For many people, Nelson Mandela remains the most popular anti-apartheid icon, there are also many other men and women whose efforts are worth remembering. Although activists such as Gwen Lister, Theophilus Hamutumbangela, Ben Ulenga, Anna Mungunda, Hifikepunye Pohamba, Professor Denis Goldberg, and Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo are seldom mentioned by the majority of Post-Millennials and a few Millenials, they sacrificed a lot to the noble course of liberating South Africans from the minority white government’s apartheid chains.
The recent death of Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo literally meant the loss of another notable star from Africa’s liberation flag.
Born on 22 August 1924, in Omangundu, northern Namibia, Ya Toivo is remembered for his anti-apartheid efforts and great contribution towards the co-founding of Ovamboland People’s Congress (OPC) in 1957.
Imprisoned alongside the late Nelson Mandela and many other activists on the Robben Island together, many Namibians celebrate Ya Toivo for standing firm against the Terrorism Act (no.83 of 1967), which was the South African apartheid government’s intrusive security law, a “crime” for which he was imprisoned.
He is best remembered for the famous speech he made just before his sentencing
“We are Namibians, and not South Africans. We do not now, and will not in the future, recognise 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 us as if you are our masters. We have always regarded South Africa as an intruder in our country. This is how we have always felt and this is how we feel now and it is on this basis that we have faced this trial”.
Speaking to the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), South Africa’s ANC secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, said, “Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo is an internationalist. He is not just a national leader. He spent a lot of time on Robben Island. So, he is part of us.”
In March this year, another anti-apartheid icon, Ahmed Kathrada, also died in Johannesburg.