Heroic narratives, patriotic history and Namibian politics: The case of (Herman) Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo (1924–2017)

Henning Melber

Abstract


On 9 June 2017 Namibia became poorer. A moral beacon physically left behind the people, whose right to live in freedom and dignity was his core motivation throughout most of his 92 years. (Herman) Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo – Toivo is Finnish for hope – was active until the end. He had just returned from a trip with his close friend and fellow inmate on Robben Island Helao Shityuwe – another largely ignored and little recognized icon in Namibia’s struggle for liberation. Hours later, at his home, Ya Toivo died in his sleep. The article combines a portrait of Ya Toivo and his legacy with the heroic narratives at play when the history of the liberation struggle is rewritten for political purposes.

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