Tributes have poured in for former deputy director in the ministry of environment and tourism Sackey Namugongo, who died in a Windhoek private hospital early yesterday morning.
Dr Charles Mubita, a former New Era columnist who worked with Namugongo at the Voice of Namibia, a Swapo radio channel during the liberation struggle, says he was a political megaphone of the liberation movement.
Mubita, who was also a personal friend of Namugongo, said the deceased contributed a lot in mobilising the masses in Namibia and internationally.
“In terms of mobilisation, he really contributed a lot through the Voice of Namibia. He mobilised the masses here in Namibia and the international community to know about Swapo. He encouraged PLAN combatants who also listened to the radio that they shouldn’t give up the fight. All in all, Sacky was the megaphone, a political megaphone of Swapo,” a sad Mubita told New Era yesterday.
Namugongo, 66, died in the Roman Catholic Private Hospital in the presence of his family.
Mubita said he first met Namugongo at the end of 1977 in Lusaka. Mubita said he had left the PLAN battlefield to join the depleted Voice of Namibia after many people followed Andreas Shipanga during the 1976 rebellion.
Namugongo started off as a radio announcer/translator for Oshiwambo and then moved on to English and Afrikaans, said Mubita. Mubita added the deceased was later promoted from being an announcer to a supervisor of the Voice of Namibia Angola and Ethiopia.
Namugongo also doubled up as trainer for new intakes of radio presenters.
Mubita described Sacky as a hardworking person. “You need to realise that Voice of Namibia used to produce 30-minute programmes every day on all stations and 1h45-minute programmes over weekends. It was an everyday job and he was exemplary in that. He was a very good announcer.”
Former NBC director-general Gerry Munyama, who worked for a Swapo magazine called The Combatant in Lubango, described Namugongo as an effective communicator and a calm, collected and critical thinker.
Namugongo was based in Lusaka while Munyama was in Lubango during the pair’s work for Swapo media outlets.
“He was a man who through his voice really influenced many Namibians to cross and join the liberation struggle,” Munyama said.
“He had a powerful way such that when you listened to him on radio you’ll simply decide ‘I am going to join the liberation struggle’. It was the selection of his words, the music he played, especially the revolution songs, that penetrated the minds and hearts of the people to join the liberation struggle,” remarked Munyama.
Swapo Secretary-General Sophia Shaningwa, Namugongo’s neighbour in Rocky Crest, said she last saw Namugongo on Thursday last week when he paid her a visit at her office at the Swapo headquarters. He informed her about his ailing health, Shaningwa said.
Shaningwa said Namugongo, his wife and other neighbours initiated the Rocky Crest Swapo section office, which was established behind her house. Shaningwa told New Era she gave up her kindergarten to accommodate the Swapo section office.
She said it was in part due to Namugongo’s mobilisation that she went on to become the Windhoek West councillor, wresting the constituency from the opposition.
Shaningwa sent condolences to the family on behalf of the ruling party.
In 2010, Namugongo was sentenced to eight years in jail after he was convicted of corruption. After three years behind bars, he was released from jail in 2013 through a presidential pardon.
The late Sackey Namugongo