3 December 2012

Namibia: The Leo's Are Ruling


THREE people born under the Leo Zodiac sign were elected at the just ended congress of the Swapo Party and the majority of the delegates did not realise what an era they have just ushered in, particularly the fact that the three men at the top were all born during the month of August.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who retained the Swapo Party presidency position, vice-president Dr Hage Geingob, and secretary general of the Party Nangolo Mbumba were all born in August.

Let us shift the spotlight mainly on Gottfried Hage Geingob whom I have come to know since 1958 and as the gods must have arranged it, we met soon after for a longer period in 1959 as classmates at the Augustineum Government Training College at Okahandja.

I was drawing faces, sketches of well-known personalities locally and overseas. At that particular time, during the first quarter of 1959 I decided to concentrate on Gottfried, for reasons best known to myself.

I finished the portrait and a student from Tsumeb passed by and was keen to know what I had just drawn. He looked at my piece of art and exclaimed that it is Gottfried's image, and of course I had also written his name below. Within minutes the man from the north was in our room that I shared with three Buchters and he was roaring like an angry Leo.

What the informer did not know, is that I had a feeling of oncoming danger and I had erased the name below the portrait. Hovering angrily above me, he studied the piece while I was checking his facial expression and said if he hears that I have drawn his face again, I will see, he warned me.

He left the country before me and I followed in 1963 when I encountered him in Francistown, Botswana where I had a brief meeting with him, Professor Mburumba Kerina and the late Maxton Joseph Mutongolumwe. The meeting was brief and dealt mainly with the then prevailing political situation at home.

We met several times in exile but the most interesting encounter was in 1976 at the now defunct United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) in his capacity as the director of the centre. I knocked at his door, and a voice from within roared that I could go in. I asked him for a passport-size photograph for use in Namibia Today to accompany a feature story on UNIN.

I took the photograph and asked Gottfried whether he remembers an encounter in 1959 when he nearly mauled me. He smiled and said you never forget things. Let bygones be bygones. I told him that his passport-size photo now represents the portrait.

President Pohamba was born on 18 August, Geingob on 03 August and Mbumba on 15 August. I do not think that it is a mere coincidence but destiny dictates here. By the way all these three are northerners.

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