MY HUSBAND, MY HERO: FIRST LADY
FIRST Lady Penehupifo Pohamba tells of aging with President Hifikepunye Pohamba and of having to share his world. To the world, he’s Mr. President, the highest position anyone can hold. To her, he’s her husband, her soul mate.
Having met in the early 80’s, the couple has three children and the whole family had a story to tell on the occasion of the President’s 75th birthday which coincides with their wedding anniversary.
PF: What type of person is the President at home?
First Lady: He is not a president at home; he is a father, grandfather, uncle and husband. As head of house, he is steadfast in his maintenance of discipline yet he is not as strict as perceived.
PF: As a mother, wife, public figure and First Lady, what is the greatest word of advice you would give to women married to heroes of this nature?
First Lady: Every woman who makes a conscious decision to spend the rest of her life with a person, has in the process filtered out many options and within the guidelines of the concept of soul mates, I believe that every woman who chooses out of love has naturally chosen her hero. Hence all Namibian women are married to the heroes of their hearts. The only advice I can give to such women is to be pillars of strength and support, constantly nurturing positive attitudes and behaviour.
PF: What is your birthday message to your husband?
First Lady: One more step along the world we go, more and more about the world we’ve to come to know. From the old things to the new, I am happy that I have travelled this far with you…HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
PF: They say, behind every successful man lies a woman. What kind of a woman is behind the President? How do you describe yourself?
First Lady: I will describe myself as ordinary Namibian lady who is passionate about helping the less privileged who cannot help themselves. I am also passionate about promoting education and rural development to eradicate poverty and a nurse by profession I will continue fighting against HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
PF: What is the best thing that the President has ever done for you?
First Lady: He has inspired me and given me the courage to be involved in the causes that are dear to my heart.
PF: What makes him your hero?
First Lady: An incident comes to light, which is rather personal, yet I will share with you. Around 1985/86 in Kwanza Sul, Angola, there was a ceremony where President Sam Nujoma was to give out Omunguluwombashe medals to members of the Politburo and the Central Committee. At that point in time, I was staying at ‘Block A’ while the ceremony was at the administration centre. Unfortunately my husband was on a foreign mission. I had been asked by a member of the Central Committee to go and receive a medal on his behalf, however at that time, the President had arrived and I was personally afraid of being turned away not to mention the administration centre was a bit of a distance from ‘Block A’. Unfortunately I did not get the medal on his behalf, and was saddened by this as I thought my husband would have appreciated it. After some time, he came back from his mission and I mustered the courage to tell him that I did not manage to get his medal. I expected him to be highly upset by this, however he looked at me and smiled, then he said “undeserved medals are nothing more than shaped metal, for Namibia is still not free. If I am to receive a medal, it ought to be in a free Namibia. It is good that you did not receive that medal for I am yet to earn it.”
That moment is the moment I can truly say Pohamba became my personal hero.
PF: What does he like to eat most?
First Lady: He always promotes good health through proper eating of balanced meal, cooked with fresh ingredients consisting of traditional food, such as chicken in marula oil and low sugar juice.
PF: Which birthday of his do you remember best and why?
First Lady: In 1984, we arranged to get married on August 18, the date of his birthday. However, this was not to be, because our best man had to go on a mission in the early hours of August 18. We had to make quick arrangements and get married a day earlier. His birthday is very important personally to me because, it reminds me of the day we got married. It is also our wedding anniversary.
PF: Few words you can use to describe the President?
First Lady: Hard working, humble, friendly and committed.
PF: What is his favorite sport and music?
First Lady: His favourtie sport is football and tennis.
The President’s three children, Tulongeni, Kaupu and Ndapanda also had a word for the ‘old man.’
PF: How do you describe your father?
He is a disciplinarian. He has always placed strong emphasis on discipline as a means to surviving and thrive in this harsh and unforgiving world.
PF: What is your birthday message to your tate?
Your life has been an incredible journey of hope, courage and success. It is such an honour and a blessing to have lived with a man that can ‘walk the talk.’
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, we love you very much.
PF: What has he done that you always remember and that you are grateful for?
We are all very grateful for the manner in which he raised us. Yes, we could not understand it as children, but today as adults, we realize that he has made us more self-reliant and self-disciplined individuals with firm beliefs and unbelievable drive to be successful.
PF: Mention one thing that makes him look like any other father out there?
Like any other father, he wants us to be exemplary citizens of society. Be it in academics, sport, work or relationships, we should always strive to be the best we can be or better.PF