Ya Toivo family not happy

19 August 2019 | Transport

Shali Kamati, the nephew of the late anti-apartheid stalwart Herman Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, has expressed his disappointment after government failed to erect a statue and information corner about his uncle at the soon-to-be renamed Ondangwa Airport, as the family had requested.

“In June we were invited to a meeting by the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) and the works and transport ministry, where they informed us about the cabinet approval to rename the Ondangwa Airport after the late Ya Toivo.

“They asked us as the family to suggest what we want them to do for us as far as Ya Toivo's legacy is concerned. We then asked them to erect a statue of Ya Toivo with some of his famous quotes and create an information corner that will contain his documented history,” Kamati said.

“We even selected the statue design and the place for the information corner, but later we were informed that the renaming is taking place on 22 August. They informed us that there will not be a statue and the information corner has been replaced by an electronic display, but it will also not ready by the time of inauguration.”

Kamati said he feels there was no need to inaugurate the renamed airport while the family's request was not fulfilled.

“How can they inaugurate the renaming while not fulfilling what they promised the family? We did not make an out-of-proportion request; they asked what the family wanted and that is what we want. This would have been good for tourists,” Kamati added.

Works ministry spokesperson Julius Ngweda referred all questions to the NAC.

NAC spokesperson Dan Kamati said in July 2014, calls were made by members of the public to rename the Ondangwa Airport after Ya Toivo.

Such calls were also repeated after his death in June 2017 and talks around the issue gained momentum.

The renaming was finally approved by cabinet in 2018.

Vice-president Nangolo Mbumba had announced that Ya Toivo would be honoured posthumously by the renaming of the airport on his birthday - 22 August.

“Airport custodians, the Namibia Airports Company (NAC), then set in motion the procurement process to rename the airport, which will be known as Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo Airport,” Kamati said.

Ya Toivo was a prominent Namibian anti-apartheid activist, political prisoner and one of the co-founders of Swapo in 1960, as well as its predecessor, the Ovamboland People's Organisation.

He served in several ministerial positions after independence. He died on 9 June 2017 at the age of 92.

Kamati said the airport renaming will take place on Ya Toivo's birthday on 22 August and will be officiated by Mbumba.


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