Windhoek-Ida Jimmy, who is one of Namibia’s struggle veterans and heroines also joined thousands of mourners in paying tribute to the late Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, who died in Windhoek on Friday. He was 92.
She said it was with great sadness and pain that she learned about the passing of her fellow political prisoner and liberation icon, Ya Toivo, with whom she also served on the former Robben Island Prisoners Association.
Jimmy said Ya Toivo was like a father figure and inspiration to her and many others who spent “many seconds, minutes, hours, nights, days, months and years in captivity by the notorious apartheid regime”.
Further, she said, they all endured torture and many things done to an individual beyond imagination, and especially if one was a female.
She described Ya Toivo as a principled, straightforward talker and fighter for justice and equality.
Despite his stature as liberation icon and statesman, she said, he was a very humble servant and did not let his supreme contribution to the liberation struggle or his status make him a demigod.
“He lived a humble life, unbefitting of his great status – which is something most of us who endured the hardship of prison life have in common,” she remembered.
She urged the nation to continue to live the ideals of “this great son of Namibia”, whose concerns were corruption, self-enrichment of the few and self-glorification.
According to her, when they made their sacrifices, they always had at the back of their minds people’s interest first over self-enrichment.
“To our sister Vicky and the children as well as the entire bereaved family, please accept my sincere condolences and huge appreciation for the support you have given to Cde ya Toivo, during both the good and trying times in his life. May God console you during this difficult time.”
She said the Namibian nation and the Swapo Party had lost one of the founding fathers of the liberation struggle.
Moreover, she maintained, it was a tough journey and she quoted the words which Ya Toivo spoke during his trial in South Africa: ‘The struggle will be long and bitter.’
“But we persevered and through our collective sacrifices we liberated Namibia – therefore let us honour our heroes and heroines by putting Namibia first, Swapo ideals first and the interests of our poor masses first over tendencies of self-enrichment and self-glorification.
Let us wipe out tribal tendencies, which are aimed at threatening our hard won independence and have respect for our elders,” she encouraged.
She said she felt honoured to have known Ya Toivo and recalled how he propelled her to various positions when others had simply forgotten about their role as political prisoners in the liberation struggle.
She said she would forever cherish the lessons he taught her and his encouragement to fight for social justice for all people.
Further, she thanked Ya Toivo for his unwavering spirit and never surrender attitude until the end and saluted him immensely for his bravery and humility.
“Rest in eternal peace, my father and comrade. Aluta continua. Long live the spirit of Cde Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, long live,” she bid farewell.