Freedom fighter, Sam Nujoma's mother, dies

Publié le par hort

http://www.newera. com.na/article. php?articleid= 1052

Mother of Founding Father Dies
27 November 2008

WINDHOEK - A remarkable and worthwhile life comes to an end, but will always be remembered …Meekulu Mpingana-Helvi Kondombolo, mother of founding president Dr Sam Nujoma, yesterday died at the age of 110.
She died twenty minutes past midnight at the Ongwediva Medi-Park Hospital. Memorial services and funeral arrangements will be announced in due course, the Nujoma fa-mily said through the Sam Nujoma Foundation.

She lived her last years at Etunda village, where her first born, Sam Nujoma, and her other 10 children were born.
Meekulu Kondombolo was, for the role she played in the life of Nujoma and that of her other children and grandchildren, referred to as an unquenchable source of inspiration to many during the dark days of Namibia’s liberation struggle.

Small in stature, Kondombolo had a great sense of humour and a sharp sense of observation. Kondombolo was born at Oshuunga village during the time when King Negumbo Iya Kandenge was the king of the Uukwambi tribe. Many of her children had died before her. Her second child, a girl named Maria, died as a young child.
Later, Kondombolo would lose five of her children: among them her youngest son, Elia (Kanjika) who received military training in Zambia and died as a member of SWAPO’s military wing, PLAN, on the north-eastern front in January 1976. Her husband, Daniel Uutoni Nujoma, died in 1978.

When her eldest child went into exile to advance Namibia’s struggle for independence, Kondombolo remained concerned as a mother. “It felt like my son had left me,” she said in an interview with Estelle de Bruyn in May 2002.
“After his departure, there were many problems. I was insulted by people who thought it was wrong of him to have left the country. They treated me badly and our family suffered.”

She recalled how the family received news of her son’s involvement in exile. “But usually, we were told that nobody survived in exile; that there was famine and that all were dead. I never thought that my child would return. It is only God who knows whether people will come back or not,” Kondombolo said. But her son did return. He returned to Namibia as the president of SWAPO since the inception of the party, and he served his country as its first President, after which he was honoured as the Father of the Nation.

When Nujoma returned in 1989, mother and son reunited after nearly 30 years of separation.
Her lessons in life bestowed onto Nujoma remained an indelible part of the leader’s life. Kondombolo was known as a strict disciplinarian who would threaten her son with the traditional belt (the onjemba). On occasion, this threat was for loud singing, a practice considered to be traditional taboo.Sometimes Nujoma would incur the wrath of his mother’s anger for merely using the word ‘white’, for she thought it would cause her son trouble.

Nujoma is said to have often sung: “I am going to make a problem for the whites” as a youngster. In those days, such utterances were considered militant, bordering on the subversive in the eyes of the powers that were.
It was meant to agitate young boys to be prepared to hit back and act in self-defence against recruitment into the contract labour system.

Kondombolo would silence her son with a “Owa halo oku tu etela oombudhi?”
(meaning: ‘Do you want to create problems for us?”) Her fear of the wrath of white rule in the country would later turn into a brave stance she would hold up with a realisation that white rule could be defeated.

The unsuspecting Kondombolo could not have fathomed, where her son’s mission would lead him when he left for exile.
Back home during the Apartheid years, many South African soldiers and black spies would visit Kondombolo’s house. These visits toughened her against the abuses and intimidation by the occupying authorities. It is reported that she would scoff at their attempts to get her to convince her son to return from exile under a South African brokered ‘amnesty’.

Sam Nujoma’s involvement in the liberation struggle, and his key position in Namibian political and social life, would alter the family’s destiny, but Kondombolo remained rooted in the things that are dear to her. She would keep her perspective as a mother. In an interview, she once said when asked how it feels to be the mother of the president: “Why should I be proud? I am just a normal person; I am just a mother.”

Her religious conviction also remained firm. She would say of her son, Sam Nujoma: “I did not teach my son anything special. God alone did everything and He knows what goes on in the hearts of people.”

Publié dans contemporary africa

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