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SPYL pays tribute to Mudenge

Edward Kafita
The leadership and the rank and file of the SWAPO Party Youth League would like to pay their tribute to Comrade Isack Stanislaus Gorerazvo Mudenge, the former Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs, who passed away on 4 October 2012.

We mourn the loss of a Comrade, who astutely championed the cause of our liberation and we reflect back on the energy that Comrade Mudenge has expended for most of his young and productive life, to ensure equality for us all, in the Southern African Region.

Comrade Mudenge will be fondly remembered as an astute Diplomat, Culturalist, Historian and Educationist, who devoted much of his time fighting repressive laws in his home country of Zimbabwe, as well as in Namibia and South Africa.

At Zimbabwe's Independence in 1980, Comrade Mudenge was tasked to establish the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and advise and guide his Minister, on matters of diplomatic and international concern.

His work as Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs was exemplified by the Africa Department's preoccupation with the independence of Namibia.

Five years later, he was appointed as Zimbabwe's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, where he worked until 1990. Coincidentally, that is also the year in which Namibia gained her independence.

Comrade Mudenge did not only serve Zimbabwe at the UN but he is known for having spearheaded the drive for Namibia's Independence and South Africa's freedom from apartheid rule. He worked tirelessly with the likes of current National Assembly Speaker Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab and seasoned diplomats like Ambassadors Hinyangerwa Asheeke and Monica Nashandi, who were manning the SWAPO representative office in New York at the time.

He was a key feature at the UN Security Council debates, which would be packed to the rafters, to listen to Comrade Mudenge, articulating the case for Namibia and South Africa's liberation.

His subsequent assignments as Chairman of the Coordinating Bureau of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) and his involvement in the Frontline States presented him with a platform to champion the cause of Namibia and South Africa, without fail.

After the unfortunate and barbaric attack of PLAN combatants on 1 April 1989 at Ondeshifilwa, the Frontline States seconded Ambassador Joseph Legwaila to understudy Martti Ahtissari, who was then the UN's representative in Namibia, to oversee the transitional process to independence.

It was Comrade Mudenge, as Chairman of the Non Aligned Movement at the time, who wrote a letter to the UN Security Council President to consider South Africa's noncompliance with the requirements of the Council's Resolution 435 of 1978, under which Namibia was to gain her independence. As fate would have it, Comrade Mudenge was part of Legwaila's team, which midwived Namibia's Independence.

Between 1992 and 1995, Comrade Robert Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, appointed Comrade Mudenge to the portfolio of Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education. With Namibia continuing to be his 'pet project', Comrade Mudenge facilitated the expansion of the Teacher Training Programme, for Namibian teachers. He had in fact just continued doing for Namibians what he used to do when he assisted Namibian exiles to study at various institutions in Zimbabwe, before Namibia's independence. Tens of Namibians have benefited from the Teacher Training Programme and many are now occupied as teachers all over the country. He is indeed the umbilical cord that bound Namibia and Zimbabwe from the days of the Struggle to the present day, when both Countries are free and fighting for economic freedom.

For all his work as a Freedom Fighter for African Liberation, particularly for Namibia and South Africa, Comrade Mudenge earned himself the honorary position of 'African Minister of Foreign Affairs'. He deserves such and honour for the tireless work and energy he has put into seeing his fellow Africans free from colonialism. The SWAPO Youth League, its leadership and rank and file, are deeply saddened by the demise of Comrade Mudenge, a camp fighter for Namibia's liberation.

Our country, especially, has much to cherish and learn from a man who selflessly dedicated his life and time to fight for the freedom of another country. We will forever be indebted to Comrade Mudenge for the struggles that he fought in the diplomatic boardrooms of the United Nations, the NAM and the Frontline States to secure our liberty.

He leaves us with valuable lessons to fight for and care for those in need as if they were your own. It is indeed a lesson that the SWAPO Youth League will embrace and put to great effect. Our resolve is therefore that in memory of Comrade Mudenge, our two sister Youth Leagues will work closer together to ensure that the values that our late Comrade and Hero has stood for, will be passed on to future generations. Even in his death, he will remain the umbilical cord that binds us.

LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTIONARY SPIRIT OF COMRADE MUDENGE! Comrade Edward Kafita is the SPYL Secretary for International Affairs, a member of the SPYL 5th Central committee and National Executive Committee of the 5th Central Committee of the SPYL.


SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura