‘Love at first bite’ – baker remembers Geingob

Shiwomeho Kalla, the owner of Shiwa The Baker, says she has baked for president Hage Geingob on five occasions.

Her first assignment was in 2019 on the occasion of his 78th birthday, and she last baked for Geingob in August 2023 for his 82nd birthday.

Kalla says she is deeply saddened by Geingob’s passing and will honour his legacy with her craft.

“Our customers are the heart of our operations, and we value and appreciate them all. He was undoubtably one of our most distinguished patrons, and we will forever cherish the experiences we’ve had baking in his honour.

“We will continue to draw inspiration from his life and ideals, specifically his challenge for Namibians to chart a path towards prosperity and economic independence,” she says.

Kalla says Geingob loved her lemon-flavoured cake.

“When baking for the head of state I was primarily in contact with his executive administrative team, security personnel, and his family – depending on whether I was baking for him in his official or personal capacity.

“So, I have never worked with him, but more in service of him. It was a challenge I accepted graciously,” she says.

Kalla says she is forever grateful to Geingob’s administration for entrusting her with the task of making his birthday celebrations monumentally memorable, and to his wife, Monica Geingos, who embraced her gift and welcomed her into their home and hearts.

“Since starting my business, I have always had ambitions to bake for the country and for the highest office of the land. So, in 2019 I crafted a proposal to bake a ceremonial cake for the Independence Day celebrations, and I did so with distinction.

“Shortly after that, I seized the occasion to bake for Geingob’s birthday celebrations. The rest, as they say, is history,” she says.

Kalla says she will always remember her last moments with Geingob.

Their last interaction was at Casa Rosalia during his 82nd birthday, sharing a light moment during the cake-cutting ceremony.

“I was pretty anxious presenting the cake to him, but much to my delight, he loved it. He didn’t even want to cut it, fearing he might ruin it because it was so beautiful. He eventually did, and it was love at first bite,” she says.

Kalla says she is passionate about her business and having had the privilege of serving Geingob remains the highlight and greatest honour of her entrepreneurial journey.

She says she will remember Geingob for his love for the people, his passion for Namibia and for being a spirited statesman.

“He was a gift to the world. My interactions with him, his family and the staff in the Presidency irrevocably altered my perspective on how I viewed him.

“Over time I learned that there was a lot more to him than just the official title. He was a gentle giant, and he was surprisingly highly affable. He was deeply loved. Serving him has truly been a blessing,” she says.

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