Simataa – a True Educationist at Heart

By Risco Lumamezi

Mr. STANLEY Mutumba Simataa
STANLEY Mutumba Simataa who hails from the Caprivi Region was born at Kazauli Village in Sikanjabuka area some 50 kilometres South East, on 5 June 1960. His father, who has since passed on, is the late Mr. Raymond Simataa Mukasa, a member of the Mafwe Royal House and his mother Namasiku Mukata Mukasa, a Subia who originates from Ngoma.

He started his education at Silumbi in1969 in Sub A to Standard 3 and he completed his higher primary at Bukalo in 1975 to 1976. He did his Junior School at Sanjo Secondary in 1978 to 1979 and completed his Form 5 in 1980 at Caprivi Secondary School.

Simataa was to get work soon after he completed his secondary school. “I got employed as a student nurse in January 1981 and I worked for a month and half before I left for Garankuwa Hospital in South Africa.”

But his burning ambition was to become a teacher and so he did not stay long in the nursing profession. After a month, he quit the nursing profession in February 1981 and immediately approached Mr. Innocent Mahoto, who was at the time a School Inspector, but is now a retired Caprivi Director of Education.

“They were abundant positions in education and they asked me to teach at Simataa Senior Secondary School which was headed by Mr. Richard Nzundamo as Principal.”

After teaching for a year, he felt that he was an under qualified teacher. He applied to the University of North Turf Loop now called University of Limpopo in South Africa where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in AgricPA.ED majoring in Education, Plant and Animal Science in 1986 after having entered the university in 1982.

While studying in South Africa, He was confronted with many challenges, which he recalled, such as the 1985 strike, which led to the South African Defence Force (SADF) invading the University and thus leading to its subsequent closure and removal of all students to Masialama Centre.

“I was supposed to finish my studies in 1985 but then I went on until 1986 because of the mass strikes (staged) by students who were opposed to the apartheid regime of the time,” said Simataa.
While massive strikes where happening on their campus, the Namibia National Students Organisation ( NANSO ) branch under the banner of SWAPO was formed, pioneered by Joseph Diesho as its first NANSO President and Simataa as its first Chairperson, Nangula Hamunyela as its Secretary (current Managing Director of Edu Loan).

He said when the army and police invaded their residence; his dormitory was the first to be attacked. “My very closest friends were the late first Rector of Caprivi College of Education Mr. Alex Mushe and late Peter Mukaba, African National Congress (ANC activist) who was a Deputy Minister in the new South African dispensation of President Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet.

“We travelled to Jo’ burg with our SWAPO materials, like programmes which we used to politicise (our audience),” recalled Simataa adding that his political inclinations grew to a greater extent from then on.

Upon completion of his studies at the University, he started teaching Agricultural Science, Economics and English from 1987 to1988 when he was promoted as the Head of Department at Caprivi Secondary School.

In 1988, he worked as the Acting School Principal of Caprivi Secondary School where he faced many challenges at his school as it was commonly very vocal in politics with student and teacher’s movements like NANSO and NANTU being catalytic in the liberation of education, that included the likes of late Jimmy Kwala, Lutombi Juluka, Fred Mwiya and Charles Kabajani.
“I could not sleep. We were named by Lutombi, Jimmy Kwala as members of the School Representative Council (SRC) which ended us in Police Cell”

In 1989, he was promoted as principal who took over from Gabriel Ntelamo while Gabriel Mwilima and Knox Salushando were the teachers.

“We didn’t give legitimacy...We created structures of the Namibia Teachers Union. We were serious with education I was taken to the Regional Office as Subject Advisor,” he said.

The Namibian Government was established in 1990 after Namibia attained its independence and current President Hifikepunye Pohamba who was Minister of Fisheries and Marine Re-sources appointed Simataa as his first Personal Assistant. This happened simultaneously as a scholarship offer for a Master’s degree in English at the University of Reading came through in 1990. Simataa instead decided to accept the job offer from Pohamba.

“As PA you have to do as-assignments, presentations, preparations and this was a very challenging task to do,” recalled Simataa.

“I re-negotiated to retain my scholarship. The Minister (Pohamba) spoke to Nahas Angula as Minister of Education and I worked for a year. In July 1991, I went for studies, a year’s Master’s in Agriculture Science (MSC AGRIC. ED) which I completed and returned to my position as PA.”

In 1995, I worked as a Training Officer in the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources to 1996 when I was transferred to the Namibia Maritime Fisheries Institute (AMFI) as a Training Officer for sea-going personnel.

In 1997, Simataa was appointed as Deputy Director for Administration, a post held by Mr. Shihalene Ndjaba, former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, and now Chief Executive Officer of the Diamond Trading Company.

Other prominent positions held by Simataa were those of Deputy Director in the Speaker’s Office in1998, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Basic Education, Sports and Culture in 1998 – 2001, a six-months stint as Acting Director General of the Namibian Broadcasting Cooperation in 2006, briefly taking over from Jerry Munyama when the cooperation faced a financial crisis and managerial irregularities, until Bob Kandetu, was appointed as its Director General.

Simataa described the NBC stint as “a very tough one, but interesting” and emphasised that he worked for six months only.

He then went back to the Ministry of Education since July 2007, and was appointed as an Executive Director for the National Council for Higher Education and Advisory Council on Teachers’ Education and Training Secretariat.

According to him, these are very critical issues in education, which will help the nation as it marches towards Vision 2030.

He spoke of two acts, which he said were the pillars of education, Act No 26 of 2003 that establishes the National Council for Higher Education and the promulgation of the Teachers’ Education Colleges Act, Act No.25 of 2003. Both were passed by Parliament and accented to by the President.

In terms of the Higher Education Act of 2003, it sets up a body (the National Council for Higher Education) that regulates higher education. The Council has the mandate to register, de-register or close a private higher education institution that does not comply with the provision of the Act. The Act also deals with the funding of public higher institutions of education, pro-vides for the establishment and functions of a panel of enquiry into the affairs of institutions higher education and provides for matters incidental thereto.

The Teachers’ Education Colleges Act, Act No. 25 of 2003, provides for the establishment of an Advisory Council that regulate the education and training of teachers.

The Advisory Council’s job is also to establish new teachers’ training colleges or close the ones that do not comply with the Act, provide for the governance of such teachers’ education colleges, the establishment and administration of teachers’ education and training funds; the appointment of committees to investigate and monitor teachers’ education colleges and any matters incidental to.

Simataa currently chairs the Namibia Sports Commission, a post to which he was appointed to from 2006 until 2009 December by the former Minister of Sports John Mutorwa.

Simataa also hold a Masters’ degree in Business Administration (MBA), which he obtained in 2006 at the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI) in Arusha, Tanzania.

Simataa is currently married to Magrietha Elizabeth Simataa, a Khomas beauty with whom he has a son. He has five other children from his previous marriages, two boys and three daughters.

“I believe in culture and respect culture, I don’t believe in culture that looks down on people (instead) of unifying the community. I’m also involved in community obligations to plough back in the community,” he said.

In his youthful days, Simataa played football and his regular position was that of a defender or midfielder, although he confesses that he started as a goalkeeper with Bright Stars, a powerful football team in the Caprivi before independence.

As chairperson of the Namibia Sports Commission, he said the Commission had tried its best to develop Sport at all levels – “facilities, coaches and structures”.
“We are still not satisfied as yet with the degree of some of our codes. Their activities (have hit) the lowest level and there is need for talent to be identified, natured and developed ...a curriculum in schools.”

“I want the youth to grab the opportunities and acquire the necessary expertise, not only on the national level but at the community level. Today’s generation is not taking full advantage of opportunities.
We want the youth to venture into businesses rather than waiting for handouts,” he said.

Mr.Simataa He is currently employed as the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education & Advisory Council on Teachers' Education and Training Secretariat.

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