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Let us forever remember Cassinga

By Dr. Elijah Ngurare, Secretary of SWAPO Party Youth League

On the 21st March 2012, I was humbled to travel via Air Namibia for a first visit to Luanda, Angola in a delegation headed by Comrade Lt-Gen. Martin Shalli (Ret.). For me and other young leaders in the delegation, this visit turned out to be a historic educational tour.

Our mission was to attend the commemoration of the annual Namibian Week in Angola courtesy of the Namibian Embassy in Angola under H.E. Cde. Grace Uushona, who mobilized funds from business people in Angola and Namibia to eventuate our trip. A special lecture was organized and cochaired by JMPLA and SPYL under the theme "Angola contribution to the liberation of Namibia" and the 24th Anniversary of the Battle of Quito Quanavalle. The lecture took place at the MPLA Headquarters in Luanda.

Indeed as SPYL and the JMPLA we were privileged to be lectured by battle-tested veterans of the liberation struggle such as Lt-Gen. Shalli on the Namibian side and General Matheus on the Angolan side amongst others. We were lectured about the fact that our gallant and youthful freedom fighters victoriously won the battle of Quito Quanavalle in 1988. We were reminded about the invincibility of PLAN combatants who spearheaded the campaign against the occupation enemy and won significant battles since 1966. And that faced by the guerilla superiority of PLAN and the professional evasiveness of our combatants, the enemy stooped so low in battle by resorting instead to targeting innocent and defenseless women and children at a refugee camps such as Cassinga, Oshatotwa, and many others.

This historic lecture provides a fresh reflection as we remember and commemorate the 34th Anniversary of Cassinga Massacre which took place on that fateful day of 4th May 1978 at Cassinga, Angola. In the same vein, we honour and remember the memories of the fallen compatriots whose blood waters our freedom.

The brave men and women, living and dead, who struggled for our independence, we must never forget! Indeed, we must continue to dedicate ourselves to preserve our political independence and to complete the unfinished work of genuine economic independence that we must boldly advance to practically benefit all our people in 107 Constituencies and 13 Regions.

It is pleasing that some members of the SWAPO Party and its Wings in Kavango and Ohangwena Regions respectively have gone to pay ocular respect to the fallen heroes and heroines of Cassinga. They traveled by road since early hours of yesterday. Today they are at Cassinga. For the survivors and fallen compatriots of Cassinga, and for generations of Namibians and Angolans, let us, the living, resolve to dedicate our energy and resources to not only put up a monument but also an interactive museum to be remembered by all generations at Cassinga. The survivors of Cassinga too deserve a special and material recognition and honour.

We remember Cassinga in the knowledge that the war for liberation was waged on all fronts: in our cities, towns, villages, mahangu fields, classrooms, churches and in particular on the diplomatic and military fronts. In other words, ours was a liberation struggle which must continue to bring revolutionary change in our society for the benefit of all our people, especially those in rural areas, those in informal settlements, unemployed youth amongst others. The fruit of independence, 22years later, must no longer be promised, but rather be felt by all. This was the cause for which some of our best sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters sacrificed their precious lives and for which hundreds have been maimed and crippled. Therefore, in honouring those selfless martyrs and heroes, we fought to win not only politically but also economically. Thus, everything and every effort was devoted to the struggle and for the final victory.

I therefore call on all of us especially the youth of Namibia and in particular the membership and leadership of SPYL and Pioneer Movement to rally behind the task which the SWAPO Party and its government have set for Namibia through our 2009 SWAPO Election Manifesto, NDP4 and Vision 2030 by ensuring that we remain committed, determined and a united people.

United we have been; but let us further cement this unity and use it in implementing the Political Programme of SWAPO Party. This means collective action and, above all, mutual respect, nationalism, vigilance, patriotism, hard work and discipline! This we must do as a fitting tribute and out of respect for the fallen heroes and heroines such as those mowed down by apartheid bullets at Cassinga, Southern Angola!



SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura