Swapo elders hail Mzee as a man of principles

02 Sep 2014 20:10pm
WINDHOEK, 02 AUG (NAMPA) – It will be a major challenge to measure the greatness of the late Simon Hafeni “Mzee” Kaukungwa, the Secretary of the Swapo-Party Elders’ Council (SPEC), Mukwaita Shanyengana says.
He made the statement on Tuesday following the death of Kaukungwa on Monday in the Ongwediva Medipark Private Hospital at the age of 95.
The veteran Swapo founder and Namibian liberation struggle icon fell ill some two weeks ago, and was admitted to that hospital shortly afterwards.
Shanyengana told Nampa on Tuesday that Kaukungwa will forever be remembered as the first SPEC Secretary and the best mobiliser for Swapo at its creation, particularly in the north.
“He was the one who advocated and made people understand what Swapo stood for as a party,” he said, adding that Kaukungwa gave his life to the struggle, “sweeping away the machinery of oppression and exploitation”.
Shanyengana noted that many Namibians will remember him as a man who gave sound advice, a ‘man of the people’, and indeed a man of honour, whose standing in the liberation struggle was that of self-sacrifice and devotion.
Swapo veteran Kanana Hishoono said he first heard of Kaukungwa in 1958 while he (Hishoono) was in South Africa (SA).
He heard that Kaukungwa was one of the founding members of the Owambo Peoples’ Organisation (OPO), and on his return from SA in 1960, met Kaukungwa in person during the formation of Swapo.
“Kaukungwa then became the chairman of the northern region with Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo as his secretary, and Eliaser Tuhadeleni, known during the struggle as Kaxumba Kandola, as the treasurer,” he narrated.
Hishoono said Kaukungwa then left the country for Tanganyika, now Tanzania, to actively participate in Namibia's liberation struggle from the yoke of Apartheid colonialism in 1964.
“Kaukungwa was an intellectual, a pioneer and a man of principles,” he said.
Kaukungwa was born on 06 October 1919 at Ohalushu in Ohangwena Region.
He reportedly attended primary school at Ohalushu Finnish Missionary School in the Ohangwena Region from 1923 until 1938.
The following year (1939), he continued with his education at the Ongwediva Teachers’ Training College, where he studied carpentry.
While in exile in 1965, he became one of the first Namibians to receive military training in China.
Upon completing his training in China, Kaukungwa became the first Political Commissar for Swapo's military wing, then known as the South West Africa Liberation Army (SWALA).
He served Swapo both in exile and after independence in various capacities as a senior leader of the Swapo party and the Namibian Government.
Kaukungwa also served as Swapo secretary for finance, director-general for all Swapo settlements in exile and after independence, and became coordinator of the Omusati Regional Election College.
The Swapo stalwart was also a member of the party's Central Committee (CC) and advisor to the Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration until his retirement in 2010.
Kaukungwa is survived by his wife Johanna Kaukungwa, four children, close to 30 grandchildren and seven siblings.
Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.