An Artillerist Who Turned Servant Of Walvis Bay

13 Mar 2016 15:40pm
By Paulus Shiku
WALVIS BAY, 13 MAR (NAMPA) - The atmosphere at the Walvis Bay Rural Constituency office is like that of a family home, where a father is busy with work assisted by the children for the benefit of the whole family.
The councillor is the father, the chief control officer the big brother, the administration officer, driver and cleaner to the other children.
When John Nangolo started as a councillor in 1998, his salary was just N.dollars 4 000 with no benefits. He operated from a small municipal office in Kuisebmund and in the year 2000 moved into a fancy office with air conditioning, computers and leather chairs.
The new office was officially opened in 2014, and it is here where Nangolo spends most of his time as Swapo Party councillor for Walvis Bay Rural Constituency.
He was elected into that role by the community with the sole purpose to establish housing, schools and develop the rural area of Utuseb, located some 40 kilometres south of Walvis Bay.
Together with the municipality, the constituency councillor helps to reduce overcrowding, which erupted in the Kuisebmund residential area, where thousands of people flock to daily in search for jobs in the fish factories at this harbour town.
But even with the establishment of the Tutaleni settlement in 2000, overcrowding persists as more people continue coming to Walvis Bay; this means the struggle for housing here is far from over.
“I dedicate myself to serve the people of Walvis and Namibia. This is what I have been doing since independence. If they want me to stay, I will continue but if they say go and rest or they give me another job I will accept,” says the 59-year old Nangolo as he narrates his story to Nampa.
He has been running the affairs of the constituency for the past 16 years.
His combat name is “Mudhigu GwaAngolo” which in English translates to “Nangolo’s tough son”.
Nangolo joined the liberation struggle in 1979 at the age of 21, trained as an artillerist at the Tobias Hainyeko Military Training Centre in Lubango, Angola, where he later worked as an instructor in artillery.
He served as a Swapo information and mobilisation officer and co-ordinator for Walvis Bay between 1990 and 2001.
Nangolo is currently a member of the National Council representing the Erongo Region.
He boasts that his performance, faithfulness and relationship with the community earned him their trust, which helped him beat opposition parties at the polls.
“Oppositions do not get more than 1 000 votes here. We have been showing them we are the bosses who are here to stay.”
In the 2015 Regional Council Election, Nangolo garnered a whopping 3 928, while 801 votes went to the DTA of Namibia’s Valencia Izaaks.
Nangolo says his secret is that he works closely with the community and is available for consultation anytime.
His comrade and partner in the fight for community development, Hafeni Ndemula, the Councillor for Walvis Urban Constituency, describes him as a leader dedicated to his work with an “ear to listen”.
“I learned dedication from him. His calmness, how he assesses situations, evaluates things and give his honest opinion are things to emulate,” said Ndemula, who has been leading his community for 15 years.
Nangolo’s achievements speak volumes.
He assisted in the establishment of Tutaleni with 300 erven in 2000. Each erf accommodated four houses. In 2006, a police station and primary school were established and in 2011, Tutaleni received another primary school.
In 2015, a secondary school was opened in Tutaleni and another primary school will be established by 2017, says Nangolo.
With a growing population, which currently stands at over 3 000, Tutaleni is now a victim of backyard shacks, a challenge Nangolo and the municipality continue facing.
At Utuseb, an agricultural office was opened for communal farmers of the Topnaar community in 2010, followed by a kindergarten in 2011.
Utuseb then received a multi-purpose youth centre in 2014.
Nangolo’s lesson to young and aspiring politicians and community leaders is: “Do what you love, be faithful, know what your followers want, how to assist and direct them”.
“I am not willing to retire at all, soldiers do not retire - we work and fight until our last breath. Even if I retire, my people will follow me to my farm for advice. I keep fit to ensure age does not catch up with me easily.”
Some of those who have been voting for him are pleased with his performance, but also urged him to do more.
In the heart of Tutaleni, Paulina Kauajo is selling ‘kapana’. She has good words about Nangolo: “He brought a lot of development since he started, so I can say he is a good leader”.
However, she is frustrated that for the past three years she is still searching for a house, but to no avail.
Her friend, Margreth Tjimani, sees a difference in terms of development in the constituency.
“A lot of houses have been built, even the Mass Housing Project is in his constituency. The roads are being tarred in Tutaleni; we are happy,” Tjimani responded to this agency.
She was, however, quick to say more people, including herself, still need houses.
Nestor Kashikuka has been voting for the councillor since 1993, but he feels the fruits of his votes are not yet here.
He asked the councillor to work extra hard to get land for him and those tired of squatting in people’s backyards.
“I am still living behind someone’s house. Tutaleni is overcrowded; we need to be moved to our own plots with electricity, so that we can also live better in an independent Namibia,” said Kashikuka.
Nangolo acknowledges that his people still need land and housing, and promised to continue lobbying Government and the private sector to meet their needs.