Grim Reaper takes huge harvest in 2016

16 December 2016
Grim Reaper takes huge harvest in 2016

The year 2016 has been tragic on many fronts, including a plethora of deaths locally and on the international stage. The Windhoek Observer decided to look back on some of the deaths that made headlines during the year in the Land of the Brave and globally.
For many Namibians, the death of veteran politician Hidipo Hamutenya, who died at the age of 77 on 6 October, was the biggest shock of 2016.
There was a huge outpouring of grief across the country, and he was given a State funeral, despite only recently returning to the SWAPO Party, after forming the opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) in 2007.
The liberation stalwart, affectionately known as HH, spent three weeks in a hospital in Northern Namibia after he reportedly collapsed at a family wedding.
He died after being transferred to a Windhoek hospital.
Hamutenya was born on 17 June 1939 at Odibo in the Ohangwena region.
Fallen pilots
A plane crash at the beginning of the year killed three experienced pilots near the Hosea Kutako International Airport. They were Uwe Herbert, Fritz Alpers and Ole Friede. Their small aircraft had taken off from the Eros Airport and was supposed to have landed at the international airport. Herbert, who was the chief corporate pilot at Eros Air, a subsidiary of Ohlthaver and List (O&L), had flown among others President Hage Geingob, former President Sam Nujoma and A-list celebrities such as Angelina Jolie. Friede was a commercial pilot and conservationist, while Alpers had worked for Air Namibia for over 12 years as the captain of its Airbus 319.
Former ECB head
Former Chief Executive Officer of the Electricity Control Board (ECB), Siseho Simasiku, died in February at the Katutura State Hospital, following his hospitalisation last year after suffering a debilitating stroke.
Dirk Fruit founder
The founder of well-known northern businesses Dirk Fruit Oshakati and Samco Import and Export CC, Mogamat Jusuf Boutie Dirk, died in February. He was 53 years old.
Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Northern Branch Chairperson, Thomas Koneka Iindji, said at the time that Dirk had died of a heart attack in his Oshakati home.
Bishop Nakwatumba
Retired Bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Namibia, Nathaniel Ndaxuma Nakwatumbah died in March, in the Paramount Private Hospital in Windhoek.
Nakwatumbah was consecrated as the 10th Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Namibia at the Saint Mary’s Odibo Anglican Mission Centre in the Ohangwena Region about 11 years ago. He retired last year.
Karon mourned
Also in March, revered Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (nbc) radio sports commentator Sagarias Karon died at the Rhino Park Private Hospital in Windhoek. He was 56.
An nbc Damara/Nama radio service employee at the time of his death, Karon is believed to have died from a kidney-related illness. He is survived by his wife and son.
An avid sports lover, he began working for the nbc in 1995 as a freelancer, before becoming a permanent staff member in 2009.
Karon was adored by his peers, athletes and listeners for his enthusiasm and easy-going personality.
Farewell to Corry
Veteran sports journalist, 42-year-old Corry Ihuhua, died on 10 April at the Katutura State Hospital. Corry worked for different local media houses, among them Nampa, The Namibian, Namibian Sun and The Villager.
He was also a rugby and football anchor on nbc TV. At the time of his death, Corry was a businessman and farmer.
SWAPO’s Tjandja
Also in April, SWAPO Party mobiliser for the Kavango East region, Eric Tjandja, died in a head-on collision, about 65km west of Rundu in the Kapako constituency of Kavango West.
Besides serving as party mobiliser, Tjandja also held the position of principal of the Rundu Vocational Training College.
The head-on collision involved a Toyota pickup of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and a Toyota double cab vehicle in which Tjandja was the sole occupant.
Three people in the government pickup also died instantly, while two others were seriously injured.
Adonis tragedy
In April, veteran nbc reporter Allen Adonis died in a car accident while on his way to work.
Born on 20 January 1972, the Adonis started his career at nbc on 11 January 1993 as a reporter, before he was promoted to assistant editor of radio output on 1 September 1995.
Subsequent to the restructuring of the nbc in April 2003, Adonis was appointed as senior sub-editor at the radio news output department, a position he held until the time of his death.
Adonis is survived by his wife Zenobia and twins aged 13.
Missionary icon
Lutheran Reverend Alpo Mauno Sakari Hukka, who was a missionary to Namibia before independence, died on 4 July in Finland.
Hukka was the first leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN).
Reverend Hukka was a humanist and practising Christian. He worked hard for the improvement of the lives of many Namibians.
Missionaries arrived in Omandongo on 9 July 1870, a day that is celebrated annually by the Namibian Lutheran Church. Reverend Hukka erected a wooden cross at the arrival site at Omandongo on 9 July 1950. Born on 22 September 1916, Hukka served as missionary in Namibia during 1946 to 1952 and from 1954 to 1963.
Veterinarian pioneer
The death of veterinarian and University of Namibia (Unam) lecturer Shepherd Sajeni in September left those who worked with him in a state of shock.
The 37-year-old worked at the Windhoek Veterinary Clinic for 12 years, before joining the Unam School of Veterinary Medicine as a senior lecturer in February this year.
Unam spokesperson John Haufiku said Sajeni was a beloved colleague.
Sajeni was a pioneer in veterinary science and the first black veterinarian in private practice in Namibia.
Ahrens suicide
Gun expert and brother to Olympic shooter, Gaby Ahrens, Sven Ahrens, committed suicide in September.
The 42-year-old gun shop owner left a suicide note in which he told his wife that he is sorry for leaving her and their minor children, and that he loved them.
From the note, it was unclear what he could not cope with, but he did, in the suicide note, refer his wife to his laptop.
Ahrens died at his own hand on the posh estate of Finckenstein, some 12km east of Windhoek.
The police said that they do not suspect any foul play.
Legal fraternity mourns
In October, friends and colleagues of the late Hannchen Schneider-Waterberg, who was found dead at her house in Windhoek, paid tribute to her as a gifted student and lawyer and a sensitive human being.
Schneider-Waterberg, who practised law as a member of the Society of Advocates of Namibia, ended her life by gassing herself in her car.
Schneider-Waterberg had returned to the legal profession at the end of 2008, after her marriage had ended in divorce.
MUN president dies at 35
Late last month, the President of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN), Risto Raimo Sikongo Hausiku, died in a car accident, after a Toyota Corolla he was travelling in hit a kudu, approximately 73km south of Otjiwarongo on the B1 road. He was 35 years old.
Two passengers were treated for injuries at the Otjiwarongo State Hospital. Hausiku and his colleagues were on their way from Tsumeb to Windhoek on official duty.
David Bowie
British music legend David Bowie died on 10 January, after a long battle with cancer.
The iconic musician had turned 69 shortly before his death, which coincided with the release of Blackstar, his 25th studio album.
His death brought down the curtain on one of the most acclaimed artists of modern British music, with a career dating back to the hit Space Oddity in 1969.
He was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, London on 8 January 1947, before his family moved to the leafy suburb of Bromley when he was six.
Pop icon Prince - one of the most influential, but elusive figures in music - died at his compound in Minnesota in April.
The 57-year-old pop legend had been taken to a hospital a week before his death, after his private jet made an unscheduled landing.
Prince became an international sensation in the 1980s, when he popularised the Minneapolis sound of danceable funk. His 1984 album Purple Rain is often described as one of the greatest of all time.
Muhammad Ali
Heavyweight boxing legend, Muhammad Ali, an icon of the 20th century, whose fame transcended the sport during a remarkable career that spanned three decades, died in June. The beloved 74-year-old sports hero, who had been battling Parkinson’s disease for decades, passed away in a hospital, where he had been admitted after suffering from respiratory problems.
He was a three-time World heavyweight champion
The death of South African Kwaito sensation, Mandoza, in September saddened many Namibians.
Mandoza, whose real name was Mduduzi Edmund Tshabalala, died on the way to a Johannesburg hospital. The 38-year-old musician was battling cancer.
El Comandante
Cuban State television announced that former President Fidel Castro, popularly known as El Comandante, had died on the night of 25 November. The cause of death was not disclosed. His brother, President Raúl Castro, confirmed the news in a brief speech: “The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22h29 this evening.”  His death came nine months after his older brother Ramón had died at the age of 91. Castro was cremated on 26 November. After nine days of public mourning in Cuba, his ashes were entombed in the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery in Santiago de Cuba.


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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