Namibia: Tributes Pour in for Late Journalist Ya Nangolo

TRIBUTES poured in for the late veteran journalist and poet, Mvula ya Nangolo (75), who died during the early hours of yesterday morning at his home in Tauben Glen in Windhoek.

He succumbed to complications brought on by a stroke he suffered in August last year, which had kept him in and out of hospital.

Information minister Stanley Simataa yesterday expressed condolences to Ya Nangolo's family, and said he was greatly saddened by his passing.

"We are saddened by his departure, although as Christians we know we all have to conclude our journey. We benefited so much from his wisdom, his counselling, and his contributions will never go unnoticed," said Simataa.

Clement Kloppers, an old friend of Ya Nangolo, said he met him at the Old Location, where Ya Nangolo owned a barbershop.

"My father would take us to this barbershop, and that is where we came to know him. That is before he left the country for exile. When he returned, he gave me one of his books on poetry. I still have it. I will always remember him as this kind and gentle person who never said anything bad about someone else," said Kloppers.

Retired newspaper editor Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro said he knew Ya Nangolo as a good person and a great writer.

He added that he knew the deceased from the time he worked for the Namibia Press Agency, as he would frequent the New Era office, where he would write his stories and poems.

Tangeni Amupadhi, editor of The Namibian, said many people will remember Ya Nangolo for his poetry and prose.

"For me, Mbuti Mvula instilled pedantic discipline to communicate clearly and concisely in written and spoken word. And that applies to any language, by the way, because the man was multi-lingual, and always immersed in the beauty of languages," he added.

Amupadhi said 'Mbuti Mvula' was his mentor in feature writing and long-form journalism, and he made him appreciate the exceptions to the famed journalistic inverted pyramid, "that any rule has an exception, but that it is important to first know, follow, respect and understand rules and structure if one intends to circumvent them. If anything, that is the legacy I would like to carry on for him and lovers of language".

Ya Nangolo, one of Namibia's first black journalists, was a published poet and documentary producer. He had also served as special adviser to the minister of information and communication technology.

Born at Oniimwandi on 9 August 1943, Ya Nangolo grew up at Lüderitz, and later Windhoek.

He joined Swapo at the age of 18, where he then moved to Germany on a journalism scholarship, and discovered his love for writing and poetry.

Ya Nangolo wrote poetry, including the collections 'From Exile' (1976) and 'Thoughts From Exile' (1991), and other works, including an account of the 1978 attack on Cassinga in Angola and massacre of hundreds of exiled Namibians, titled 'Kassinga: A Story Untold' (1995).

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