Uhuru-Spirit News


June 10, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo with former president Sam Nujoma. Photo: SWAPO PARTY ARCHIVE & RESEARCH CENTRE

Namibian President Hage Geingob on Friday night announced the passing of former freedom-fighter and Namibian independence hero Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo.

He died at the age of 93 in Windhoek on Friday, according to the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa).

Ya Toivo was an anti-apartheid activist, politician, a political prisoner who active in the pre-independence movement and one of the founders of the South West African People’s Organisation (Swapo) in 1960, as well as its predecessor the Ovamboland People’s Organisation (OPO) in 1959.

He served 16 years in Robben Island prison in South Africa, in the same section as Nelson Mandela.

After his release from Robben Island in 1984 Ya Toivo rejoined Swapo in exile in Lusaka, Zambia.

He returned to Namibia in 1989 and served as a Member of Parliament and cabinet minister. He retired from active politics in 2006.

Mourning the passing of Ya Toivo, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has hailed him as a man of strong beliefs and convictions who dedicated his life to the fight against oppression and had rejected apartheid South Africa’s reduction of sovereign Namibia into its colony.

“A Pan Africanist and progressive internationalist, Cde Toivo was a vocal and ardent supporter of the oppressed peoples of the world, leading from the front in, amongst others, the mobilization and call for the release of Africa’s friends - some of whom fought in the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale for Southern Africa’s liberation - the Cuban Five Heroes from American jails,” the ANC said in a statement signed by its national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

“He was also militant workerist who advocated for the rights of African and black mine workers in South Africa and Namibia and was banished from South Africa for smuggling taped testimonies to the United Nations (UN) about the harsh experiences of Black mine workers. Following his release from Robben Island in 1984, Cde Toivo committed himself to the building of a democratic Namibia serving as Secretary General of SWAPO and in various portfolios in Government.

“South Africa has lost a true friend in Comrade Toivo ya Toivo and we send our deepest condolences to our fraternal organization, SWAPO, the people of Namibia and Comrade ya Toivo’s family on his passing. Comrade Toivo has left an indelible mark in the history of our region and the continent. Ours is to emulate his life’s work and continue to fight for the realization of his vision of freedom for oppressed peoples of the world and of a continent at peace with itself,” added the statement.

Details of his burial arrangements will soon be released by the Namibian government.

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