The outpouring grief expressed by many from the length and breadth of the African Continent and abroad is a testimony of the high esteem in which Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo was held by many in our Continent.
The Thabo Mbeki Foundation and its Patron, President Thabo Mbeki, join fellow Africans, SWAPO and the Peoples of Namibia in paying tribute to this eminent citizen of our continent, Cde Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo and to convey our sincere condolences to his Family, his comrades in SWAPO and Namibian peoples in general, at the loss of this great and pioneering architecture of a free Namibia.
As we lower our flags for this outstanding son of Africa, we are reminded of a dream of a new Africa for which the struggle must continue.
Comrade Toivo Ya Toivo belongs to a galaxy of stars – a generation of principled, dependable and militant leaders for the liberation of Africa, whose commitment to freedom, justice, and equality was nothing but exemplary.
True to this testimony, Toivo ya Toivo once admonished those who regarded him and his people as second class citizens by saying that “we are Namibians and not South Africans. We do not now, and will not in the future recognize your right to govern us, to make laws for us, in which we had no say, to treat our Country as if it was your property and as if you are our Masters. We have always regarded South Africa as intruders in our Country. This is how we always felt and this is how we feel now and it is on this basis that we faced this trial. He said this with the full knowledge of the consequences of such an attitude towards the racist South African regime, and the price he would pay. He would eventually be incarcerated in Robben Island for more than a decade and a half.
Whilst he lived he not only inspired us to intensify the struggle against Apartheid, but deepened our understanding of the indivisibility of our struggles for liberation of the continent, a point reflected on by the then ANC President Oliver Tambo when he noted that “by your actions (referring to SWAPO) you have forged bonds of unity between yourselves and us, the people of Namibia and the people of South Africa – bonds of brotherhood and comradeship, forged in blood, and for that reason indissoluble. This was also demonstrated by the incarceration together of the Leaders of our Revolution amongst them Herman Toivo Ya Toivo.”
Today this giant of our people is no more, his wise counsel having been lost and his voice only heard from a distant past, he still has important lessons for us to heed, as he recently reminded us when he said that “I depart from this earth a happy person because Namibia is free, and you that are left behind, you have a duty to make it and not break it”.
So, as we bid farewell to this true African giant, who has run his race with distinction we are reminded once again that the struggle for a new Africa continues.
May his soul rest in eternal peace!
THABO MBEKI FOUNDATION
JUNE 12, 2017