Keetmanshoop-Friends, family and ruling Swapo Party comrades will gather at Keetmanshoop today to pay their last respects to Namibian liberation icon Andimba Toivo ya Toivo.
The memorial service is expected to attract huge crowds from all over the region, with many wanting to be part of the service celebrating the life of the former Robben Island prisoner.
//Kharas regional governor Lucia Basson said the memorial service is of great importance, not only to the people of Keetmanshoop and //Kharas but Namibia at large.
She said history informs us that Ya Toivo was deported from Cape Town, South Africa to Keetmanshoop after he sent a petition to the United Nations in December 1958, and thus it is significant that the people of Keetmanshoop and the region at large pay their last respects.
“It is very important for us to celebrate his life and legacy – his footsteps were here during the struggle and I know it was for a purpose, so it is significant that we hold this memorial service to honour him,” she said.
Basson added that the service is not only for //Kharas but for all Namibians who wish to celebrate the life of Ya Toivo, and she thanked the family for accepting that a memorial service in honour of Ya Toivo be held at Keetmanshoop.
Swapo //Kharas regional coordinator Matheus Mumbala also stressed the significance of the service, saying it means a lot for the people, especially those who were in jail with Ya Toivo on Robben Island who will not be able to travel to attend his funeral in Windhoek this Saturday.“Those who will not be able to go to the funeral will be able to celebrate his life here – so his old friends will be able to pay their tributes and last respects to him,” he stated.
Mumbala said Ya Toivo was a selfless man who fought to liberate Namibians from oppression, and Namibians should take a good example from his life, not to fight for personal gain but for the good of the country.
He also cautioned Namibians, especially the youth, that if Namibia is to be free and independent, discipline and unity would be required.
“We should learn from a man of his calibre and young people should be disciplined if we want to keep our freedom and peace,” he said.
The late Ya Toivo’s wife, Vicky ya Toivo, is expected to attend the service, with the Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, Katrina Hanse Himarwa, expected to deliver a message from the government of Namibia.
The memorial service will be held at Suiderlig High School hall