at a memorial service of at Independence Stadium today.
Ya Toivo was a Namibian independence leader whose struggle against apartheid South African rulers landed him in the notorious Robben Island prison in South Africa for 16 years, where his resoluteness earned him the admiration of former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Former Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula delivered the eulogy and took the mourners through Ya Toivo’s memory lane of him as a young boy, his activities during the liberation struggle and in post independent Namibia.
During his eulogy, Angula emphasised that that Ya Toivo was a man of freedom and justice and would therefore be remembered and celebrated for his love and loyalty for Namibia.
“His ideals should always lead generations and generations to come,” he said.
He further added that Ya Toivo was disappointed by the tribalism rising in the country, as he was always a man that fought against tribalism.
“Ya Toivo always stressed that ‘Namibians should know that tribalism won’t take us anywhere, and the nation should always remember that before we are Owambo, Herero, Nama or Kavango people, we are Namibians first’.”
The memorial service was attended by President Hage Geingob and former Presidents Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba, as well as Cabinet ministers, opposition party leaders, parliamentarians, and by the late icon’s fellow Robben island political prisoners he was jailed with.
Ya Toivo will be buried tomorrow at Heroes Acre in Windhoek.