22 Jun 2017 09:40am
KEETMANSHOOP, 22 JUN (NAMPA) - As a youth of the 70s, //Kharas Governor Lucia Basson was so inspired by Namibian liberation icon, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, that she named her late son after him.
In 1978, she wrote a letter to Ya Toivo, who at the time was incarcerated at the Robben Island prison of the apartheid regime in South Africa, where he served 16 years for alleged terrorist activities.
âI wrote him a letter and asked for his permission to name my son after him. After a bit of time because of the situation then, he wrote back and gave me his blessing,â Basson relayed in a tribute to the late struggle icon during a public memorial service in Keetmanshoop on Tuesday.
Basson said she was greatly touched by his famous words confronting the colonial powers in a Supreme Court in South Africa after his sentencing, challenging their authority over Namibia reiterating the peopleâs determination to fight for freedom.
After his release from prison in 1984, Ya Toivo visited a number of southern towns and villages including Keetmanshoop, Khoichas and Gibeon.
It was during a welcoming party at Gibeon that Basson and her six-year-old Toivo met the Namibian hero.
âMy boy met him that day and we took photos together,â Basson said, adding Ya Toivo was loved by southerners and he loved them back.
Basson said it also came to light years ago that Ya Toivo was one of the key Swapo Party stalwarts who insisted that the name of the Owambo Peopleâs Organisation (OPO) should be changed to the South West Africa Peopleâs Organisation (SWAPO).
âThis is how he was; he wanted to include all Namibians,â she said.
Also speaking at the memorial, Veteran Ben Boois said Ya Toivo was a man of the people whose key role was to decolonise the minds of freedom fighters during the struggle.
âHe told us to not fear the colonial forces. He said they were human beings just like us,â Boois, said adding Namibians are now duty-bound to honour the dream of heroes like Ya Toivo, for Namibians to âmake it and not break and to be truly unified.â
Former Robben Island inmate, Willem Biwa and Ambassador Eddie Amukongo described Ya Toivo as a peacemaker and political trailblazer respectively.
Deputy Minister in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, Maureen Hinda said Ya Toivo was a true nationalist who belonged to all Namibians.
Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa said he was a legend.
âHe is remembered as a brave, selfless and dignified human being; a rare breed in the political arena.â