By John Ekongo
Noted poet and Special Advisor to the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Peter Mvula ya Nangolo, has described the former Public Service Commission Chairman Joe Ithana as a kind, generous and likeable person who was very humorous and one who believed in the practice of self-discipline.
“He could crack jokes and was not a difficult person to know at all,” Ya Nangolo revealed.
Ya Nangolo and the late Ithana shared a long history dating back to the early years of school at the Rheinish Herero School in the Old Location in the early 1950s.
The former journalist stressed that he held the late Ithana in high esteem, and had regarded him as an elder brother for well over five decades that he had known Ithana.
“I have known Joe ever since the years of our primary schooling at the Rheinish Herero School in the Old Location. He was ahead of me, because of seniority, but he had known me ever since I became conscious,” said Ya Nangolo.
He relates that their bondage derives from the fact that the parents of the late and Ya Nangolo knew each other well.
During their school years at the Rheinish school, Ya Nangolo and others trusted Ithana with the responsibility of looking after the finances of their under-12 soccer club Try Again Football Club.
Their separation, albeit brief, came in 1959 when Ithana went on to continue his studies at the then go-vernment-funded Augustineum Training College at Okahandja. Soon after Ya Nangolo also travelled the same route.
Ithana went into exile in 1966 via Botswana together with another Swapo stalwart Ben Amathila. By this time Ya Nangolo had already settled in Lusaka, Zambia.
“The Namibian community stayed together in Lusaka, and we shared a house,” highlighted Ya Nangolo.
During the turbulent years of Namibia’s liberation war, Zambia served as a second home for displaced Namibians.
During his last days Ithana was in and out of hospital, and Ya Nangolo had regularly visited his friend to catch up on casual chat, Ya Nangolo said, adding that the late nonetheless remained positive throughout his hospitalisation.
“I would visit him in hospital and we would talk for hours and I must say that he was brave considering what he was going through.”
“To the bereaved family and madam Pendukeni Ithana, we must take note of the fact that life has always been like a song that we all mortal beings have to sing along. But no one knows how it would come to an end. We all have to mournfully accept that it was God’s wish fulfilled, for he brought him into this world and he took him out of this world,” concluded Ya Nangolo.