Abraham Iyambo

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The Honourable
Abraham Iyambo
Minister of Education
In office
21 March 2010 – 2 February 2013
President Hifikepunye Pohamba
Preceded by Nangolo Mbumba
Minister of the Fisheries and Marine Resources
In office
1997 – 21 March 2010
President Sam Nujoma,
Hifikepunye Pohamba
Succeeded by Bernard Esau
Deputy Minister of the Fisheries and Marine Resources
In office
President Sam Nujoma
Personal details
Born (1961-02-02)2 February 1961
South West Africa
Died (2013-02-02)2 February 2013
Nationality Namibian
Political party Flag of South West Africa People's Organisation.svg SWAPO
Children 2
Residence Windhoek
Alma mater University of Surrey, (UK)
Occupation Politician
Profession Food scientist

Abraham Iyambo (2 February 1961 – 2 February 2013) was a Namibian politician. Iyambo was a member of the National Assembly of Namibia since 1995,[1] serving as Minister of Fisheries from 1997 to 2010 and as Minister of Education from 2010 to 2013.[2] Iyambo was a member of both the Central Committee and Political Bureau of the SWAPO Party and the chairperson of its Think Tank.[3]


Iyambo was born at Oniimwandi in the Oshana Region of northern Namibia, as the fourth of ten children of Helena Gabriel and Agapitus Iyambo. He attended Okata Primary School at his birth village, and Canisianum Roman Catholic Private School at Outapi for secondary education.[4] He then went into exile and studied Food Chemistry for four years (1982–1985) in Havana, Cuba. In 1985, he left for the United Kingdom, where he took an access course in food studies at South London College. Upon completion of the access course, he began studying towards his BSc in Food Science from University of Surrey, from where he graduated from in 1990. From 1991 to 1994 he continued at Surrey, studying towards a Ph.D., which he received in 1994.[1]


In 1994 Iyambo 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 became a Member of Parliament and was appointed as Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources for a period of two years. In 1997 he was appointed the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources by President Sam Nujoma,[1] a position he held for 12 years until March 2010. In March 2010 he was appointed the Minister of Education by President Hifikepunye Pohamba.[2]

Iyambo was Namibia's Commissioner General for Expo 1998 held in Lisbon, Portugal. He was the Chairman of SADC Ministers responsible for Fisheries from 1997 to 1999. Iyambo was a member of the International Task Force responsible for the fight of global Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU). In 2001, he was Co-Chairperson for the Reykjavik Declaration of the Ecosystem Fisheries Management.[5]


Iyambo had health problems related to high blood pressure for a number of years. He died from a stroke on his 52nd birthday while on business travel in London, United Kingdom, on February 2, 2013.[6][7] He received a state burial where a 17-gun salute was fired. Iyambo is interred at Windhoek's Gammams Cemetery.[8]

Awards and legacy[edit]

Abraham Iyambo received a number of awards for his work, among them the Aquaculturist of the Year 2009, awarded by the Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa, the Margarita Lizárraga Medal for 2008/2009, awarded by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Kungsfenan Swedish Seafood Award.[5]

In Namibia he was known for being a workaholic[9] and a highly effective government minister, independent of what his current portfolio was. His time at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources earned him the nickname "Dr Fish" in honourable recognition of his many achievements.[10] During his tenure at the Ministry of Education, Iyambo implemented free primary education, a right enshrined in Namibia's constitution since 1990. He also introduced pre-primary education at state schools.[4] His request to "deliver, deliver, and deliver" became a popular slogan for educators and learners alike. One year after his death government renamed Oshikunde Senior Secondary School in the Ohangwena Region into Dr Abraham Iyambo Senior Secondary School.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Abraham Iyambo Archived 2012-02-17 at the Wayback Machine. at Namibia's Institute for Democracy
  2. ^ a b Inambao, Chrispin (23 March 2010). "Few changes as ministers appointed". New Era. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "Ministry Mourns the Death of Dr.Iyambo". Ministry of Education Namibia. 4 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Immanuel, Shinovene (11 February 2013). "Minister Iyambo laid to rest". The Namibian. 
  5. ^ a b DR. Abraham Iyambo Profile Accessed 02/03/2013
  6. ^ Immanuel, Shinovene (4 February 2013). "Minister Iyambo dies abroad". The Namibian. Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Haufiku, Mathias (2013-03-05). "R.I.P.… Kavango governor passes on". New Era (Namibia). Retrieved 2013-03-25. 
  8. ^ "Nation bids farewell to Dr Fish". Informanté. 13 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Paulus, Paulus (4 February 2013). "Namibia mourns the untimely demise of Hon Dr. Iyambo, Minister of Education of the Republic of Namibia". New Era. German embassy in Namibia. 
  10. ^ Kaumbi, Uazuva (8 February 2013). "Why, Oh Lord, Why?". Windhoek Observer. 
  11. ^ "Dr Abraham Iyambo SSS learners excited about their new facilities". New Era. 24 September 2014.