Andimba Toivo ya Toivo
|Andimba Toivo ya Toivo|
|Minister of Prisons|
27 August 2002 – 2006
|Prime Minister||Theo-Ben Gurirab
|Preceded by||Marco Hausiku|
|Minister of Labour|
26 March 1999 – 27 August 2002
|Prime Minister||Hage Geingob|
|Minister of Mines and Energy|
21 March 1990 – 26 March 1999
|Prime Minister||Hage Geingob|
|Preceded by||position established|
22 August 1924 |
Omangundu, Oshana Region, South-West Africa
|Spouse(s)||Vicky Erenstein Ya Toivo (m.1993)|
Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo (born 22 August 1924) is a Namibian anti-apartheid activist and politician who was active in the pre-independence movement and one of the co-founders of the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) in 1960, and its predecessor the Ovamboland People's Organization (OPO) in 1959. ya Toivo served 16 years in Robben Island prison. In Namibia he is considered an icon of the liberation struggle.
Toivo was born in Omangundu in Oshana Region in the north of Namibia. He attended vocational training at Ongwediva Industrial School and graduated as carpenter in 1939.  He worked on a farm until he came to Odibo and attended school at St Mary's Mission School where he completed Standard 6, i.e. 8 years of school. He had to change his religion from Lutheran to Anglican in order to be admitted. He stayed on until 1950, graduating as a teacher, and he successfully operated a store at Ondangwa. Ya Toivo taught at St Cuthberth's School at Onamutayi and at his alma mater before traveling to South Africa for further studies in 1951. Toivo ya Toivo fought for the Allied Forces during World War II.
Because of his political activities in support of Namibian independence, ya Toivo was arrested in 1966 by the South African authorities.
In his trial in August 1967 between, 'The state v. Tuhadeleni and 36 Others', Toivo Ya Toivo appeared as Accused No. 21. Eliaser Tuhadeleni, Nathaniel Maxuilili amongst other members of the Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the armed military wing of SWAPO, were tried in the first trial under South Africa’s Terrorism Act of 21 June 1967. The Terrorism Act was applied retrospectively to convict these political activists from Namibia. Toivo ya Toivo made a speech at the trial which was widely publicised thereafter.
On 26 January 1968, he was sentenced by a Pretorian court to 20 years' imprisonment. He was incarcerated at Robben Island, near Cape Town, where he spent most of his time isolated from his fellow countrymen. As a prisoner he was not an easy fellow, never showing remorse and often up for a fight with the authorities. Fellow Robben Island inmate Mike Dingake remembers:
A few meters from my cell, [...] warders tried to push Toivo ya Toivo intolerably around. Andimba unleashed a hard open-hand smack on the young warder's cheek, sending [his] cap flying and the young warder wailing 'Die kaffer het my geslaan'" [The nigger beat me]
From 1984 to 1991, he was the Secretary General of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO). In the advent of Namibia's independence, a showdown was expected between Sam Nujoma, who had spent many years in exile, and ya Toivo, incarcerated at Robben Island. Ya Toivo avoided this conflict, "settling" for the post of Minister of Mines and Energy, leaving Nujoma the presidency.
Toivo was a SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990, immediately prior to independence, and upon independence in March 1990 he became a member of the National Assembly. He was also Minister of Mines and Energy from 1990 until his appointment as Minister of Labour on 26 March 1999. After over three years in that position, he was appointed as Minister of Prisons on 27 August 2002, switching posts with Marco Hausiku; he remained Minister of Prisons until 2006.
Toivo received the eleventh-most votes—358—in the election to the Central Committee of SWAPO at the party's August 2002 congress. At SWAPO's November 2007 congress, Toivo failed to be elected to the SWAPO Politburo for the first time in the party's history. This was attributed to Toivo's purported link to the opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), a party that had been founded as a split from SWAPO shortly before the congress. Toivo denied being linked to the RDP, but the claim was believed to have influenced the vote.
At the SWAPO Congress on 2 December 2012, Andimba ya Toivo was elected as a permanent member of the Central Committee.
After retiring from active politics, Toivo has now devoted his time to his wife and two daughters, and is running various businesses.
- HMS Challenger, a ship renamed as MV Ya Toivo after him
- Andimba Toivo ya Toivo Senior Secondary School
- Profile at klausdierks.com.
- Profile at Namibian Parliament website.
- Nembwaya, Hileni; Shivute, Oswald. "Hilundwa and his best friend, Ya Toivo". The Namibian (In honour of a legend 90th birthday of ya Toivo supplement, page 10).
- Nembwaya, Hileni. "Ya Toivo gave me Namibia". The Namibian (In honour of a legend 90th birthday of ya Toivo supplement, page 10).
- Dingake, Mike. "Prison authorities had to trick him out of the cell". The Namibian (In honour of a legend 90th birthday of ya Toivo supplement, page 12).
- Helao Shityuwete, Never Follow the Wolf, The Autobiography of a Namibian Freedom Fighter, London 1990, pp. 246–47.
- List of members of the Constituent Assembly, parliament.gov.na.
- "Two-prong strategy in latest reshuffle", The Namibian, 29 March 1999.
- Christof Maletsky, "Nujoma shuffles the Cabinet pack", The Namibian, 28 August 2002.
- Tangeni Amupadhi, "Major shift in Swapo leadership", The Namibian, 4 October 2004.
- "The ruling party's new Central Committee", The Namibian, 27 August 2002.
- Christof Maletsky, "Swapo big names dropped", The Namibian, 3 December 2007.