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Mandume Primary School turns 50


by Shasimana Uugulu
Education

 

Mandume Primary School is currently getting ready to welcome its alumni back to the school; 50 years after the former Ovambo Gemeenskap Skool (Ovambo Community School) opened its doors.
The school opened its doors for educational activities in January 1962 with eight classrooms, one office, one store room and a toilet block.
Today, the current principal, Robert Dishena says the school has about 780 learners and offers normal classes from Grade 1 to 7.
“The organising committee has come up with a number of activities lined up for the celebrations of the school’s 50th anniversary. The celebrations will kick off with the students marching from Zoo Park on the 28th next month to where the remains of the head of King Mandume was kept,” said the Principal.
Also on the card is a cultural competition and braai, which will be held at the school premises as well as a gala dinner, which will be hosted at the NamPower convention hall.
Many notable individuals within Namibia’s business sector are products of Mandume Primary School.
The school’s alumni includes the likes of  CEO of the Development Bank of Namibia, David Nuuyoma; CEO of MVA, Jerry Muadinohamba, Mocks Shivute; The Namibian newspaper editor, Tangeni Amupadhi; Confidante newspaper CEO and editor, Max Hamata; Raimo Naanda, Aili Hangula Paulino; and Albinus Akwaake among others.
Patron of the school, Martin Shipanga, a graduate of Mandume himself has called upon all alumni of the school to attend. He said the alumni, particularly those in the private sector, should look at ways on how to improve and contribute to the current crop of learners at the school.
 “Hundred years from now, historians will judge us on what we have done as alumni in investing in the development of our school,” said Shipanga.
Another former learner and school board member, Papa Shikongeni said that the school plans to raise funds during the anniversary celebrations in order to build a pre-primary school and fence the school.
Another alumnus, Hilifa Mbako said, “I am looking forward to the 50th anniversary celebration. Many of the people within the commerce industry are products of that primary school and I am proud to be part of the alumni. We are going to discuss many things to improve the quality of education offered to learners and also how to help communities in the surrounding neighborhoods.”
The principal said the current challenges facing the school are lack of classrooms, depreciating facilities, dilapidated school fence, and absence of sport facilities which he hopes the alumni will look into when attending the lined up activities.
The school has modern facilities including a computer lab, which offers computing lessons to learners from Grade 1 to 3. It also has a 900-capacity hall named after the Father of the Nation, Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nuuyoma.
When it opened 50 years ago, the number of learners was about 150, mainly from the Oshiwambo ethnic group, because it was built for them as per the Apartheid system, with a staff complement of seven teachers and headed by its first principal, Rev Aaron Hipondoka.
At that time, the school was called Ovambo Gemeenskap Skool (Ovambo Community School), however, as time passed, the community was given the opportunity to choose a neutral name for their school and the school was renamed Mandume Junior Primary School.
The school was named after King Mandume Ndemufayo who was the last king of Uukwanyama Kingdom. He is renowned for his uncompromising attitude toward foreign imperial forces of the Portuguese in Angola and Germans in Namibia and later the British and South Africans in the then Suid-Wes Afrika.
In a fierce battle against the British, Mandume is said to have killed himself preferring not to be captured by the colonial forces.
History has it that his head was cut off and brought to Windhoek as a token of achievement by colonial forces.