Toivo ya Toivo: Namibia’s humble hero - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

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Where the Namib Desert stretches languidly from the Atlantic Ocean and wild land extends into infinity, dreams become real. At this place where fantasy meets reality, you'll find the Gondwana Collection safely positioned.

Take our outstretched hand and let us introduce you to our extraordinary country, Namibia. From the massive chasms of the Fish River Canyon, the fossilised dunes of the Namib Desert and the red sands of the Kalahari Desert to the waterways of the Kavango and Zambezi, there are countless marvels to behold. Explore this awe-inspiring wilderness from the warmth of our lodges, created with conservation cognizance and ample character. And return to relax after an exciting day of discovery.

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10-Day Namibian Highlights Tour
Enjoy Namibia’s most popular destinations on this compact guided tour that incorporates visits to the Kalahari and Namib deserts – including the famed Sossusvlei dunes, the intriguing coastal town of Swakopmund, the Twyfelfontein rock engravings and Etosha National Park. more

3 Day / 2 Night – Sossusvlei Shuttle Safari
Exciting adventures await those who partake in this exhilarating safari to Sossusvlei, one of the most spectacular sites in the world. The magnificent star dunes are a photographer’s dream and the spectacular landscape will leave memories to last a lifetime. more

Namibia Road Map 2018/19

Anyone touring Namibia should definitely take our road map along. It is available from Gondwana free of charge, or as pdf download. This map features fascinating experiences plus recommended accommodation. At the same time it is an ordinary road map with all the essential information of the official Namibia road map by Prof. Uwe Jäschke and the Roads Authority of Namibia.

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Go Big

Discover Namibia’s main attractions.

This package offers a four-wheel drive vehicle and a thirteen day trip through the beautiful Namibian landscapes. Starting from Windhoek you will head south, into the Kalahari where your first night will be spent enjoying the sunset at the Kalahari Anib Lodge.

 

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Go Epic

Experience Namibia's famed locations.

Take eleven days to discover Namibia in an Epic way. This self drive safari - which includes a four-wheel drive vehicle - will take you to the famous Namibian locations that will make you long for the vast open spaces long after you return home. Starting in Windhoek you will head south to the Kalahari Desert.

 

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Go Wild

Track Namibia's awesome wildlife.

This 12 day self drive safari includes a four-wheel drive vehicle and stopovers at all major wildlife-viewing sites. Starting from Windhoek you will head towards the famous Etosha National Park, where 3 nights will be enjoyed at the unique Etosha Safari Camp.

 

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Enjoy an active Namibian adventure.

We offer a comprehensive travel service including car rental, accommodation, safaris and self-drive itineraries and day trips. Interested? For detailed information and vehicle specifications of our Renault Dusters SUV 4WD and Toyota Hilux Double Cabs 4x4, please click below.

 

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Gondwana's Newsroom

Toivo ya Toivo: Namibia’s humble hero

Avatar of inke inke - 09. June 2017 - Discover Namibia, Gondwana Collection

Toivo ya Toivo with his wife Vicki, daughter Nashikoto and the Etosha Boys at the Okambashu Restaurant at Etosha Safari Camp.

There are a handful of people who have changed the world through their vision of peace. Some, like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, spent years in prison or gave their lives for this cause. Namibia’s Toivo ya Toivo was one of these great men.

I had the privilege of meeting Andimba Herman Toivo ya Toivo two years ago when staff at one of the Gondwana lodges informed me that he was spending the night. Thankful for the opportunity to accommodate one of Namibia’s greats, I extended the invitation for him to stay as our guest of honour. When he came to our offices in Windhoek to thank me personally, I finally had a chance to meet the man who played a key role in the establishment of a democratic Namibia. Ya Toivo had alerted the UN to the dissatisfaction of ‘Namibians’ living under South African rule and the inhumanity of the contract labour system in the late 1950s and 1960s. He was one of the founding members of the Ovamboland People’s Congress (OPC), a forerunner to SWAPO, and later became the regional secretary for SWAPO in the north, recruiting members and mobilising the youth, encouraging them to further their studies in exile. He would soon pay dearly for this. In 1966 he was arrested, with 36 other Namibians. He was tried for treason two years later in Pretoria and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Robben Island. 

Those days were, thankfully, long past when we sat drinking tea in the office garden, two Namibians chatting peacefully together. Released after sixteen years on Robben Island, ya Toivo lived in exile until independence, returning to become a member of parliament and to help draft the first Namibian constitution. He served as the secretary general of SWAPO from 1984 to 1991. I was honoured to present him with our VIP card and make him a Gondwana Ambassador, welcome at any of our lodges, anytime. Eager to see more of his country, he soon reserved accommodation and visited The Delight Hotel in Swakopmund, Damara Mopane Lodge and Etosha Safari Lodge. It was Etosha, however, that drew his attention because I had told him that his photograph is proudly displayed on our ‘Wall of Fame’ in the Okambashu Restaurant, along with Mahatma Ghandi, Dr Sam Nujoma and other important peacemakers.

I was delighted to receive a call from his daughter saying that her father would appreciate my company at Etosha. I joined ya Toivo for supper in our homely Okambashu restaurant, which explores the theme of the colourful pre-independence shebeens that served as important gathering points for people to meet and talk. During the evening, I had a chance to get to know him better and watched, with admiration, how he chatted easily to staff members, genuinely interested in their lives. He thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the courtyard listening to the vibey music of the Etosha Boys, comfortably enthroned in a large recycled-tyre chair. His humility floored me and I made a point to remember to deliver just such a chair to his home.

The memorable encounter stayed with me when I returned to Windhoek where I further researched the life of this esteemed man. What soon became apparent was that on his impending sentence in 1968, when I was just a small boy, he, like the other remarkable men who had the courage to stand up for their beliefs, delivered a powerful speech. Reading through it, I couldn’t help noticing the similarities in the belief systems of the great leaders of world peace who promoted non-violence and equality in the last century.

I scrolled through the various speeches transfixed. “Non-violence is the first article of my faith. It is also the last article of my creed,” Ghandi had proudly declared in India while his destiny hung in the balance. Mandela, who was ya Toivo’s fellow inmate on Robben Island, had presented his well-known speech at the Rivonia Trial in 1964. He said: “We believe that South Africa belongs to all people who live in it, and not to one group, be it black or white... The basic task at the moment is the removal of race discrimination and the attainment of democratic rights on the basis of the freedom charter.” Martin Luther King, advocate of non-violence and equality on behalf of the Afro-Americans, proclaimed in his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech: “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.” He continued, “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

In 1968 while the court audience stilled to pin-dropping silence, ya Toivo had stood up and expressed similar concepts with his words: “I do not claim that it is easy for men of different races to live at peace with one another. I myself had no experience of this in my youth, and at first it surprised me that men of different races could live together in peace. But now I know it to be true and to be something for which we must strive.”

Discovering the parallels between these men, I realised that all four had been imprisoned and two had been assassinated for their fortitude. A friend also brought it to my attention that ya Toivo’s speech on 9 February 1968 coincides with the day our constitution was adopted in 1990. I had the strong heart-felt impression that the spirit of his speech had somehow been absorbed into the Namibian constitution. 

Ya Toivo’s eighteen years – or 6600 days - spent in prison hadn’t embittered him or made him self-important. He always remained Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, our humble hero. On 9 June 2017 he passed on. We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, daughters and family.  

Thank you. Tatekulu, our meeting will remain one of the shining moments in my life.

Mannfred Goldbeck & the Gondwana Collection

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