Mbumba declared a period of national mourning for liberation struggle stalwart Ida Jimmy

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

Born on 16 November 1945, at Lüderitz, Ida !Ha-Eiros Jimmy’s journey in the liberation struggle of Namibia has been described as ‘one of courage and conviction’.

Jimmy, a former freedom fighter of the liberation struggle passed away on 3 April at age 78.

Her involvement in the liberation movement led to her imprisonment and torture, yet she remained steadfast in her pursuit of freedom for Namibia.

Jimmy was convicted on 15 October 1980, for contravening Section 9 (2) (b) of Ordinance 13 of 1962 read with sections 1, 2 and 8 of Act 83 of 1967 (The Terrorism Act).

She was initially sentenced to seven (7) years imprisonment, but her sentence was reduced to five (5) years, three years later when she launched an appeal.

The appeal was dismissed by the full bench of the South West Africa Supreme Court and made use of its inherent review power to reduce her sentence from seven years of imprisonment to five years imprisonment, which was the minimum sentence provided for in the Terrorism Act.

Jimmy served the full five years of her sentence in the Lüderitz prison before she was released.

Last week President Nangolo Mbumba bestowed the title of National Heroine upon the late Jimmy.

He described her as an imposing figure with deep roots in the liberation struggle of the country.

“We all have our own history. We have our records. Comrade Ida Jimmy has a record that cannot be questioned,” remarked Mbumba.

Mbumba added that Ida Jimmy was a leader and liberator of the Namibian people.

“We therefore pay our utmost respect to our heroine and honour her legacy of bravery and courage in the face of dangers,” continued President Mbumba, acknowledging Jimmy’s pivotal role in shaping the nation’s destiny.

On Thursday Mbumba declared a period of national mourning from 19 April to 21 April 2024 to honour the late liberation war veteran.

Ministry of Information and Communication Technology spokesperson Shoki Kandjimi said the burial service will be held on Saturday, 20 April 2024 at Snipriver Farm, Bethanie district, Berseba Constituency in //Kharas region.

Who was Ida Jimmy?

Reflecting on her legacy, former president of the Congress of Democrats (CoD) Ben Ulenga, a close associate, reminisced about their shared experiences during the struggle and as political prisoners.

“The last few days, Ida has been quite sick. I knew her closely because we lived together in the same house. When I was in Windhoek prison, Ida was also there in the women’s section. When we were released, it just happened that the two of us and another man got a house in Katutura to live in that was being paid for by the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN).

We shared the house until Ida left for England for some time for her studies. I stayed behind with her children, even after independence Ndeshi (Ida’s daughter) lived with me in my house while she was studying. She’s family apart from being involved in the struggle together,” Ulenga recalled.

While alive, Former New Era Publication Corporation (NEPC) CEO Protasius Ndauendapo, described Jimmy as one of the heroes of the people’s struggle for Independence.

Ndauendapo took the words from the late Judge Bryan O’ Linn in his book titled “Namibia: The Sacred Trust of Civilization – Ideal and Reality (Volume I)”, which reads, “Jimmy was one of a small number of women who openly preached revolution. Many others worked behind the scenes to assist in the armed struggle by propagating the cause and providing refuge, food and comfort to the male combatants.”

“Despite facing adversity, she remained resolute, serving her sentence with dignity and fortitude,” he said.

Jane Shityuwete, the wife of Robben Island prisoner Helao Shityuwete, also took to her social media platforms where she described Jimmy as a phenomenal woman.

“Compassionate, committed, kind, determined and so courageous in the face of danger and personal suffering. Despite being in poor health herself she would call every now and again to check in on Helao’s. We send our heartfelt condolences to the family,” said Shityuwete.

Former journalist Tom Minney described the late Jimmy as a very inspiring woman who set an example with her bravery and determination.

“Her memory will live on with honour,” he said.

Her son Michael Jimmy, reflecting on her dedication to the liberation, described the late Jimmy as a stubborn freedom fighter.

“Of course, she was a very steadfast and unwavering freedom fighter. She was a Mother not only to the three of us but to many other children,” he said.

According to Michael, she was receiving the N$2000 war veteran monthly grant and lacked reliable transport and electricity in times of emergency.

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