Windhoek-The long-serving former principal of Mandume Primary School, the late ‘Mitiri’ Juuso Panduleni Katangolo who died on Monday evening, was described as a loving disciplinarian who made a lasting impact on the education fraternity and his community.
Katangolo died at the age of 79 at Windhoek hospital. He served as principal of Mandume Primary School in Katutura from 1969 to 1992. He was born on March 10, 1937 at Iihongo in Onyaanya Constituency.
“A lot of people who attended Mandume Primary School are prominent leaders today. These are the likes of David Nuyoma who is the chief executive officer of GIPF, and many more,” said Dr Raimo Naanda, the deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation.
Katangolo, whom the community affectionately referred to as ‘Mitiri’ (meaning teacher), was known for being a jack of all trades and a doer.
“He played every role in the community, whether it was his or not. If a pastor was needed at a function, he would take on the role of pastor and if an inspector was needed he would also perfectly play that role,” Linda Shivute told New Era.
Shivute, who was a learner of the late Katangolo, is now a teacher at the same school. She added that Katangolo strived to teach good morals to learners and did so firmly.
“He would sing to learners at every school assembly and he composed his own songs.
Every week he taught a new song. I just hope that those songs are kept somewhere. Retired or not he was always dressed in his suit,” Shivute added.
Katangolo was also known as ‘Kandishi KwiiPemba’ (Oshiwambo for: ‘I don’t know how to clean my nose’) nicknamed after a song he composed urging learners to clean their noses, explained Naanda and Shivute.
He used to inspect whether learners cleaned their noses and would make those with dirty noses an example in front of others. The message was ‘be tidy at all times’.
Katangolo attended Augustineum College in Okahandja alongside prominent leaders such as President Hage Geingob, the late Hidipo Hamutenya, former foreign affairs minister and Speaker of the National Assembly Theo-Ben Gurirab, and former DTA president Katuutire Kaura.
In 1956, he worked for the former South West Africa Native Labour Association in Grootfontein.
“He started his professional teaching career in 1967 at St Barnabas Missionary School in the then Old Location. There he taught with the late John ya Otto, Jason Mutumbulwa, Joseph Ithana, Theofelus Katjimune and many others. With the forceful removal of people from the Windhoek Old Location to the now Katutura, he was transferred to Bethold Himumuine Primary School in Katutura,” said Andreas Katangolo, the son of the late Katangolo.
“As a talented singer he was also particularly known for a popular song that he composed and sang titled ‘Jehova omusita gwandje muka’ (The Lord is my shepherd here),” said Andreas.
“He emphasised that children should be clean and he never condoned late-coming. We have really lost an icon in our community. He contributed greatly to nation building,” Naanda said.
Mitiri Katangolo, who was a father to seven children, is survived by his wife Ester and four children.
Katangolo’s memorial service will be held on Friday (February 3) at the Macedonia parish in Katutura and he will be buried on Saturday at the Old Location cemetery (Hochland Park).