They mocked Geingob by calling us his kindergarten – Simataa

TRIBUTE … Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa, speaks at a memo- rial service for late president Hage Geingob, in Windhoek, earlier this week.

Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa says he and fellow young people working in president Hage Geingob’s private office many years ago were mockingly referred to as “Geingob’s kindergarten”.

“My path crossed with this great man with an encyclopedic brain in 1995, when he identified me among many other young Namibians to come and work in his private office as his senior special assistant (director level).

“Yes, I was also young some years ago. A few years later, Geingob, who was prime minister at that time, also hired Sacky Shanghala, Matthew Gowaseb, Audrin Mathe, the late Kazenambo Kazenambo, Alfredo Hengari and many other young Namibians at different times,” Simataa said at a memorial service for Geingob at the Windhoek Showgrounds earlier this week.

He said all of them were young people and had not been in exile except for Kazenambo.

“We were commonly referred to as Geingob’s kindergarten. This was not said in positive light by those who called us as such.

“It was clearly meant to mock Geingob, who they believed surrounded himself with people they considered as kids and not suitable to support him in the discharge of his constitutional responsibilities,” Simataa said.

He added that years later, “Geingob’s kindergarten produced national leaders such as Kazanambo and Shanghala who became Cabinet ministers, strategy and communication expert and an author in his own right, Gowaseb, and three PhD holders in the form of Dr Mathe, Dr Hengari and of course, yours truly”.

Shanghala is currently in prison awaiting trial with others in connection with the Fishrot corruption scandal.

“President Geingob used to tell us that leaders should be strong enough to fall, tough enough to laugh and tender enough to cry. His PhD dissertation is born of that philosophy.

Thanks to president Geingob for believing in young people and his inclusive approach to recruitment. We continued to witness his belief in the youth during his Presidency,” Simataa added.


Simataa said he received with grief, the sad news of Geingob’s death in Dubai, while in transit from Singapore.

“I saw him last at the airport when he was boarding a plane to the United States of America on Thursday, 25 January.

“Little did I know, this was our last handshake. However, I am comforted by the fact that at least I had an opportunity have a three-hour conversation with him on Saturday, 20 January, when madam Geingos kindly invited me to come to Casa Rosalia,” Simataa said.

He paid tribute to Geingob as “one of the visionary Pan-Africanists, an administrator of note, an outstanding scholar of great repute and a seasoned diplomat who contributed immensely to the total liberation of the African continent in general and to the struggle for Namibia’s freedom and genuine independence, in particular”.

“To me, always in admiration of his pedigree as a thinker and scholar-practitioner par excellence, president Geingob remains as a father, a gracious teacher, a friend and a mentor. I will keep these as my antiques.”

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