Airport will get Ya Toivo statue

21 August 2019 | Transport

A statue of the late anti-apartheid stalwart Herman Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo will be erected at the airport in Ondangwa at a later stage.

In the meantime, the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) will go ahead with the renaming of the Ondangwa airport to coincide with Ya Toivo's birthday on 22 August.

This was said by NAC chief executive Bisey /Uirab in response to a complaint by Ya Toivo's nephew, Shali Kamati, that the government had gone back on an agreement with the family to erect a statue at the airport.

According to Kamati, the family was invited to a meeting with the NAC in June to discuss the renaming of the airport in honour of Ya Toivo.

He said the family requested that a statue of the late politician be erected at the airport. They also wanted an information corner where visitors can learn about Ya Toivo's life and achievements.

Kamati said they were informed that the renaming would take place on 22 August, but there would be no statue. The information corner would be replaced by an electronic display, which would also not be ready in time for the inauguration.

“To set the record straight, the public should be informed that NAC is honoured to have come this far with preparations for the renaming of the Ondangwa Airport as per the cabinet directive of 2018 and that the Ya Toivo family, represented by Madam Vicki Ya Toivo, have been engaged ever since,” /Uirab responded.

“To say that the statue will not be erected is devoid of any truth and as the family through Madam Ya Toivo were informed, the renaming will go ahead to coincide with the late Ya Toivo's birthday on 22 August, while we finalise the proper sculpting of the statue to be unveiled at an appropriate time.

“We wish not to dilute this momentous honouring of an outstanding liberation struggle icon by raising issues that could potentially distract advanced preparations.

“I urge that all relevant causes for concern be raised with NAC through the appropriate communication channels, as so to protect the integrity of this significant event scheduled for Thursday, 22 August 2019 at the soon-to-be renamed Ondangwa Airport,” said /Uirab.

ILENI NANDJATO

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