WINDHOEK: Hundreds of people flocked to the residence of the late Dr. Abraham Iyambo to mourn the death of Namibia’s Education Minister on Saturday (02 February 2013) afternoon.
Mourners gathered at his residence just after President Hifikepunye Pohamba announced the death of the late Education Minister, who passed on in the United Kingdom (UK) while on official mission.
His death came as a shock to many Namibians, who now wonders what will happen to the country’s education sector, as he was committed and dedicated to transform the sector.
Some of the transformation he brought started with the first ever education conference held in 2011, which saw grade ten failures to repeat the grade, the introduction of the Universal Free Primary Education while encouraging learners to take up vocational training subjects.
Dr. Iyambo also introduced the “Are you Ready,” campaign in all the regions of the country, aimed at encouraging learners to prepare and study hard for their examinations.
He also used billboards and the national television broadcaster to encourage learners to take their education serious by studying hard.
Always with his Deputy, David Namwandi by his side, Dr Iyambo showed great leadership and was examplary and visited schools, early in the morning to see whether the teachers were on time for the school day.
He however received alot of criticism from some unions, parents and teachers of the learners, who were unhappy about his surprise visits to schools.
Because of his great leadership, learners did not waste time, but opened up to air their grievances aggressively whenever they were unhappy with issues at their schools.
His brother, Puma Iyambo who welcomed this reporter to Iyambo’s residence spoke with much sorrow and confirmed the death of Dr. Iyambo, but could not say what was the cause of death.
The late Iyambo recently returned from Cuba where he received a medical check-up.
Iyambo was hospitalised in a local hospital in late 2011, whereafter he was booked off for six months.
Upon his return to office in July 2012, the minister held a media briefing where he told the public through the media that he was hospitalised due to high blood pressure, which put his body under severe strain.
The high blood pressure, Iyambo stressed at the time, affected his vision, reading ability and speech, which led to him being booked off for six months.
The Late Dr. Abraham Iyambo was born at Onimwandi, Oshana Region, Namibia.
He studied Food Chemistry in Cuba, where he finished his studies in 1981. He then studied further in England at the University of Surrey, where he obtained a B.Sc. In Food Science in 1990 and a PH.D.
In 1994 he worked as a consultant for Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on the work of the Ministry of Agriculture.
He also worked as GTZ consultant for the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and for the Ministry of Education.
In 1995 he become a Member of Parliament (MP) and was appointed as Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources for a period of two years.
In 1997 he become the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, a position he held for 12 years until March 2010.
In March 2010 he become the Minister of Education, a position he held until his death.
Dr. Iyambo was Namibia’s Commissioner General for Expo 1998 held in Portugal, Lisbon.
He was the Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible for Fisheries from 1997 to 1999.
Dr. Iyambo was a member of the International Task Force responsible for the fight of global illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU).
Dr.Iyambo was a member of both the Central Committee and Political Bureau of Swapo Party (the ruling Party in Namibia) and the Chairperson of his Party “Think Tank.”
He was a MP since 1995, in 2001 he was Co-Chairperson for the Reykjavik Declaration of the Ecosystem Fisheries Management.
In 2009 he was awarded the Aquaculturist of the Year 2009, awarded by the Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa, the Margarita Lizarraga Medal for 2008/2009, awarded by the FAO and the Kungsfenan Swedish Seafood Award.