Iivula-Ithana remembers Geingob as her mentor

Pendukeni Ivula-Ithana

Former Cabinet minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has described president Hage Geingob as an important mentor in her political career.

Iivula-Ithana was speaking at Geingob’s official memorial service at Independence Stadium in Windhoek on Saturday.

“It’s not been easy for me as somebody who has been very, very close to him. As my mentor, actually . . .

“I keep saying I know the Swapo constitution by heart because he is the one who taught me that document,” she said.

Iivula-Ithana told The Namibian that Geingob helped her become a “real” member of Swapo, as well as a leader.

The former Swapo secretary general also made reference to a time when she and Geingob did not see eye to eye.

“I learned a lot from him until later, when we parted ways when he was president, but I was grounded in the leadership of both government and party,” she said.

Iivula-Ithana and Geingob became political enemies in 2017 when both campaigned for the role of party leader in that year’s Swapo congress.

Geingob won the congress and fired Iivula-Ithana from his Cabinet months later.


Iivula-Ithana said she has been struggling with the reality of Geingob’s death since she heard about it.

“The initial stage was denial. I didn’t believe it. Human beings are funny people, we meet death on a daily basis, but whenever it strikes, it’s first denial and then trying to cope with the heaviness of the news,” she said.

She highlighted that she has been unpacking her shared moments with Geingob for the past three weeks.

“I’ve been remembering him as my director, my prime minister and then my president. Yesterday alone when I saw his body in a coffin, that’s when I came to terms with the actuality of his death,” she said.

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