A Historical Figure is No More

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By Mvula ya Nangolo WINDHOEK Wednesday morning robbed this 16-year-old nation of one of its finest souls, namely as it is already publicised here and abroad, the first Speaker of the Constituent Assembly. MosÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© Penaani Tjitendero died at a private hospital in Windhoek. He leaves behind his lovely, friendly wife Sandra (Sandy) and their two children Kerii and Tjireja – both born in exile, and he is also being mourned by the entire nation plus of course several hundred members of the clans, in Africa and the United States of America. The 62-year-old fellow veteran of Namibia’s political, diplomatic and armed national liberation struggle would be remembered by thousands of people in the country who, for the first time probably heard his voice over the External Service of Radio Tanzania, Dar es Salaam beamed to Southern Africa on a daily basis then – prior to this country’s independence. He was part of the team that included Simon “Jambo” Iyambo, Philemon Nangolo Ndeutapo, Alphonse Ngeama, “Uncle Claude” Ngavezepe Kandjou, many others including “Peter” Mvula ya Nangolo as Station Supervisor of the Voice of Namibia, commentator and a continuity announcer. What I am trying to paint here with the stroke of a few brushes is to record what should be obvious by now – that we were pioneers in as far as broadcasting in local languages was concerned. We were compiling news bulletins in Otjiherero, Oshiwambo, Afrikaans and other Namibian languages followed this many years later. Tjitendero and our team made history. We often had linguistic crises! Tjitendero was not on duty that night and I had to compile the Otjiherero news bulletin. Everything went well for a while and then it occurred in the item from the now defunct German Democratic Republic – “the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons…” However, I did get my way as always. You are certainly eager to know the Ojtiherero version, what it is called. Sorry, I have to disappoint you, I am keeping it for the 1st Edition of the English/Otjiherero Concise Dictionary as long as the professor in charge does not attempt to steal the manuscript and computer. That would certainly harm and slow down the development of all languages including not only that – one of the very rich and expressive languages we have in this part of the globe. Mose Penaani Tjitendero, his wife Sandy and my common law wife, the late Beryl McGovern, the mother of Puleni, would sit for hours discussing this and the other item. There were then those golden moments when we came back to the issue that led to our exile at very young ages – we were both born in 1943 – I came first in August and he was born during the third part of December 1943 – we are war babies no wonder! While he was sipping his usual drink one night in exile (Zambia), we agreed that our nation had to go to war, it was inevitable. We both looked back in anger at times in frustration to those arm-chair revolutionaries and political pedestrians of all shades, shapes and sizes whose daily or regular concentration was based on finding faults here an there – we all did perform in accordance with what is humanely possible. On the protracted armed national liberation struggle started on August 26, 1966 by the military wing of Swapo, I am sure he kept his faith that brutal colonial force cannot be used to reduce to abject obedience those who were born and learned, like us, to walk in this world with our heads high – and Comrade Mose Tjitendero, we even held our heads higher till death separated us, till death parted you from your dear wife and children. R.I.P.