Letter from Eheke
28 September 2018 | Columns
I have been here many times before. I was here for political campaigns, weddings etc. Some years ago, I was also here with late Cde John Pandeni when he officially inaugurated the constituency office. This is Eheke, a vibrant settlement about 15 kilometres south of Ondangwa Airport. According to history, the area was founded by cattle herders in the 1920s because it had a pond. Thereafter, the Owambo-Kavango Evangelical Lutheran Church founded a church under a tree near the pond in what is today Eheke village. Eheke is in Oshana Region under the leadership of a true asset in the arsenal of Swapo, the former Plan Combatant Samuel Nelongo as regional coordinator and another freedom fighter Comrade Clemens Kashuupulwa as governor.
I woke up early Sunday morning from Kavango and the destination was Eheke. It was especially to honour the invitation from Comrade Paulus Ilonga Kapia and Commissar Andreas Amundjindi, Councillor of Uukwiyu-Uushona Constituency. It was to attend the fundraising church service at Shikongo shIindombo Synagogue at Onkulumbala ya Nelundu, Ehafo lya Nelundu Village, Eheke Parish. I arrived shortly when the service got underway. I was ushered to sit next to my contemporaries like Comrades Tommy Nambahu, Comrade Mandume Pohamba, Comrade Nehemia Hudeiko Haufiku, Comrade Armas Amukwiyu, Comrade Nuunyango, Former Plan Combatant Comrade Shiiti Shoombe, Comrade Merjiam Shitula, Comrade Selma Nambago and many more.
The church service was electrifying even though conducted in makeshift tents. The Pastors Rev Josef Shikuma and Rev Eino Ekandjo are thoroughly schooled in theology and society. They preached the message of hope and they preached the message of nationalism, social justice and fairness. I was happy to hear a sermon of that nature and certainly even the angels above must have been in jubilant mood. I was happy to see Tatekulu Salatiel Ismael there, last time I saw him was in the early 1990s in Arandis.
One by one they came to pledge their support and record their contribution. The elders came with Iimbale from far and near. Some brought Oshikwiila and some brought goats, cattle while others pledged money, cement, corrugated irons etc. It was community solidarity in practice. The largest contribution was from the youthful regional coordinator of Oshikoto Region Comrade Armas Amukwiyu who donated severally including 50 bags of cement, 50 corrugated irons and more items. In the end, over N$100 000 was raised for the House of the Lord.
There was no secret that the event demonstrated nostalgia of what Swapo was supposed to be and has been in years gone by.
The speech of Comrade Tommy Nambahu fell like mana from heaven. He spoke like a political pastor and like a reverend to the hungry congregants. There were intermittent voices murmuring “osho oshili” as he spoke and as he sowed words of undeniable facts. Comrade Nambahu enthused what it means to be a real “comrade” and gave the true meaning of comradeship while juxtaposing it with the biblical parables. Notably the parable of the lost sheep which appears in the Gospels of Mathew and Luke. It is about that shepherd who left his flock of ninety-nine sheep in order to find the one which is lost.
There was a time, he continued, when it was a taboo and you will be afraid to be seen or make a phone call “to Kapia, Amupanda or Ngurare”. But these are the very sheep the Bible speaks about, why fear to speak to them?
A comrade, according to Minister Nambahu, is a human being but not a tool to be used for voting, for making money or all other manners of exploitation. A comrade must be for standing with one another during all weather.
A comrade steeled in the crucible of the liberation struggle, must be understood to be adhering to the relay race of modern Namibia going forward not hedging backward. It was all in all, a Swapo fundraising for a church and Reverend Eino Ekandjo and Mee Theopoline Shalli accentuated the same sentiments. Even the young people of AR were praised and are being prayed for.
In the final analysis, we also came to Eheke Church to give praise and thanks giving to God for Comrade Paulus I. Kapia, former Secretary of Swapo Party Youth League. He endured over 13 years of political tormenting with legal clouds hanging over him. In 2018, he is back to his life.
We came fearlessly as comrades and as brothers of the same generation to lay a foundation for his church. God is for all.
There is power in practical prayers. One of such prayers is for God to help us to be true comrades, to be brother or sister- like to one another; to be in solidarity with the downtrodden and to help make Swapo and comradeship true as it was once upon a time!
For God to help revive in us the spirit of oneness and ignite in us once again the true and selfless love for Namibia and its people and to put Namibia's interest first above our personal interests, for ever and ever. Amen!