WINDHOEK – Dr Libertina Amathila - the former minister of health and social services, who also served as deputy prime minister before she retired – launched her memoir: ‘Making a Difference’ at a local hotel.
The recipient of ‘the Most Excellent Order of the Eagle - First Class’ ten years ago, Amathila launched a book that follows her journey from Fransfontein through her medical studies in Poland; work with Namibian refugees in exile and her 20 years as a Cabinet minister since independence up to 2010.
Amathila was affectionately known as ‘Meme Doctor’ in the Swapo refugee settlements in Zambia and Angola due to her charismatic efforts to heal and mother literally thousands of Namibian refugees.
Her invaluable exploits of organising, designing and building clinics, conducting public health campaigns, travelling to the Eastern Front in Zambia to attend to wounded PLAN fighters, drove various speakers to grace the floor to confirm their own experiences of her efficacy and to laud her achievements.
“Libertina Amathila belongs in the hall of fame for achievers and benefactors of people in need. It’s a matter of inherent conscience and trustworthiness that trigger off such high sense of duty towards fellow human beings only as a well-meant gesture of benevolence,” keynote speaker and Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab said.
As the deputy prime minister, she became involved in work with the San people and the Ovatue in the Kunene Region, travelling to remote areas in a bid to oversee the establishment of new villages, schools and clinics to provide services for those marginalised communities.
The story of her life is encapsulated in the book, which is priced at N$220.
André du Pisani, from the University of Namibia’s Department of Political and Administrative Studies, describes the book as “an accessible narrative, full of life, full of love, full of humour, vibrant and uncompromising, searingly honest and deeply moving in parts.”
Martha Akawa, Head of the University of Namibia’s Department of Geography, History and Environmental Studies, lauds the book as: “Inspiring, just like the author herself, who gets passionate and enthusiastic with every project and responsibility she is given … a major contribution to the body of literature on the contribution of women towards the liberation struggle in Namibia and the region.”
“Failure is not in my vocabulary … I wanted to share my story with young women from Namibia, who want to do something but who may think that it is difficult or that it is only for boys or that it will take long. I wanted to encourage them and tell them that all it needs is focus, determination, courage and discipline and then go for it,” Amathila said of her life.