HUNDREDS of people gathered in the Parliament Gardens in Windhoek to pay their last respects to former Vice President, Dr. Nickey Iyambo with a very emotive and passionate final farewell to one of Namibia’s greatest sons.
During the memorial service a visibly shaken and very emotive President Hage Geingob, bid farewell to the late Dr. Iyambo who he described as a dear friend, a comrade and a father in whom he could always confide.
Dr. Geingob reminisced about the days of the Struggle for Freedom and Independence and said that the decades from their days as diplomatic students deployed to various parts of the world up until the present time has gone past fleetingly.
“We have traversed down a long road of friendship until reaching this point, where we must part ways,” Dr. Geingob said.
The full speech delivered by President Geingob reads as follows:
There is nothing more challenging than speaking on the loss of a father, friend and mentor. It seems this challenge is becoming more frequent. Weighed down by the overbearing mood of sorrow, we are forced to put on a brave face, as the dark cloud of sombreness looms above. Today, is yet another heart-rending occasion, where we are gathered to commemorate the life and times of a hero of our liberation struggle; a man of impeccable character, a luminary and a torchbearer of unity, liberty and justice.
God, through the mysterious workings of Mother Nature, has removed from our midst, the physical presence of Comrade Dr. Nickey Iyambo. But as we wrestle with grief, we are comforted that our dearly departed was a man who lived a life of purpose, a life of sacrifice and a life of passion. His was a passion that was ignited by the searing flames of struggle, revolution and Pan Africanism.
We have heard, through previous speakers, about the lifetime achievements and feats of Comrade Iyambo.
One thing is for sure; he was a man who possessed a temperament that many would envy. It is this cool headedness, this calm demeanour, this genuine humility, that made him such an endearing individual and a man whose radiant spirit engulfed all that came in his presence.
It was these salient features of Comrade Iyambo’s character that made him such an outstanding father, brother and mentor. So often when the pressures of life would force me down a cul-de-sac, I would turn to him for guidance and he would always reassure by urging me not to worry and to ignore those who were troubling me.
This gentle giant was the consummate confidant.
Someone in whom one could confide and be certain that, what was discussed would remain between the two of you. Such integrity and honesty is rare in today’s world and this is why Dr. Nickey Iyambo was a bona fide friend and comrade to me and many others.
We have traversed down a long road of friendship until reaching this point, where we must part ways.
We started our journey as diplomatic students, where together with Comrades Katjavivi and Tjiriange, we were posted to strategic regions around the world.
Comrade Nickey was sent to Helsinki, Finland to cover the Scandinavian countries, Comrade Katjavivi was sent to London as SWAPO Representative in the United Kingdom and Western Europe, Comrade Tjiriange was sent to Kiev, Ukraine, to cover the Eastern Bloc Countries and Yours Truly was sent to New York as SWAPO Representative to the United Nations and Americas.
At the time, we were the only youngsters in the SWAPO Central and Executive Committees and after we finished our studies, we were redeployed in different capacities – How time flies.
There is an African proverb which says that “a father never resembles his son; it’s the son that resembles the father.” How true in the case of Comrade Nickey, who due to our closeness, named one of his sons Pandeni Hage.
After the sad news of his passing, I went to the house where I met Hage. As I sat and began to converse with him, it was as if I were conversing with his father Nickey. It was evident to me what a sterling job Comrade Iyambo had done as a father to his children, imparting on them invaluable knowledge and also passing onto them, the admirable characteristics that he had nurtured and developed during the course of his life.
I turn now, to Madame Johanna and the entire Iyambo Family. Ever since the sad news of Comrade Iyambo’s passing, Namibia has joined you in mourning, we share in your sorrow, and we share in the consternation and grief that fills your hearts. However, despite the pain of loss, for which there is no natural remedy, except the solace offered by our Lord in Heaven, we hope that you can find comfort in the national outpouring of grief for this decorated and much loved, Son of Namibia.
As I conclude, I wish to say – thank you to this father, mentor, guide and dear friend who remained selfless to the end, and passionately committed to the development of our Namibian House. He was an admirable leader, whose legacy is a testament of his faithfulness, diligence, humility and integrity. He has left a telling and permanent mark on the political, diplomatic and social landscape of our country.
There are so many moments that I shared with this gentle soul, that are etched in memory, as if they only took place yesterday. But now the friend we had is no more. He has done his life’s work and completed the task with distinction. No longer can we share in his presence, for he has now been recalled by the benevolent spirit of our Creator, in whose care we leave our comrade, for eternity. Farewell Dear Comrade, Farwell Dear Friend, Farewell my Father.
May the soul of Comrade Dr. Nickey Iyambo, rest in eternal peace.
Special Note: The burial service for the late Dr. Iyambo at Heroes Acre on Saturday 1 June 2019 is scheduled to start at 09:00 and people who would like to attend the service will be able to make use of municipal buses that will pick them up from the various constituencie offices throughout Windhoek. The gates to Heroes Acre will open for the public at 06:00.