Saturday 17 April 2021
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When a giant leaves the room

I always find it hard to speak about the dead because although the facts, timelines and life events are easy to narrate, the tough part is speaking the essential truth of a person since the private moments, trying times and sad moments that illuminate the soul is hardly spoken of. Speaking the essential truth is tough because only you know who you really are. In this case only Desie knew who he really was.
But one thing I knew for sure is that he loved a good bottle of wine and cooking.
Despite that, I can say as friends we shared a lot; our fears, doubts, life goals and happy moments.
It was back in 2011 when I joined New Era as an intern that I met the vibrant yet meticulous man whom I would years later call a mentor of note…friend and brother. Through articles that I crafted at the New Era, it was him, Chrispin and Toivo that made sure that my journey into the world of news was smooth.
What impressed me most about Desie is the fact that he treated everyone in his circles like he would treat his own family. I will say with confidence that there is no one in this hall who has interacted with him that did not feel Desie’s warmth.
His death is a time of mourning just as it is a time to rejoice for a life well lived because it provides us with an opportunity to self-reflect in a deep and honest manner regardless of our circumstances. True to human nature, Desie was not a flawless human being. He made mistakes as a father, friend, sibling, son and colleague, but one thing that was certain is that he was always ready to accept consequences of actions without shifting the blame. Despite the burdens he carried, he was selfless and helpful whenever called upon.
I can therefore confidently say that nothing he achieved was inevitable, we can all achieve the greatness he did by emulating his hard work, honesty, dedication and humbleness he so often projected.
A true giant of our media fraternity, it is hard to believe that Desie was born far from the corridors of power who would later emerge as one of Namibia’s famous and most-trusted journalists, one that holds a sharp pen that spits fair ink.
But like other giants of the Namibian media like Gwen Lister and Rajah Munamava, he fought for what is just and strived for the things that would better our society instead of himself.
To my fellow media practitioners, we must remember that the struggle that followed the victory of media freedom after independence is not over, simply because we still see our people suffering, children sleeping on empty stomachs, hospitals without medicine, women getting raped and killed. Desie did his part, it is up to us to do our part now.
He would say “my brother, let us not suck up to politicians, it should be the other way around”.
And I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiments, there are too many leaders who claim to fight for media freedom yet act cold when the media holds them accountable. In fact, many claim solidarity with the media, but only when it’s not them on the front pages.
As the media it is our job to ensure that we have leaders who put the interests of Namibians firsts. We must forge to become the kind of society that fights until we have leaders and not dealers leading us, we must persevere until we have leaders who are exemplary teachers and not cheaters. It is the only way we can fight the scourge of poverty that continues to threaten peace in this country.
These are not easy things to change and cannot be achieved without selflessness, the type of selflessness Desie practiced when he had to drop out of school due to a lack of funds and craft a career being a voice for the voiceless.
We will never see the likes of Desie in our media fraternity again, but to my colleagues in the media, we can embark on the improbable journey which Desie took and achieve what he did. I am proud to have known him because he always made me want to be a better person.
Desie was very empathetic towards everyone in his life, hence I appeal to all of us not forget to pray and care for his little princess, Pandu.
I say this because we all know she meant everything to him. Their bond was so tight that despite her tender age, you would find them laughing, arguing or conversing like two elders. With that said I humbly request that we guide her or assist her where we can or when need arises because he would have done the same.
Let us all search for the honesty, humility and selflessness he displayed during the 39 years he walked this earth.
To Desie’s family, we thank you for sharing him with us.
Desie, we will miss you dearly, may God bless the Heita family.

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