I am not inclined to giving tribute to personas rather than in what they believe in. Because as I have been rudely awakened by the passing on of one, people are mortal but their ideas shall live forever, hence providing for their legacy. But a legacy soon forgotten after the departure of their upholders.
This is why I shall be inclined to speak of him, an affable persona, not to mention his wisdom and ideological commitment that he was and has been.
This sojourner, as it has been rudely awaken upon us as if it has not been impressed upon us many a times the mortality of all human beings, least of them him, and his circle of at times close and some other an extended and open of associates and has been associated with the character known as Heinrich Uazuva Kaumbi, since shortly before independence, five years or so earlier. Finding ourselves in the same neighbourhood of Grysblok in Katutura. Where three of us proper initially were squatting at the respective houses of his sister Titi Kaumbi, and Cottler Katjipotu.
In our small jovial circle we used to refer to him purely as either Kaumbi or the colonial name, Heinrich, which strangely despite his Pan-Africanist leaning he never shed it like some of us have done with the world today left ever guessing what happened to names like Justus, Hiskia, Goliath, and many others. Perhaps testimony to the character that he was. An association born, more than anything, born out of the dictates of the times and which went on to grow stronger and stronger. A person of substance that he came to be and was always radiating through whatever endeavour, social, cultural, political and even religious, informed by his deep-rooted believe in the Pan-Africanist ideology, permeating those in came in contact with. The Pan-Africanist ideology which he came to not only embrace but became engrossed in and with and lived for. With it having rubbed on to him irreversibly during his years of further studies in South Africa. Was it Pan-Africanism or Black Consciousness? Whichever whatever the diffe
rence, if any, there may be between the two ideological concepts. Safe for the fact both are ideological concepts of a kind based on the love for Africa, and the Black Race, with variations. The variations being the extent to which each would push and drive for the meaningful transformation of society, which ultimately may strike both as having something in common, if only in terms of engendering a black elite or bourgeoisie, whose ultimate aim was and has been, as proven by most African countries who obtained political independence, Namibia being no exception, that Pan Africanism, has not and has as yet to push for radical transformation, especially on the economic front. Where economic justice could, would and should prevail with egalitarianism ruling supreme.
This was during the time when both South Africa and Namibia was reaching the Rubicon. And with Namibia edging towards political freedom, emphasis political freedom and/or flag independence is all that Namibia has attained. Remaining with the arduous but by no means insurmountable task of economic emancipation, whatever this may mean. Because in modern day Namibia this seems to have become the and/or achiless heel towards transitioning from the flag independence towards a just society if not a revolutionary one. While he was a Pan-Africanist that he was some of us harboured socialist ideals. Could they be two opposites? If they may be our association was never two opposites but thrived till the end. In the latter days not so in proximity but more in spirit, especially ancestral spirit being engaged in our own special ways in the cause for the redemption of the spirits of the ancestors. A mission which remains unaccomplished. But as far as he is concerned he has accomplished what he has accomplished, be it i
n terms of advancing the cause of reparations of his people and their cultural renaissance. He had what he believed it. Which indeed all of us, if not some, also believed in. Hopefully we shall continue, for the sake of his everlasting legacy, keep the torch burning. Not only of the cause of reparations, but in the betterment of not only his people but all fellow Namibians, especially the so-called disadvantaged, in real terms those who continue to be exploited and economically left out besides the promise of independence, which cannot only political freedom but freedom in all aspects from political to economic to cultural.
A civil engineer by profession, he transcended his immediate profession and took on the mantra of many other professions, foremost social activism. Belying the misperception that Pan Africanism is not and cannot be as narrow and parochial as perceived and portrayed driven by the bourgeoisie for its own place under the sun of capitalism. For it is not about a niche in the capitalist system but about egalitarianism. If needs be back to the old days of communalism. Where the wellbeing of any individual was and is measured by the wellbeing of the whole community and the other way round.
Yes, an intellectual par excellence, and a practical and conscious and conscientious one for that matter, whose analysis would make no pretense between the three frames of analysis, the conservative (status quo), liberal (remedial) and radical (total change). Unknown to some of us 28 September was when we bid farewell. On the occasion of the launch of the book: Times and life of Vekuii Rukoro. One cannot but be thankful for the time afforded to associate with you. Because never ever shall be enough time than the given. Only regret is that despite his wealth of wisdom, and that of many others of his calibre, as represented on the Swapo Party of Namibia’s Think Thank, such is yet to translate in any fundamental change to uplift exploited Namibians. When it shall remains a million dollar question.
“Everywhere wealth incloses me as with a wall. Here is the rich men’s garden. There are his fields; here his vineyards, there his forests and pastures. I, too, would gladly have departed but I could not find a single spot of ground where I should not have rich men as neighbours,” writes Kautsky in his The Lament Of The Poor Man Against The Rich Man. Farewell Uazuva and tell us who your neighbours are once there wherever you are going. Aluta Continua!