5 February 2013

Namibia: Nation Mourns Iyambo

Windhoek — Mourners from all corners of the country continue sending condolence messages in the aftermath of the sudden and untimely death of the Minister of Education Dr Abraham Iyambo who died on Saturday in the United Kingdom.

Namibians from all walks of life have received the news about Iyambo's tragic and unexpected demise with great shock and sadness. Iyambo (52) died on his birthday on February 2 in London in his hotel room where he was staying while on official government business. On Sunday President Hifikepunye Pohamba opened a book of condolences at the late Dr Iyambo's residence in the Hochland Park suburb of Windhoek.

When New Era visited the late minister's house yesterday, grief-stricken relatives, close friends, Cabinet ministers among them the Minister of Labour and Social Services, Doreen Sioka, as well as the Swapo Youth League wing streamed into the late minister's home to convey their condolences.

One by one the mourners, touched by the sudden death, signed the book of condolences. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Andrew Ndishishi, who is the late Iyambo's brother-in-law spoke on behalf of the bereaved family. Ndishishi's late wife Cecilia, who was Iyambo's sister, predeceased the minister on February 6 last year.

Ndishishi told New Era that arrangements to repatriate the body of the late Iyambo are in progress. He said once all the procedures, including the post-mortem are finalised in London, only then can the body be brought home. Yesterday relatives only confirmed that Iyambo died in his hotel room, but could not tell the exact cause of his death.

Meanwhile, the Namibia Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (NANGOF)'s chairperson Henry Platt yesterday sent a heart-felt message to the family, and President Hifikepunye Pohamba and the Cabinet.

"D. Iyambo has been one of our strongest and most dedicated allies in the pursuit of free and accessible quality education for all. We will forever remember and value his insistence on open and unfettered access for civil society representatives to the 2011 Education Conference. The subsequent embrace of recommendations from civil society was to us a very clear indication of his commitment to contribute to solving Namibia's problems by improving the plight of all young people," said the NANGOF chairperson.

"Although it is little consolation at this sad time, we know that with his passing we celebrate the end of a very productive life. Strongly supported by the outpouring of sympathy over his loss, we may proudly and confidently say that his, indeed, was a life well-lived," Platt further said.

Messages of condolence also streamed in from abroad, including one from Namibia's honorary consul in Turkey. "On my own behalf I express sympathies and convey a message of condolence to His Excellency Dr Hifikepunye Pohamba, the Cabinet and the entire Iyambo family on the home going of the Minister of Education, the late Dr Abraham Iyambo," said Hatem Yavuz, Namibia's honorary consul in Turkey in his condolence message.

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