Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, which is why it is called the present.
What the caterpillar through his metamorphosis perceives is the end; to the butterfly it is just the beginning.
There is a time for everything under the sun. Everything that has a beginning has an end and the late Dr Iyambo has handed over the torch which has to be kept burning as we execute the vision he has carved for the education sector and the youth of Namibia
Dr. Iyambo’s death has brought to an end a special relationship, which started when I assumed duty as Chief Executive Officer (NTA) of the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) in 2010, the same year he took up the education portfolio.
I call this divine perfect timing, as it became an enabler that strengthened our work relationship. Equipped with knowledge of the education sector, zeal to succeed and a pragmatic approach, we steered the Vocational Education and Training (VET) ship into unchartered territory, acknowledging that the transformation of the education sector, in particular Vocational Education and Training, was a mammoth task which will mean transforming a caterpillar into a butterfly over time.
Dr. Iyambo was a tough taskmaster, but also a teacher, friend, mentor and a spiritual guide. Experiential learning was his method – I learned through observing him and he allowed me to action and implement. He continuously reminded me that I should not fear, but embrace decision-making, as I will learn through the process and that the outcome of the decision, whether it is positive or negative, will lead to learning. In hindsight that’s the beauty and blessing of the being young and that among others demonstrated his pragmatic approach to leadership.
Dr. Iyambo was a patriot who valued the following attributes highly- honesty, trust and loyalty, especially to the cause of educational development. He approached work issues in a systematic, analytical manner with a focus on results. He spearheaded the introduction of major reforms, leaving his indelible imprint on what is becoming a fundamentally changed Vocational Education and Training regime.
He took a personal interest in all aspects of the Namibia Training Authority and no detail was too small for him. His robust commitment encouraged my team to press on against sometimes seemingly unwinnable odds to implement a Training Levy that will generate funds for more Namibians to be trained and to expand training opportunities in the Vocational Education and Training sector across our country.
When I look back, perhaps Dr Iyambo at the time knew that his time had run out. Submissions to Cabinet on the Training Levy imposition were scheduled for 2013. He, however during the last quarter of 2012 impressed upon my team and I to have the submissions ready for endorsement at the last Cabinet meeting. There was indeed a higher level of urgency for implementation during December 2012 through January 2013, and one can imagine the strain he placed on himself and the teams he was leading. It is noteworthy that as a country Namibia consulted and planned for the introduction of the Training Levy imposition for the past 12 years and under his leadership this has come to fruition.
Great leaders shape and influence the course of events through their actions and ideas. Namibia is a young country with a relatively short history. But we too have had giants in our midst – men and women who have turned the tide for our country, and created a successful nation against the odds. In my opinion, Dr. Abraham Iyambo is one such a man. A whole generation of Namibians will grow up enjoying the fruits of his vision, because one of our ablest sons decided to fight for an improved education sector in general, and an expanded VET sector, in particular. He was a servant of his people – he was a perfect example of what servant leadership means and we will continue to sing and live up to his mantra and guiding principle: “Deliver, deliver, deliver!”
During any given situation there is an appointed leader, I challenge my generation to step up and be counted as leaders.
Chief Executive Officer
Namibia Training Authority