Late Simon Tives Mbako was a fearless freedom fighter and footballer, who plied his trade with the country’s oldest football club, Tigers, in the mid 60’s and early 70’s.
On December 15, 2015 the Namibian nation was robbed of a towering revolutionary leader. The news of Comrade Simon Tives Mbako’s death shocked and upset many Namibians, especially those who waged the struggle from inside the country.
As grassroots activists, I came into contact with Mbuti Tives, as he was affectionately known, when we worked together in the ‘Typhoon Unit’, a special unit designed to undertake complex covert operations deep in central Namibia.
It involved strategic military intelligence, in cooperation with the exiled leadership based in Botswana in the 1980s. He teamed up with the likes of departed Comrades Daniel Tjongarero, Aron Mushimba, Frans Kambangula, George Shinyala, as well as trusted cadres John Pescha, Elliot ‘Oom Paul’ Hiskia, Leonard Ipumbu (CEO of Agribank) and SWAPO’s chief rRepresentative to Botswana Comrade Charles Shihepo, today known as Ambassador Wilbard Shihepo, our man in Kinshasa.
During the anti-colonial struggle, cadres such as Mbuti Tives advocated the following;
Unity of purpose among different sections of the working class. Mbuti Tives mobilised resources that sustained churches, students and unions, such as NANSO, NUNW, etc. He also smuggled weapons to aid cadres inside the country.
Mbuti Tives was an internal mobiliser, who facilitated numerous seminars to keep our cadres up to speed with the ideology of the party. He was also loved and respected by young and old for his unblemished morality and simplicity.
He was a special type and his political maturity was sharper even than the spear that he carried. He had a deep respect for the Swapo Party, recognising that true freedom for Namibia would only be possible with a world outlook flavoured by socialism.
Without an iota of doubt, Mbuti Tives will forever remain one of the most distinguished revolutionaries of our struggle. Humanity owes him a debt of gratitude. The likes of Mbuti nd countless others fill the pages of our history, making us proud to be Namibians, and making Swapo proud of its history and traditions.
We are succeeding in transforming this country, because we have a good foundation and vision, developed by such gallant figures as Mbuti Tives. In order to appreciate the life and times of Mbuti Tives it is important that we consider the way he understood his own role and contributions in the liberation of our country.
As we celebrate his life and legacy, we must thank the late comrade most profoundly for the selfless service to all Namibians and humanity at large, for his generosity of spirit and for teaching the nation humility, respect for human dignity and compassion for the weak, the poor and the downtrodden.
We have a duty to take forward their vision, and ensure that our country becomes united and prosperous, and that we continuously make progress towards the better life we strive for each day.
When no child goes to bed without a meal, when all families have a roof over their heads, when our workers have decent jobs as per the war on poverty declared by our President Dr Hage Geingob – we will have honoured the memory and vision of our stalwarts such as Mbuti Tives.
When the Swapo Party government is able to ensure that no Namibian is left behind in the Namibian house, with more people having access to potable water and sanitation, electricity, affordable and accessible public transport, social security, quality education and healthcare, we will be truly honouring the memory of all that veterans such as Mbuti Tives stood for. I am grateful that I crossed paths with a cadre of his caliber and would, therefore, call upon on all Namibians to emulate his example of selflessness, sacrifice commitment and service to his people.
In the same breath, New Era Sport would also like to convey our condolences to the entire Tigers family for the sad loss of their unsung heroes, Mbuti Tives Mbako and Moses //Nuseb. The latter exited the game of the life at the same time as his former teammate Tives.
Bra Mokes, as Moses was known, will be remembered for his vicious lashing of a trophy with a traditional knobkierie after Tigers were eliminated in the semifinals of a knockout tourney.
The result left coastal giants Eleven Arrows and Namib Woestyn to contest the final at the old Katutura stadium. The irate Bra Mokes was certainly not impressed with the overall performance of the referee and resolved to take out his frustrations on the trophy.
May the soul of these true sons of the soil rest in eternal peace.