Renaming street after Simon never considered

By Michael Uugwanga

IN his prime Harry ‘Terminator’ Simon was arguably one of if not the greatest boxer of his generation, but recognition of his feats is somehow lacking in Namibia as compared to the recognition that Frankie Fredericks, Johanna Benson and Ananias Shikongo received from government and the corporate world, such as having a street named after them.

Fredericks has a street named after him in Windhoek, the same applies to Benson in Walvis Bay. Government is also in a process of honouring Fredericks’ sporting achievements with a statue at the Independence Stadium.

Benson was also honoured with a diplomatic passport by then President Hifikepunye Pohamba after winning a gold medal in T37 200m at the 2012 London Paralympics Games.

Simon continues to receive praises from outsiders for his marvellous record of becoming the first Namibian to win a world boxing title. He won the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) junior middleweight title from 1998 to 2001 and the WBO middleweight title in 2002, and currently holds the longest undefeated streak in boxing history, at 24 years.

During the early years after Independence, former President Sam Nujoma in his speeches never used to forget to include Fredericks and Simon whenever he spoke of the heroes and heroines of the country.

Simon at 47 years is still active in boxing and has a record of 31 fights, winning all fights, with his last fight going back to November 2018 when he defeated Kaminjah Ramadan of Tanzania at the Ramatex complex in Windhoek.

Responding to queries from Confidente Sport as to why there is still no street named after the legendary boxer, Walvis Bay municipal spokesman Kevin Adams said it was the public that must propose renaming any street to the municipal street-naming committee.

He said though that the people of Walvis Bay have not forgotten the achievements of Simon over the years.

“Although no street has been named in Harry’s honour, his accomplishments have been appropriately acknowledged by the Municipal Council and residents of Walvis Bay.

See extract below from a press release issued on 24 August, 1998, for example: “As the country celebrates Harry Simon’s new status as WBO light middle weight champion of the world, Walvis Bay is bracing itself to welcome back our latest hero. On behalf of all the residents, the Walvis Bay Municipal Council congratulates Harry on his outstanding achievement at the Carousel in South Africa last Saturday.

By snatching away the title from Ronald  “Winky”  Wright, Harry now joins an elite rank of sporting giants, and being young enough, should be able to remain a champion for many years to come. At the same time, we salute the former boxing great, Brian Mitchell, for steering Harry Simon to the title. The Council would hereby like to encourage all residents of Walvis Bay to give Harry the welcome he deserves at the local airport when he arrives in a few days’ time… Walvis Bay Municipal Council is also planning to host a reception in Harry’s honour as soon as his busy schedule allows it.”

The street naming committee receives nominations from the public or institutions for consideration. Adams said, “According to our records, no nomination for the renaming of any street in Harry Simon’s honour has been received to date. The committee tasked with naming streets and suburbs always considers nominations fairly and objectively, and within the rules governing such a process.”