MUTORWA’S IDEAL GIFT @ 57
Prime Focus met with two of Minister John Mutorwa’s four children, second born Nelson (28) as well as the last born and only daughter, Wilhelmine (18), on the eve of their father’s 53rd birthday.
PF: Tell us more about your family?
Nelson: I am a legal officer, she is Public Relations student at UNAM, first year, Clemence, the first born is completing his Masters in Economics and Statics at Wits University in South Africa while, Marius is at Rhodes University working on his PhD in Bio-Chemistry. Our parents got married in December 1991.
PF: Children of today leaders are often regarded as spoilt, of loose morals mainly because their parents devote much time to other commitments which limits their family life. Can that be said of you?
Wilhelmine: Definitely not. Our father has given us and groomed us on a backbone of principles and responsibility. We grew up knowing the gospel of humility and I do not think any of us has lost it. Both our parents are patient people, they know so much about responsibilities because both are the eldest in their families.
Nelson: And the fact that he grew up in a Catholic Church environment makes him always lecture us on the virtues that guided him during his younger days. So we are influenced by those principles.
PF: He is a Minister of cause and a leader to many. But what makes your father just like any other father?
Wilhelmine: He complains a lot about water being wasted, electricity usage and can give you a lecture about not wasting food in the house.
PF: He has been a Minister for the larger part of his career. What is he in the house, the Honorable Minister, the leader or just dad?
Nelson: He is a father first and at the same time leader. This is mainly because of the positive influence he imparts on us.
PF: Say he was 30 and you were asked to get him a birthday present, what would it be?
Nelson: A tractor. He is so much in love with farming. A tractor is the best thing that can ever happen to him and with money permitting, I could get him one.
PF: Besides getting a tractor from Nelson, what else would he wish for, if by some chance he was allowed to get back to the age of 30 again?
Wilhelmine: He would have wanted to continue with his studies. Perhaps get a PhD in Education or in Psychology, because he likes teaching and children.
PF: Who is Minister Mutorwa’s hero?
Both: Nelson Mandela
Wilhelmine: He has a collection of Mandela’s books and constantly refers his themes to Mandela.
PF: What is his regular habit that most people are not aware of?
Wilhelmine: He is the first person to wake up in the house, always and he likes jogging around the house first. Every Sunday if he is in town, he will make sure the whole family goes to church.
Nelson: He also likes collecting books. He is obsessed with bibliographies. Whenever he travels to another country, he buys a book.
PF: What does he do in his spare time?
Wilhelmine: He listens to Black Mambazo music or local gospel music. He is fond of Black Mambazo.
PF: What is the greatest thing, your father has ever done to you.
Nelson: We can all of us say that by affording us education, our father has empowered us, beyond what can be seen today. He gave us opportunities to education; we can now take care of ourselves. Not only university education but also the education at home. It is part of him being a dad and we are all proud of him.
PF: What would be an ideal birthday message for such a father?
Wilhelmine: Thank you for everything you have done for us as a dad. We pray that you will be given more years. PF
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN...
HAVING a birthday that falls within the month of August is rather special for Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, as it is the same month that we celebrate our heroes.
Often referred as one of the “youthful politicians” in Namibia, Mutorwa was mostly known for his role in the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture that he ran from 2005-2008 and his commitment and support to local sporting activities, especially football.
Born on 17 August 1957 at Nyangana (Kadedere) village of the Kavango Region, Mutorwa is married to Agnes and the couple has four children.
A part-time farmer, Mutorwa’s initial education was at the Nyangana Roman Catholic primary school between 1968 and 1973. He attended his Grade Ten (10) at Linus Shashipapo Secondary School, also in the Kavango Region in 1976 before attaining Grade Twelve (12) at Rundu Secondary School in 1978.
The quest for higher education saw him achieving a BA Degree in History and Psychology at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa in 1983 and a Higher Education Teaching Diploma (HED) at the same institution in 1984. As if that was not enough, Mutorwa also got a BA (Hons in History) degree from the University of Namibia in 1995 followed by a M.Ed. (Interdisciplinary Studies) at the University of Montana (USA) in 2002. All the while, he was actively involved in politics but took time to enrich himself academically through several short training courses including a certificate in the Executive Program for Leaders in Development at the prestigious Harvard University (USA) in June 1999.
Mutorwa’s teaching career began in 1985 when he was employed as history teacher at Rundu Secondary School before moving on to become the Principal of Linus Shashipapo Secondary School in Kavango between 1987-1989. At this institution he also doubled-up as a History and Guidance (Life Skills) teacher, the same position he held at Maria Mwengere Secondary School in the same region between January and June 1990.
With a knack for getting involved in debates on current political-economic-social and sport events, he also has two academic publications, namely the “Establishment of the Nyangana Roman Catholic Mission Station: A historical Enquiry,” that was his B.A. Honours Mini Thesis in 1995 and an M.Ed. Thesis called “Access to Education, 1990-2000: Reflections on the Implementation of Namibia’s Policy Toward Education for All.”
Apart from being Class Captain and Head Prefect at the primary and secondary schools he has attended, Mutorwa has always been an ardent footballer. He was captain of the school football team between 1974 and 1978, a trait that was to crop up in later years when he was voted secretary of the Cuca Tops Football Club, between 1985-1988. The love for football was equally attributable to his active involvement in sporting activities even during the political and teaching duties throughout the years. As a Minister responsible for Youth, Sport and Culture he was voted the Chairperson of the Supreme Council of Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone VI Council of Ministers, a position he held between November 2005 and November 2007.
Apart from putting into perspective the minister has several leadership positions, some of which he still holds today. Among them are:
• Secretary: Namibia Students’ Association (NASA), 1982, Fort Hare University.
• Chairperson: Kavango Teachers’ Association (KTA), 1985-1989.
• Vice-Chairperson: Namibia National Teachers’ Union (NANTU) Kavango Region, 1989-1991.
• National Secretary: Justice and Peace Commission of the Roman Catholic Church, 1988-1990.
• Patron: Linus Shashipapo Secondary School, 2005-present.
• Patron: Educational Development Trust (EDT), 1997 - present
• Patron: Thomas Shiyave Quarantine Camp (TSQC), 2006 – present.
Mutorwa’s political career is as fascinating as his educational and sporting career. He has been a member of the SWAPO Party since 1980. Between August 1990 and May 1992 he was the Regional Commissioner (representative of Central Government) for Kavango, Omega and Tsumkwe areas. During this period, he led the Kavango Delegation to the National Land Conference that was held in Windhoek in June 1991.
In May 1992, he was voted into government as Deputy Minister of Water Affairs in the Office of the President, a position that he held until April 1993. Between May 1993 and May 1994, he was Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports before being transferred to the position of Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources in May 1994. His role in education was further consolidated in March 1995 when he became Minister of Basic Education and Culture and later up to March 2005 when the Sport element was added to the ministry. Later, the Ministry became known as Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture. As from April 2008 to present, he is Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and a member of the National Assembly.