5 August 2004

Namibia: Shaanika Nashilongo School Turns 57

Okahao — ONE of the former missio-nary schools Shaanika Nashi-longo Senior Secondary, previously known as Ongan-djera Senior Secondary School, celebrated its 57th anniversary over the week-end.

Founded in 1947 by the Finnish Mission Society, the school has produced many professionals who now are serving in the public and private sectors.

The school's principal Helena Iipinge and her management team organised a fundraising event over the weekend that brought the school's former principals, teachers, learners and workers together, as part of the anniversary celebrations.

Matti Asino, a former learner and currently an employee in the Office of the Attorney-General, said the school "is reflecting on many good things and, at the same time, on many factors that have become historical facts of the school. It started as a girls only school but later on expanded to include male sections of our population."

He said that the aim of the event was to create an opportunity for former and present students to get together to create a bond and link with the school.

"Thus, the main intent of this event was to allow all of you to meet and to mingle with one another, to visit places that were familiar to you, to see changes that have been made, and to return to your past." he said.

The establishment of this school five decades ago saw tremendous changes in the lives and upbringing of the Ongandjera community and other people from all over the country as a result of the Finnish largesse.

"We must all rejoice and praise this school for its perseverance in ensuring that education persists despite hard times. In the past when the going got tough teachers were determined to educate learners come what may. I remember dedicated and able former teachers such as Kuku Anna-Lisa Sorsa, the founder principal, Kuku Ulla Nenonen, her successor and successive principals and teachers, Epafras Uushona, Kuku Liina Mpanda to mention just a few, taught many learners from all corners of this country. Dedicated and energetic workers such as Kuku Laimi Ntsilu, Tatekulu Niilo Amukwaya, late Tatekulu Topetapeta and many others made sure that they maintained the school from dormitories, classrooms, kitchen to the entire school environment," he said.

Those familiar with Shaanika Nashilongo Senior Secondary School would know that the school has been blessed with two surrounding wells that have been supplying water to it since its inception.

King Shaanika Nashilongo, who is named after the school, had his palace located near the school where one of the teachers, the late Tatekulu Wilhelm Amu-tenya, built his residence.

Tatekulu Amutenya, af-fectionately known as Eshwa-lali Etokototo Matshambu, was a teacher and mentor to President Sam Nujoma, Asino said.

The challenge for those working and schooling at the Shaanika Nashilongo Senior Secondary School is to make it even greater.

"Yours is to retain the things we hold dear and that are important to our identity, and yet still move on to new and greater heights. Not through vanity or ego or arrogance or self-importance but for the simple reason we owe it to the generations of children and learners still to be educated at the Shaanika Nashilongo Senior Secondary School," he said.

"Let us still have a school where learning comes first," he added.

He appealed to those in attendance to write the history of the Ongandjera Kingdom - its people and the development that came - for posterity.

Asino also spoke about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and appealed to the youth to continue to contribute to development while the school should be committed to excellence and success.

More than 600 former learners, teachers, workers and invited guests attended the occasion.

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