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Anuwa? - Part 41

By M'kwanailya wa Mweuta
Too many to comment on. What a week it was. The determination of one's age is the counting of how many Cassinga days and May Days one has observed in both pre and post independent Namibia. I never imagined that the mortar and guns sounds I heard, the war planes I saw flying past our homesteads and the army trucks returning from Angola in a joyous mood could be observed on a national day 36 years later Growing up close to the Angolan border was one reason which discouraged me from joining the liberation struggle abroad and rather stayed at home and make sure that there is always enough mahangu meal in a storage in case Kati the plan fighter and his colleagues (I wonder who he is today) pass by and demand food as they return from their mission on their way back to Angola.

The motto in my village was "when in grow up I will also cross the border" after the sounds of Thursday the 4 May 1978 the mood totally changed. When the bombing started, I remembered my mom woke us up at least to die together as she thought that the bombing has started in Ombandja and will end in all nearby villages of Onawa, Oluvango and Oshipaya.

By the Almighty's grace, the sounds of bombs eventually stopped in the morning but the war planes where still hovering around our homesteads. It was Accession Day and we totally refused to walk 5 km to church as we did not know what the bombing were all about. The questions were too many in the absence of radio news or newspapers we did not know whether the bombing were to be extended and rumour in fact spread that anuwa the planes went to fuel. They finished killing all the Aambandja and Ovakwanyama in Angola and will come for those close to Namibian borders.

If after 36 years I still develop goose bumps when I recall the sounds and sight of those planes in the sky, and the fact that the distance between my village in Namibia and Cassinga in Angola is about 100km, I do not want to imagine the feelings of those who survive the attack today.

These feelings I am sure are not only confined to the survivors of Cassinga but also of the Battle of Ongulumbashe in 1966, Ohamakari in 1904-1908 and the battle of 12 April 1893 at Hornkranz. The Ohamakari battle for example is known as the divisive battle which led to some otjiherero speaking Namibians fleeing to Botswana.

Anuwa today the offspring of the offspring are not entitled to the Namibian citizenship. If an oversight was done it should be corrected. Whatever technicality it must be rectified. Our down south neighbor is the classic example of how to handle the offsprings of the offsprings.

Having realized that Namibia was a fifth province of South Africa before attaining its independence in 1990, there is a provision in its immigration laws allowing all Namibians born before 1990 to apply for SA citizenship if they so wish. On the basis of our historical relationship, Namibia ought to extend the same privilege to the tribesman/ women sharing Namibian Angolan borders from Kunene, Kavango and Zambezi rivers plus all the Otjiherero speaking Namibians in Botswana irrespective of their generational level.

Agreed, our supreme law might have overlooked some of today's emerging immigration challenges. But again let us agree to rectify them. No amount of amnesia can justify our reluctant in this regard.


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