The Namibian (Windhoek)

20 December 2013

Namibia: Who and What Were the Newsmakers for 2013?

THE late world icon Nelson Mandela emerged as the top newsmaker for 2013 in a snap survey done by The Namibian to give the readers a chance to say their views on people who made the most headlines locally and internationally.

Most respondents cited the death of the icon, the memorial service in his honour and his funeral as the top news items while others added Swapo events to it.

SPYL Secretary Elijah Ngurare

1. Namibian news item of the year: Namibia's participation in the 18th World Festival of Youth and Students in Ecuador.

2. Namibian newsmaker of the year: The Swapo Party Youth League has generated debates amongst both leaders and ordinary citizens of Namibia throughout the year especially so in June 2013 when it seemed some quarters pinned their political careers on the expulsion of SPYL leadership. The part played by President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Ben Amadhila to prevent such eventuality should jointly be recorded as Namibian newsmaker of 2013. Camping in Okongo, Vaalgras and Epukiro while holding national SPYL leadership meetings too were notably newsmaking events of the year.

3. Top world news story of the year: Undoubtedly the death of the first black President of South Africa, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

4. World newsmaker: Firstly, Edward Joseph Snowden, a former CIA employee and a former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who leaked over 200 000 classified American government documents to the press. Eventually he obtained asylum in Russia, the manner in which President Putin handled the matter also made headlines.

Secondly, Namibia hosting two international environmental and tourism events.

McHenry Venaani

1. Namibian news item of the year: Discovering oil in Namibia

2. Namibian newsmaker of the year: Swapo, DTA congresses

3. Top world news story of the year: Edward Snowden leaking security documents of the US government.

4) World newsmaker: Death of Nelson Mandela

Nangolo Mbumba

1. Namibian news item of the year: The passing on of Abraham Iyambo; the fall of a meteorite near Onesi in Omusati Region and the launch of the amended Swapo Party constitution.

2. Namibian newsmaker of the year: President Hifikepunye Pohamba; Prime Minister Hage Geingob and Reverend Bishop Ernest //Gamxamub.

3. Top world news story of the year: The passing on of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

4. World newsmaker: Pope Francis; President Nelson Mandela

Hilda Basson-Namundjebo

1. Namibian news item of the Year: Swapo Party Women Council's recommendation that all women sleep on their stomachs for a month as a solution to the increasing scourge of gender based violence. I am grateful no woman got killed for following that piece of "advice".

2. Namibian newsmaker of the Year: Kenandei Tjivikua, Chief Executive Officer of the SSC for standing firm in the face of fierce opposition. He reminded the nation that governance is a verb. Knowledge Katti for getting all ministers to a press briefing at State House on the 'discovery' of oil, but not in commercial quantities.

3. Top world news: Ex NSA contractor Edward Snowden's disclosures that made international headlines and the ensuing diplomatic furore it caused.

4. World newsmaker of the Year: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Up until 4 December, Pope Francis would have seemed obvious for re-writing the rules of engagement at the Vatican. But then the 'colossus' of a man took his last breath.

Henny Seibeb

1. Namibian news item of the year: The 'if' apology that Swapo Party Politburo rejected from Masai-like dressed Elijah Ngurare, which nearly lead to his expulsion from the ruling Stalinist organisation. Ngurare was later forced at the Swapo extra-ordinary congress in Swakopmund June/July 2013 to reverse his 'half-baked' apology and swallow the blade humiliatingly.

2. Namibian newsmaker of the year: There was no newsmaker of the year in Namibia. It was a disappointing year for Namibia in terms of economics, business, culture, arts, heritage, sports. No innovation of new products and services.

3. Top world news of the year: The death of the great Pan-Africanist President Nelson Mandela.

4. World newsmaker: President Nelson Mandela

Rachel Coomer

1. Namibian news item of the year: The renewed discussion on whether maternity leave should be extended. Legal Assistance Centre hopes that it will be! A close second was the court ruling that ruled that corporal punishment may not be used in private schools.

2. Namibian newsmaker of the year: The LAC turning 25. We continued to make news all year, perhaps the most light-hearted being our contribution to the debate that girls can wear mini skirts.

3. Top world news of the year: The death of Nelson Mandela - a true human rights icon

4. World newsmaker: Female parliamentarians in Uganda - they make up 64% of the representation, something you don't often see. With the Namibian elections coming up in 2014 what will the female representation be?

Veronica De Klerk

1. Namibian news item of the year: The recent air crash of a Mozambican aircraft bound for Angola with 33 passengers and crew on board in a wooded area of Kavango, killing all passengers. This happens to be the second largest air crash in Namibia, in terms of lives lost since the 1968 Boeing air crash close to the Hosea Kutako International Airport outside Windhoek.

2. Namibian newsmaker of the year: Undoubtedly our own golden girl, Johanna Benson, who won gold at the Olympic Games for people living with disabilities for 2013. The unassuming Johanna caught Namibians by surprise when she scooped gold and in so doing, burst onto the Namibian scene and into the media. Her achievement also earned her the title of "Sportswoman of the Year for 2013". Government's response by way of motivational awards to Johanna, will certainly go a long way to improve the life of our national champion and her family.

3. Top world news story of the year: The deteriorating health over the past couple of months and the subsequent death of former President Nelson Mandela (my personal role model and hero), the greatest statesman of modern times, even shadowed the Arab Spring and gruesome atrocities of the Syrian Government against its own people. The story of President Mandela gripped the entire world, from shepherds to kings. The character traits which Madiba selflessly lived out, revealed the essence of the concept of forgiving and reconciliation. Madiba's example is a lasting monument to humanity and constitutes a story not yet completely comprehended.

4. World newsmaker: Any other newsmaker of international significance cannot compare to the formidable value for mankind of the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Newsmakers often do so for the wrong reasons and their actions are usually of ephemeral nature, compared to Madiba's life which left an unbelievable impact and lasting memory on the entire world.

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