‘Kandando left an invaluable mark on the nation’

Rihupisa Kandando

President Hage Geingob has described the late former South West Africa National Union (Swanu) president, Rihupisa Kandando, as a man whose personal life was greatly intertwined with the struggle for the liberation of Namibia.

In a message delivered on his behalf by the minister in the Presidency, Christine Hoëbes, at a memorial service at Omitivine at Aminuis on Saturday, Geingob said Namibia’s struggle for independence was fought from different fronts, and that Kandando played an important role in it.

“Considering his contributions to nation building and the service to Namibia and her people, Kandando’s legacy is not confined to a singular chapter, but encompasses a rich tapestry of service that has left an indelible mark on the nation he so loved,” Geingob said.

He said Kandando’s impact reaches far beyond academia as evidenced by his extensive involvement in various national and international initiatives.

“At this difficult moment, I share your grief and stand united in honouring a man whose life was marked by a deep sense of service and compassion,” the president said.

Kandando died after a short illness at the age of 60 in Windhoek on 23 December.

In messages of condolence delivered by Omaheke governor Pijoo Nganate and National Planning Commission director Obed Kandjoze, former president Hifikenpunye Pohamba and founding president Sam Nujoma expressed shock and dismay at the death of the late politician.

Former Swanu president Usutuaije Maamberua praised Kandando’s foresight.

“The difficulties faced by our people and the workable solutions to them were always apparent to him,” he said.

Charles Katjivirue, the leader of a Swanu faction, described Kandondo as a selfless individual who, among other feats, managed to coerce the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, through the courts and personal resources, to become equitable in its coverage of political parties.

“We must devote our limited lives to the boundless service of our people. To die for the people, the truth, the motherland is to live forever,” Katjivirue said.

He said Kandando ascended to the party’s presidency in 1998 at a time when stalwarts left the party for greener pastures.

“Kandando stood firm and waged Swanu’s ideological battle on all fronts,” he said.

Kandando’s widow, Edla Kandando, said she was shattered and was only kept going by their children and Kandondo’s legacy.

“It has been thirty three years of great memories. I am consoled and comforted knowing you are resting after a long fight,” she said.


Kandando was Swanu’s leader from 1998 until he was replaced by Usutuaije Maamberua in 2007.

He was born at Gobabis in the Omaheke region on 12 July 1963.

He started school at the Aminuis reserve where he was an outstanding pupil.

He was forced to leave the rural school to continue training at Augustineum Training College.

Kandondo was eventually forced into exile.

He joined Swanu at the age of 15 and became a member of the party’s revolutionary council in 1986.

He fled to Botswana in 1981 and then moved to West Germany, before proceeding to the United Kingdom.

It was at the University of Surrey in England where he completed his PhD in food science and nutrition in 1997.

Kandondo was also a clinical biochemist.

He was buried at Omitivine over the weekend and is survived by four brothers, two sisters, his wife, four children and four grandchildren.

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