‘People’s person’ Shiyandja remembered

On the political front, he was a member of Owambo People Organisation (OPO) which he joined in 1959 under the tutelage of Namibia’s Founding President, Sam Nujoma.

08 June 2021 | Accidents

WINDHOEK

The late Reverend Vilho Uhela Shiyandja is many things, chief among them an iconoclast, man of principle and a people person.

These descriptions echoed through the walls of the Evangelical Lutheran Church hall on Friday during a memorial service in his honour. On Saturday, similar sentiments reverberated.

One of the chief mourners was Eino Nangula, a peer of Shiyandja.

“I am reading the history of an elder, in some cases, we have to cut what he has achieved in life,” said Nangula.

“What matters in life is to find Jesus as your soul saviour,” Nangula said before describing Shiyandja’s evangelisation work.

Shiyandja died on 25 May aged 93.

He is not your typical pastor.

On the political front, he was a member of Owambo People Organisation (OPO) which he joined in 1959 under the tutelage of Namibia’s Founding President, Sam Nujoma. At the time, this was not fashionable, former Katutura East councillor Elina Ndapuka recalled.

She described him as a veteran politician who did not waver nor compromise on his religious and cultural principles.

“He was accorded veteran status by the government of the day and his departure not only robbed the ruling Swapo Party, the church community but Namibia as a whole.”

Her words were echoed by Ambassador Elia Kaiyamo in his letter from China: “He told me to stand my ground and fight for what is good for the people of Namibia when I was dismissed from school at Omaruru because of my involvement in political activities, he told me to go back and finish what I started.”

Shiyandja was born on 02 September 1927 in Ohamwaala at Edundja village in northern Namibia.

He was trained as a pastor in 1974 at Paulinium and assigned to serve in different congregational capacities, including Windhoek Katutura, Otavi, Grootfontein, Okahandja.

Macedonia and Halleluja are some congregations where his work speaks volumes leading him to be recognised as the longest-serving preacher in the history of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN).

“Today we have land, we are recognised by ELCIN and they have assigned a pastor to our church. It is a pity that he will not be part of our new building that we are planning to construct,” the Halleluja church said, buttressing that Shiyandja played a pivotal role in their acquisition of land from Windhoek Municipality.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Ndapewaoshali Shiyandja said they were blessed to have the “best dad ever who does not discriminate and treat all people equal”, and they will remember him forever.

Shiyandja leaves behind two sisters and four children.

He was buried at Pioneerspark cemetery on Sunday.

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