Dr Abraham Iyambo, Education Minister in the Government of Namibia, died on February 2nd, 2013, aged 52. 

“Whatever you do unto the least of my brothers- you do unto me” 

It is no surprise that the death of Dr Iyambo has shocked the nation. It is undeniable that his absence will be felt by the masses, which is indicative of the great leadership qualities he exhibited. His ability to practice a participatory leadership style, allowing the common man and woman to have their say in the process of improving education in Namibia reflects his values as man and a leader of the Land of the Brave.


Abraham Iyambo, Minister of EducationI now see that his task was not to clean up our education system in his personal capacity. His task was to awaken the nation to the realisation that education in Namibia is a collective challenge and therefore we need a collective solution. To this end it is safe to say that his work is done and done well.

One of my favourite moments with Dr Iyambo was during the education conference in 2011 at the Safari hotel. The Director of the NPC, Tom Alweendo said that we had to deal with the issue of teachers, and union leaders asked Mr Alweendo to apologise and retract his comment. The majority of the room looked to Dr Iyambo and he gazed at Mr Alweendo with a firm look that affirmed the sentiment that it was his call, and that he had his support. Right there and then, I knew we were going to be OK as the late minister made it OK for us to talk about the real issues on a public platform with no shame and judgment. This is another attribute that made him a national hero.

Like most people in Namibia I am left unsettled about his death. I cannot help but feel that maybe on some level, we as a nation, put so much pressure on him to deliver miracles, when maybe we should have chosen to do our little bit in our respective corners to ease his load.

Let’s take this moment to think about how we as a collective, and as a nation can assist other civil servants to actualise the goals, dreams and aspirations of this nation.

As I personally bid farewell to a man who has given us the opportunity as young people to participate in platforms concerning issues regarding the nation’s education discourse, I commit to continue the dialogue and actions of improving holistic education for a better Namibia, a better Africa and a better World. Go well Dr Iyambo.”

Marie-Jeanne Muhoza Ndimbira, Director at the Physically Active Youth Programme (PAY).