By Minttu-Maaria Partanen
WINDHOEK – Martti Ahtisaari Primary School was established in 1991 after Namibia’s independence. Until 1997 the school was called Wanaheda Primary School, after four different tribes: Owambo, Nama, Herero and Damara.
In 1997, the Finnish teachers’ labour organisation OAJ wanted to honour Martti Ahtisaari on his 60th birthday, so the school in Katutura was named after him.
Martti Ahtisaari was the UN Special Representative to Namibia immediately prior to its independence.
The school has around 1 400 pupils and 43 teachers. Six languages are taught to first, second and third year learners – Afrikaans, English, German, Khoekhoegowab, Oshindonga and Otjiherero.
The school day is divided into two: the morning session is from 7h30 to 13h00 and the afternoon session from 12h30 to 16h30 or 17h00.
Martti Ahtisaari Primary School has a friendship school in Finland called Oulunsuu Primary School.
Ahtisaari is also a former President of Finland (1994-2000) and a United Nations diplomat and mediator, noted for his international peace work.
Following the death of UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson, on a Pan Am Flight 103 on December 21, 1988 – on the eve of the signing of the Namibian independence agreement at UN headquarters – Ahtisaari was sent to Namibia in April 1989 as the UN Special Representative to head the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG).