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By Paul T. Shipale
“Pondo Embungu Ekwanaluhepo lyaadh’ omeya momindo”, Nom de Guerre Lungada, the lastborn of seven children of six boys and a daughter, by tate Iyambo yaShitumwa, gwaMumbadja and meme Munyoka yaShapaka, both subsistence farmers at Uukwalumbe village near Okahao in northern Namibia.

The late Yalombweleni Patrick Israel Iyambo (lungada) was born in 1939 and his mother passed on in 1941, only a year and a half after his birth. Surely, in accordance with our tradition and custom, the only elder sister, meme Lahja Ndawedha, had to assume motherly responsibilities to bring up her brothers according to a tale recounted in a book “Tears of Courage” by Ellen Ndeshi Namhila.

We heard at the Memorial Service in honour of the late Commander Nankudhu from His Excellency Dr. Sam Nujoma, Founding President and Father of the Nation, that in March 1961, His Excellency attended the Third All-African People’s Conference in Cairo, hosted by President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. While in Cairo, he requested President Nasser to offer the opportunity of military training to SWAPO and Nasser assured him of such opportunities. The late Comrade Patrick Israel Iyambo Lungada was among the first group of SWAPO’s seven first combatants that went to Egypt in July 1962 for military training.

Others were Commander Tobias Hainjeko, John Otto Nankudhu, Titus Muailipeni Shitilifa, Petrus Hambija and Lazarus Sakaria. According to H.E. Dr Sam Nujoma, these men were given regular army training with small and heavy weapons as well as marine training, parachuting, hand-to-hand combat and military topography. They were also trained as company commanders with the purpose of themselves training new recruits on their return to South West Africa-Namibia. His Excellency Dr. Sam Nujoma, again said that when the SWAPO Central Committee decided to pursue simultaneously a three-pronged strategy, the late Comrade Patrick Israel Iyambo (Lungada) acted as reconnoitre and secretary of the Commandos of the first group known as “G1” that was only armed with the two PPSH sub-machine guns and two TTpistols that His Excellency Dr. Sam Nujoma had obtained in 1963 from the Algerian Government under the leadership of Ahmed Ben Bella, first Prime Minister of Algeria. Others in this group were Simeon Linekela Shixungileni (Kambo) as deputy, Mesah Victor Namuandi (shihwanga) as chief of reconnaissance, James Hamukuaja Angula (Shoonjeka) and Nelson Kavela (Sadrag).

After successfully training young local activists in January 1966, when the late Comrade Nankudhu called a reconnaissance meeting at Ontamanzi with Comrades Simeon Shixungileni, Victor Namuandi, Nelson Kavela and James Hamukuaja, Patrick Israel Iyambo Lungada was also among that group that later engaged the enemy on the 26th of August 1966, at about 5 a.m. when the South African Security police led by Captain Swanepoel, and guided by Castoli, attacked the Omugulugombashe’s military base during a surprise attack using helicopter gunships, accompanied by personnel carriers. It was during this battle that the torch of the armed liberation struggle was lit until the final victory was achieved on the 21st March 1990 after a long and protracted war that culminated in the Epic battle of Quito Cuanavale ushering into Namibia’s Independence and the first democratic and multi racial elections in South Africa on the 27 April 1994.

The Late Lungada’s military exploits became legendary and a symbol of resistance as well as an inspirational hero, especially amongst the youth. Songs were composed based on his heroism. Following is the personal account of the events as they unfolded by Mr Johannes Andreas (Sikunawa Negumbo) well known as Shiponga shAndili Ya Negumbo. Mr Shiponga recounts that it was in 1968 when in the village called Otshiku-tshomunkete, a round village with forest surrounded by the homesteads we saw a man called “Michael Tshikongo. This man was purported to have his origin from Onaanda, a village about 25 kilometres away west of Otshikuku and is made up of people who speak Oshingandjera and Oshikwambi dialects. Mr Shiponga says they were told that this tall and physically fit looking man schooled together with Andreas Hinandiinetsha Tshimwandi at St. Joseph College Dobra near Windhoek.

Andreas was by then a teacher at Otshitutuma Primary School, a Catholic established school near their village.

Patrick was introduced to the community as a former teacher at Uutsima School. Andreas went to the extent of telling people in the village that they schooled together, and that upon completion of their teacher training course study at St Joseph College, Dobra, “Michael” went to teach at Uutsima a Catholic school, 4 kilometres away from Onaanda, where he supposedly impregnated a school girl, something that was considered unethical and was suspended from teaching, as it was a practice during those days. This was just a story spearheaded by Andreas Tshimwandi and created in order to conceal the real identity of Patrick. “This man from Onaanda”, a former teacher at Uutsima who graduated from a highly reputable Dobra school has shown the villagers that he was well brought up, culturally educated in terms of sticking to the value and norms of the society where he lived. He was helpful to the elderly people and was almost friendly to everyone in Otshikutshomunkete, Elim, Otshikuku and the surrounding areas.

According to Mr Shiponga, Patrice Israel Iyambo (Lungada) came to the village around 1968 when he was brought there by the late Leonard Tshapumba, who was also a teacher from St Joseph College (Dobra). Mr Tshapumba was a classmate and a very good friend of Andreas Hinandiinetsha Tshimwandi. In the same year, Mr Shiponga came to the village for school holidays from Dobra and found that gentleman in the village. They spend many days and nights together without knowing his real identity apart from knowing that he was a former teacher.

According to Mr Shiponga again, in 1968, ‘Michael’ went home to Ongandjera at Uukwalumbe village and rumour has it that he was betrayed by a certain man who was working in Oshakati to the apartheid South African police. It was during this time that Indeed, the most memorable moment in the combat history of lungada occurred on the night of 23 June 1968, when the South African military police arrived at the house of Ushona, his relative, while Patrick was inside. They besieged the house and opened fire and gunshots were heard all over the place with the house going in flames while bullets were flying everywhere like fireflies.

According to the book “Tears of Courage” by Ellen Namhila again, Patrick escaped unhurt because before the attack, he heard strange sounds and went outside the room to find out what was happening and realised that that the homestead was surrounded by the South African military police, so he took an ambush position and opened fire shooting the leading policeman in the head. When this policeman fell onto the ground, the rest fled from the scene abandoning him to save his own skin. With the police gone, Patrick escaped running into the grazing land of the neighbours. While he was running, he accidentally crushed an object that made loud noises and gave away his position.

The shooting resumed around the termite hills in the grazing area where Patrick dived for cover from enemy bullets, he finally managed to escape from the range of the enemy fire by crawling and realised the Boers were using dogs to follow his track through his footprints and confused the dogs with endjikawi.

The dogs smell the herbs and abandoned the search. While the Boers were still shooting, lungada tiptoed into his sister’s house and when the enemy saw him, he fought back while the enemy was thinking that they could just pick him up in the same way one harvests the frogs from their shallow holes where they cool off during the rainy season or pick him like a leaf from a tree. He fought back and managed to escape.

The battle fought by Lungada single-handedly against the South African military and police force made a big impact on many people in and around the Uukwalumbe community. There had been a big myth that there was no black man capable of facing a white man in a battle. The courage and tactical skills with which Yalombweleni overpowered the enemy, was a wake-up call that fascinated and inspired the young generation to join the liberation struggle and take up arms.

According to Mr shiponga, the years of 1970 to 1974 were the most difficult years for Lungada inside the country. A lot of money was used and offered to whoever will provide the enemy with information that will lead to him being captured or killed. Patrice also had problem in attending public hospital whenever he was sick and arrangement was made to have a lady from Endola area at Oshali sha Haikela who was a qualified nurse at Oshakati who treated him at an old woman house in Omagangalanga.

The Late Patrick was also a very clever guerrilla fighter who used intelligence methods to make sure information was available to different cells he established. Only a group of Johannes Andreas (Sikunawa Negumbo, Wendelinus Tshimwandi), comprising of very reliable friends such as Pius Linus Hinyangelwa Asheeke), Johannes Antonius (John Amutshira Tshamena), Wendelinus Johannes- Tshimwandi in whose father’s house Patrice was accommodated, knew about the existence of Patrick and they did not inform even their friends about it. Early 1972, after Patrick was advised by David ya Mwaalwa Sheehama, a businessman from Ombalantu district that he could leave the country through Ondombodhola in Angola, Patrick went back into exile.

Patrick was repatriated back in 1989 a married man to meme Ndayelelwa Johanna yaShipaxu, a teacher by profession. He passed away on the 25th July 1991 in Windhoek after witnessing the independence of the country he fought for. May His Fighting Spirit live on among us.

Disclaimer: These views do not necessarily represent the views of my employer nor am I paid to write them.


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