Accounting Officer of the City of Windhoek
Taapopi went into Angola to fight in 1974 and crossed the Namibian border again as a guerrilla fighter a year later. Left for the Soviet Union and political science studies for a year in 1977. Came back to Namibia and the fighting until a serious injury in 1980. Spent three years recovering in Yugoslavia. He was appointed Swapo Representative to the Nordic countries in 1985 and was based in Stockholm. When Namibia was free, he became the first High Commissioner in London, the Deputy Ambassador to the UN and then Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs.
Bertil Högberg: This is 13 June 2005 and I’m interviewing Nilo Taapopi here in Windhoek. We can start with your position now, you used to be the Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs for quite a number of years but what’s your position now?Nilo Taapopi: Yes, that’s true I used to be Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs for almost 9 years but one year ago I joined the City of Windhoek as the Chief Executive of Windhoek. It’s quite interesting, the job, I’m the Accounting Officer of the City of Windhoek. It’s such an exciting job you can’t believe it, finally I decided to leave the government. But anyhow since this is a local authority I’m still in a way assisting, therefore I’m really enjoying making some changes.
You recall before I joined the Home Affairs, after independence, I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
Bertil Högberg: Yes.
Nilo Taapopi: Which took me to London to open our first High Commission, the embassy, I was there for one year and then after that I went to New York, United Nations as the Deputy Ambassador of Namibia to the United Nations. I stayed there for four years before I joined Home Affairs.
Bertil Högberg: I would like to start this interview with going back, how did you get involved in the struggle?
Nilo Taapopi: You know as a youngster when I went to school, before I completed my secondary school of course, I was influenced by those days of the apartheid regime. In the school we thought, of course we had to do something about it and that was mobilising other youths to understand that we needed to liberate this country. We were fortunate of course to read about other independent countries. I quit school early at the age of 17, I left school.
Bertil Högberg: When was that?
Nilo Taapopi: In 1970 to be exact it was ’70 when I left school. Then from there I came to Windhoek, I started working there at a bottle store, I was selling newspapers, but I had my uncle in Walvis Bay where I used to stay even while I was a student, I went to join him in Walvis Bay, the political activities were really strong there. We were influenced by a number of the SWAPO leaders, Ben Amathila and many others.
Bertil Högberg: Maxhuilili
Nilo Taapopi: Yes, Maxhuilili is from there and many others. Okay, we were really very, very much influenced.
But anyhow we could not find our way to leave the country during the early ′70s but as a result of the coup in Portugal which paved the way of Mozambique and Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde, Angola, now it also really gave us hope that of course there was a possibility for us to join other Namibians who left the country for Tanzania to wage the struggle for liberation.
It was exactly 1974 when the coup in Portugal took place and when there was a provisional government in Angola. We left the country via Angola, Zambia, and then we joined the SWAPO Liberation Movement abroad. There of course we had that opportunity to join the armed struggle. Of course young as I was, others they wanted me to go to school because the party was busy organising scholarships for us, either in Europe or in other African countries, but I preferred to go to the front.
It was in 1974 when it was felt that we needed - the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia - needed some volunteers to go to Angola so that we could open another front. Before we had only one front between Caprivi and the border of Zambia but in order to wage effective armed struggle we needed to have a new front that was in the southern part of Angola and the northern part of Namibia.
In ’74 I joined the group of volunteers, 100 volunteers who came to fight in Angola. During that time of course Angola was not fully independent, all these liberation movements, UNITA, FNLA and MPLA, they were still fighting the remnants of the Portuguese soldiers. But we came and it was not easy to go as far as the southern part of Angola. We experienced a lot of problems, we witnessed many people who died from hunger and crossing of rivers because of the struggle. But I was lucky to survive all that until we reached the border of Angola and Namibia.
Then in 1975 we crossed into Namibia as guerrilla fighters, we participated in a number of battles and in 1976 I was also one of those few guerrillas who penetrated the country into the so-called police zone, that is the farming areas, Tsumeb, Grootfontein, Otavii and the Otchivarango area.
Bertil Högberg: In ’76?
Nilo Taapopi: In ’76.
Bertil Högberg: Okay, I was here in ’76, I read about these things.
Nilo Taapopi: Yes, that time you read about it, it was we who were part of those. I was a political commissar trying to give political mobilisation to our guerrillas. And I was lucky, I was slightly injured while we were in those fights then but ’76 was the end, I went back north to the northern area.
There I fell in an ambush and I was seriously injured. In fact I inhaled – the South Africans they were using this toxic agent, I was badly affected, then I was sent to the rear, back to Lubango Hospital and later I was sent to Jamba, our Namibia Health and Education Centre. That was before Kassinga was established.
In ’77 luckily I got the opportunity to go to study in Soviet Union at Komsomol that is political science. That is where really my political conviction was more sharpened; we read also the history of the Communist Party, of Soviet Union, the Labour Movement and the history of all the liberation movements. We met with our comrades from ANC, from Zimbabwe and it was really interesting to exchange views and to see how others also had been struggling.
Then from there when I finished my studies I came back to Africa, to Angola again. Then I joined the struggle, I became a political commissar and it was after the Kassinga [massacre], in ’78. After Kassinga of course we came, I joined the other comrades and by that time of course I was doing political science, I was more equipped with political ideas, I was made a regional political commissar.
Anyhow it was felt that of course the party, SWAPO, wanted to come up with a mechanised infantry unit so that, well because before it was only guerrilla formation but SWAPO felt it was important to come up now with a mechanised regular unit and I was earmarked to become the first commander of that mechanised brigade. I was sent back to Soviet Union to study for mechanised infantry brigade as a commander. I went, I spent one year there and then in 1980 I became the first mechanised infantry brigade commander of SWAPO, with tanks, with all types of things. Okay, we prepared our soldiers, I participated in the struggle, in the war against the South Africans.
You recall in ’80 the South Africans occupied the most southern part of Angola?
Bertil Högberg: So you were fighting in Angola basically?
Nilo Taapopi: Yes, basically, because we had to protect our guerrilla fighters– because we were regular unit.
Then while I was in Angola because of the situation, that ambush that I explained about when I inhaled this toxic agent, this thing came back again and I was admitted into hospital, I was seriously ill. Then I was sent to Yugoslavia for medical treatment. So it was in Yugoslavia where I stayed almost 3 years in the hospital. Ja, I went to Sarajevo, then from Sarajevo I was brought back to Belgrade and this is where I spent most of the time in the military hospital, a science academy. Okay, thank God after two-and-a-half almost 3 years I recovered and I was sent back, I mean I came back to Africa.
Then in ’84 I was transferred from the battlefront to the diplomatic front. I was sent to East Germany by them as a SWAPO Deputy Chief Representative to the GDR. By that time our offices they covered a number of the former socialist countries, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, I used to visit all those countries, we had a number of students who were studying there, I used to visit them, I used to make contact with the governments of those former socialist countries. As you recall, of course, we enjoyed material and arms support from them also.
While I was there in 1985 I was appointed as the SWAPO Chief Representative to the Nordic countries. Then I had to be based in Stockholm. I was really happy when I learned that the party had decided to place me there.
Bertil Högberg: Why were you happy?
Nilo Taapopi: I was happy because I had only been living in socialist countries, I wanted to compare what I had read, what I had heard. I had a lot of questions. In the Nordic countries of course we have these democratic parties and there is a multi-party system, it was something, which I was looking forward to experience. At the same time I was a little bit worried, I didn’t know how they were going to behave because the only experience I had was from the eastern part of the world.
1985 I came to Stockholm, I was very happy when I was received by my colleagues, it was Jimmy Josef who was representative at that time but he was in hospital, so it was Shikwetepo Haindongo who was there. The place where he introduced me for the first time was the Africa Groups. There was a meeting and he told me “I’m going to introduce you to the NGOs, here we have active non-governmental organisations”. He was telling me about AGIS and about ISAK and many solidarity groups.
When I went there of course I was worried how I should behave, should I put on a suit, should I put on jeans and I used to wear a beard and when I met the AGIS members, the members of Africa Groups and ISAK I was happy because I could feel that we spoke the same language, they were really well informed about the struggle of southern Africa in general and of Namibia in particular. With other people who had been there, some they were in South Africa, and they could tell me the stories and I started really to make friends with the AGIS people. They took me out of Stockholm I remember, of course we had Emmaus and Bread and Fishes, where we used to go and try to help those people who were preparing, or collecting clothing to be sent to Southern African Liberation, either to ANC comrades or to our SWAPO comrades and others.
Then of course when I joined our office in Stockholm I remember our office was on Kungsgatan, which was where we had our offices where I used to work from. Of course I had access to the government, I used to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden but I was also introduced to the other Nordic countries: Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. I used to travel extensively, not only in Sweden but to those countries as well.
But I can tell you when I came to Sweden, at that time I had just got married one year ago, I managed also to bring my wife and while we were there one of our daughters, Esther, who is a big girl now, she’s now at UNAM, she was born there. And I really enjoyed to work with the NGOs in the Nordic countries, but in Sweden in particular because of, you see, all the campaigns in which really I don’t know whether they helped me or I helped them to spread the message, the solidarity to get the people, the Nordic countries and Sweden in particular, to support and understand the type of liberation, the struggle Namibia had been waging under SWAPO.
With ISAK at that time, ISAK is the Isolate South Africa Committee, we were trying to - a lot of meetings had been arranged, I have crisscrossed Sweden, I was in Umeå, I was in Gothenburg and other towns to address the people about the struggle. I recall people wanted to know why the issue of Namibia was linked to the presence of the Cubans in Angola. I used to explain that of course the presence of Cubans in Angola was the agreement between the two sovereign states that is Angola and Cuba, it had nothing to do with the independence of Namibia. It was during that time when the Reagan administration tried to link the Cubans’ presence in Angola to the independence of Namibia.
We really managed to mobilise the people of Sweden to support our struggle. It was mainly material support, financially, diplomatically but of course AGIS mobilised also some volunteers who went to go and work with our people in our camps, for instance in Kwanza Sul in Zambia. And that was really important for me to do that work.
There was a time when our leaders back in Luanda, among them is the current Head of State, comrade Pohamba, used to come to Sweden during the budget time to discuss the issue of how much and we’d see the government and NGOs make some funds available. We needed to come and explain what kind of budget, what that would have to cover, how many students we wanted to bring in, in which field we needed the students to be educated and sometimes we needed some vehicles, we needed some food stuffs and all those kinds of stuff.
Bertil Högberg: Did you participate in those discussions at SIDA on the budget?
Nilo Taapopi: Yes, for all those I used to prepare for the discussion. I remember a lady by the name Inga- Lill with SIDA, yes, because we started of course we had to prepare with SIDA as to – and we used to be informed that “Such an amount of money has been made available so we want you to come up with a project, in which project this money is going to be spent”. Yes, I participated in all these discussions.
As I said, of course I learned a lot. One example is all those many parties, Social Democrats, you have the Green Party, you have a Centre Party and Communist Party, and it was really interesting to understand how people with different ideologies could live in harmony. I was also impressed by the system in Sweden, or rather in the Nordic countries, that is the social responsibility to take care of the unemployed, to accommodate the immigrants from different countries with different reasons, some they are political, some they are economic and refugees. Really we enjoyed staying there because we were welcome to be in Sweden.
Of course I knew Namibia would be free one day, I never thought that this would happen during our lifetime but as we continued to propagate and spread the message of the liberation struggle it was in our lifetime Namibia got independence and we came back. When we came back it was those Nordic countries which really take a lot of my heart because it was where I learnt most of – really a lot of things, apart from the armed struggle, the diplomatic things, how to negotiate, I really – because I was really treated more or less just like other diplomats from independent countries. We had our budget, SIDA covered our budget, I had my own vehicles, we had drivers, we had staff, some locally recruited staff who were working for the office, and I used to be invited by other diplomats, some ambassadors, for instance on the issue of SADC or the African Diplomatic Group, I used to participate actively and sometimes I used to be invited to go and brief them on the progress of the struggle.
Bertil Högberg: You talked about the importance of what you learned on the political side of the multi-party system and the social security systems we had. You’re not the only one in SWAPO that has got that kind of experience from the Nordic countries how much do you think that has influenced SWAPO over the years?
Nilo Taapopi: Oh, yes, I can tell you immediately - when we came back among the leadership who became Cabinet Ministers, we have Nahas Angula who is the current Prime Minister, you have Tjitendero, you have Kaire Mbuende, you have the current Head of State, I can mention them as the students who studied there. When we came back of course a policy of national reconciliation was introduced by government, we realised that of course in a multi-party system you need to accommodate each other’s views, that’s something which really surprised most of our people, more especially those whom we found at home. They expected that now as it was said that we were communist influenced we would come and establish the one party system and all those kinds of things.
To be honest we learned a lot from the Nordic countries, especially when it comes to multi-party democracy or a multi-party system. Here we are, we have a number of political parties who also participated in the first democratic elections and the campaign was run in true democracy. But I can tell you we were influenced by the Nordic countries, that’s why up to today you will see that.
Bertil Högberg: Has the influence anything to do with the large support itself from the Nordic countries?
Nilo Taapopi: Yes, as I told you especially the non-governmental organisations, the NGOs or the solidarity organisations, they also, especially the medical doctors, they came to stay with us in our camp. The Volvos, those vehicles from Sweden, they also took a special place among our people, Sweden became closer to our people because of their people, their products which we have been consuming and using, the solidarity we received either in the form of our people going and experiencing from their schools, or working together with them. That’s why I said Emmaus, those places we used to go there as students and do the work and stay with the people. We were not only exposed to the system at the political level, at the grass roots also we had an opportunity to experience their way of life. That influenced our people really very, very much.
Bertil Högberg: Are there any special memories, special highlights from your time in the Nordic countries that you would like to bring up?
Nilo Taapopi: Yes. You recall it was at that time when the Prime Minister of Sweden was assassinated, Olof Palme.
Bertil Högberg: Yes.
Nilo Taapopi: I recall there was a big conference which was organised by the People’s Parliament Against Apartheid. That one was my first encounter where I was exposed; I had to stand in front of a big group explaining on the struggle of Namibian people. I learned a lot how the people, Nordic, have really been in solidarity with our people. That one really has a special place in my heart, it will never, never vanish from my mind.
Bertil Högberg: That was also the situation where Palme gave his last public speech?
Nilo Taapopi: Yes, it’s where he made his last speech. Then another highlight I do recall is I had an opportunity to see how Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson and other leaders could be invited by solidarity groups, NGOs, and their humble way of doing things, the Nordics. The Prime Minister was addressed by his first name, Ingvar, that one I enjoyed, and I’ve been really – and the humbleness of them, they were not really that pompous, you must really know him to know that this one was a cabinet member and whatever. Those things I cherished.
But I recall on the eve of independence, I mean before we returned back home, a lot of meetings had been held so that I could go and brief the people about the development and the one which I enjoyed most as a special occasion was prepared for me on the independence of Namibia. The independence of Namibia was also specially celebrated in Stockholm; for me to have this opportunity to address such a big group and to congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Yes, I really cherish – I never really spent most of the time enjoying myself, rather I had to attend several meetings, to brief people about the struggle that took much of my time. That’s why my kids they missed me most of the time because I have been on the move, if I was not really somewhere up in Umeå or down south in Sweden I was in Finland or in Norway or in Denmark. I recall how I would travel almost every second day to Arlanda Airport in order to take the plane to Denmark or Norway or Finland.
I also enjoyed the system, how my kids had – they enjoyed the school, I never paid for school, they have been schooling there and those are really things which up to now live in me, I have them in my memory and I don’t think Sweden will vanish in me – in fact it’s part of my history.
Bertil Högberg: What was most surprising when you came to Sweden? What surprised you?
Nilo Taapopi: Now, what surprised me when I came to Sweden, as I said, was that of course it was the first country I visited with this multi-party system. It was the first country and contrary to what I was told that in capitalist countries there is a lot of unemployment. And I was shocked to see a socialist country of another type, because that social system, they had a social security system, it really surprised me.
And the freedom of speech. When I was in the socialist countries of course their freedom of speech was not that much really, you know you had to count your words and what you had to say, but freedom of speech, freedom of press, to criticise, that constructive criticism principle, that’s what really I learnt there. That freedom of press of course impressed me.
Bertil Högberg: Were there any frustrations? You mentioned that you were about too much, travelling and so on, were there other frustrations that you had in your work?
Nilo Taapopi: Yes, I will really fail if I don’t tell the truth that I can’t recall that I went to a number of nightclubs in Sweden. Young as I was I was looking forward at least to go to some nightclubs and whatever but the frustration was that we had few Namibian students in Stockholm, they were outside of Stockholm or most of them were either in Finland and wherever. Whenever I wanted at last to mix with these people from Namibia to do this I would find them outside of Stockholm. Sometimes I feel that one day I will really do that. Of course I had also other opportunities to socialise with some Namibians.
But I must also mention that one of the highlights was, I recall, when the UNTAG, the implementation of Resolution 435 was implemented and people had to come back home to campaign, I remained in Stockholm to mobilise the resources, the financial resources, and to see to that as of course the people at home they needed some materials, some equipment which were sent from there. But I was given the opportunity to go home to register for elections.
Now when I booked the plane from Arlanda I found I was supposed to come via Frankfurt and straight to Windhoek. But when I arrive in Frankfurt it was indicated Frankfurt-Johannesburg- Windhoek, and I was very worried, I thought “If I happen to go through Johannesburg I might end up really –″, because you know at that time South Africa was not really democratic, they got their democracy in ’94. We were together with my wife and our little one, the girl; I couldn’t imagine what would happen to us if we went to South Africa. But apparently the plane was to come first to Windhoek in Namibia.
Bertil Högberg: Did you see any difference in the operations of the NGO and solidarity sector between the different Nordic countries?
Nilo Taapopi: Yes, though it was not really that much. But of course in Sweden, for instance, the anti-apartheid movement and solidarity group they were much stronger than for instance in Finland and other countries. AGIS had a lot of members and they had a lot of projects, various, not diversified. We have the medical team, you have those who are engaged in collecting the second-hand clothes, you have those who are lobbying the government, you have those who arrange some meetings in order to give more information. Yes, that which you might not find in Norway and Denmark, of course Sweden was really leading when it came to the non-government organisations or solidarity groups. I was very, very impressed. You didn’t need to go to a hotel whenever you travelled, all the places I have been you were always accommodated. In every town you had these solidarity groups, AGIS was really countrywide arranged, every town you found members of AGIS and whenever you were there the accommodation was being prepared for you. That’s really what I realised about the solidarity groups, more especially AGIS, Africa Groups of Sweden, really they have been very, very active. And they are knowledgeable. I found it easy because almost every second person you came across could speak English, it’s where also I never had some difficulties, unlike when I was in Germany when I had to struggle to speak German, when I was in Soviet Union I had to learn to speak Russian, but the only problem I got is that I could not speak good Swedish because everyone who came close to you spoke to you in English.
Bertil Högberg: What has become of that type of relationship? You kept your friends in Sweden?
Nilo Taapopi: Oh, yes. We still kept our friends in Sweden. I recall before I handed in my letter of resignation to the Minister of Foreign Affairs I met the former ambassador of Sweden to Angola, Mr Sten Rylander with his wife Berit. And when I came here I found him as the ambassador to Namibia, yes and I have really a number of people who are really close to me. The history is the best judge, the verdict you cannot put aside, and it’s because of that history that the good link and relationship with Sweden is still continuing.
Bertil Högberg: Have you been back in Sweden since those years?
Nilo Taapopi: I went back to Sweden once, only once. I was really unfortunate. Okay, immediately after the independence I went back because we went to identify the property, the new embassy and some residences, but while I was in London as a High Commissioner there I also made a trip to Sweden once.
Bertil Högberg: Did you encounter any problems in the relationship with any organisations or institutions in the Nordic countries?
Nilo Taapopi: To be honest no, I didn’t really, we didn’t. SWAPO enjoyed that support, even with political parties we never really experienced any big problems. We had some NGOs like DAPP, this organisation of course I had some slight difficulties with them because of the nature of their style, how they were working, but it was not really something which I could not understand. I knew their style of working was different from AGIS. But there was nothing really, nothing that I can really emphasise that I had difficulties with. I really enjoyed staying there, the enjoyment I mean was of course the support I got to help me to understand things and to explain the position of SWAPO and our people, that really helped me. Even after the independence when I came back home I was really able to be useful, not only during the struggle but after the independence as well. Hence I was entrusted with that responsibility to represent my country in these two positions, one in the United Kingdom and the last one at United Nations.
Bertil Högberg: You said that you met people that were knowledgeable about what was going on but did you not find them naïve in any way?
Nilo Taapopi: Of course, yes I recall there were some products, for instance South African products, which were boycotted and especially in Sweden and there was that boycott campaign against those. I was wondering but why are these people even more committed than the Namibian people who have really struggled? Because you found that some people – fortunately by that time I was not consuming any alcohol because of that problem I had – but you found that some people who wanted to enjoy the South African wines, they had to look around to see where these anti-apartheid groups were, if we were found entering a bottle store and buying a wine made in South Africa or any products of South Africa they could even really attack you, saying “Of course you have to boycott that’s why we have the Isolate South Africa Committee”. Okay, me I was wondering “Are they naïve or are they really people who are committed? And even more committed than some of us who were born in apartheid and are supposed to be even more radical then themselves?” I was also impressed or sometimes I could not understand how really these people were so committed, sometimes they sacrificed even some of their time to do something else in order to –they put much effort into producing some materials in the form of placards, in the form of T-shirts, in the form of literature which could really help people to understand. No, I really experienced this diversity and wondered how really people – Yes.
Bertil Högberg: What was the significance of people visiting in both directions, that you had Namibians in the Nordic countries and also that people went and worked in the camps? How did that play a role in mobilising, do you think?
Nilo Taapopi: You know as far as the South African government, more especially where Namibia was concerned, the Nordic countries were, until really at the last minute before independence, not considered as that dangerous to the struggle for the downfall of the apartheid. That’s why we managed to have access home either through those who could come to Namibia or to South Africa under certain pretexts. The church connection also helped because in the Nordic countries the Lutheran Church and the other churches also played a big role. They could arrange some meetings where you could bring some church leaders and some students under the pretext that they had come to attend some church conferences and meetings but it facilitated for us also to be able to get more information and to find out what really was taking place.
I recall when the mother of the founding President of Namibia, comrade Sam Nujoma, was assaulted by the Koevoets, [SA-Army unit] and we wanted her to come out for treatment, it was done through the church. Of course we arranged everything and she came out and doing that we were lucky and happy to see her and that was only because of the hard work of the Nordic countries because they had their different style of doing things.
Of course many countries throughout the world helped us but the relationship of the Nordic countries with our liberation struggle was unique. It was unique in the sense that there were a lot of opportunities for us to get in touch, to be in touch with Namibia. For instance, one was able to call home though of course if they discovered it they might monitor your telephone and whatever, but that opportunity was there unlike in other countries where of course the link which was not there.
Bertil Högberg: The Stockholm office did play quite a role in the connection between the inside SWAPO and the exiles?
Nilo Taapopi: Yes.
Bertil Högberg: I remember that from the time when I was in the office, but did that continue during your time as well?
Nilo Taapopi: It continued, it continued but of course we were doing it mainly through London. Sometimes we could do it straight. And one time also the technology improved, then we had faxes, we could – I recall I used to call Lubowski when he was alive here if something was written in the newspaper, for instance The Namibian, he could make some photocopies and fax them to us and we were the ones to send them or we used to send these faxes to Luanda so that they knew this was what had happened. They can tell you “Oh, Yes, today such-and-such things happened in Windhoek”, “Could you fax it to me?” I recall that.
Bertil Högberg: That’s what we did in the ‘70s as well via telephone and telex.
Nilo Taapopi: Yes, we got faxes. I recall we got these fax machines from one of the labour movements, they supported us with a number of faxes and we were able to send some of these faxes into Luanda as well. Even in London before they started with faxes I recall comrade Shapua, I was telling him “Please if you had a fax I could send you the news about what they said today in The Namibian” he said “What do you mean? What is a fax?” because in those days it was only telegrams you could put things in and send, but this fax in our office it played a big role really to link Namibia with other parts of the world.
Bertil Högberg: Okay, I think we got a good view of what you were doing. Is there anything more you would like to add?
Nilo Taapopi: I just want to add that one day when I write my memoirs …
Bertil Högberg: Yes, and we are waiting for that moment.
Nilo Taapopi: …at that moment of course I’ll make sure that I say much because, as I said, this is the country where I went for the first time when I got married, my children were born there, they went to school there, I have really a lot of really – my history is very, very much enriched by Sweden. I was influenced by the people of Sweden when it comes to being humble, to taking everything easy. That of course will never disappear in me, I realise that everything is that you need to respect people and you must take it easy. That I really cherish and I hope it will help me too when one day I write my memoirs.