President Hage Geingob’s daughter, Dengos, talked to Toivo Ndjebela about the Head of State as a father figure who taught his children some of life’s toughest lessons. The President turns 75 today.
How would you describe President Geingob as a father?
He is definitely caring, but also taught us to be strong and independent. He wants us to learn about the world and guides us along the way. He’s a great teacher too and has taught me and all my siblings to do our own things.
When last did you talk to him?
Yesterday [Monday] night. I went to see him at his office. He texts a ‘good morning’ every morning and ‘good night’ before he sleeps. He also texts me every time before he travels.
What do you speak about when with him?
He is often glued to his TV when I’m with him. He follows news and sport very closely. Lately, if I’m with him we would be speaking about American politics ahead of the upcoming elections. Else, he would be talking about how his day was – and then I do the same.
What did he do for you on your last birthday?
I was in the USA for school and he gave me a call at midnight, Namibian time. He’s always the first to call on my birthday. I didn’t get a material gift, but he sang for me.
How many siblings do you have from your father?
Four: Hage, Nangula, Oshoveli and Mangaliso.
What is the greatest advice you ever got from your father?
So many. Being his daughter alone helps in this regard. He is very emphatic on respect and honesty. I once sneaked out of the house under false pretence and he was very upset about it. He said I needed to be honest, as per his perpetual teachings.
What is his approach to disciplining his kids?
It depends on the crime [laughs]. If it’s something trivial, he’ll get angry and yell at you – but after a minute or two, he’d calm down and forgive you. He’s a perfectionist and that’s why he could get angry at such things. He’s a bit short-tempered, but forgives quickly.
That’s one thing that many people don’t seem to know about my father. In serious transgressions, he would make his feelings known and demand an apology.
What do you plan for him on his 75th birthday?
There’s a lot going on, including soccer this weekend. We’ll spend quality time with him and have good food. Hopefully my stepmother [First Lady Monica Geingos] would have that [the meal] taken care of. I don’t know what to get him, but I want something different from what I gave him for Father’s Day.