By Major - General J. B. Tjivikua
Commander Hanganee "Katjipuka" Kavezeri, a hero, a fighter who never took cover in battles. Commander Hanganee "Katjipuka" Kavezeri was a descendant of the heroes and heroines of the 1904 - 1908 anti-colonial war of resistance against German fascist imperial troops.
He was born in 1940, in Maun, Republic of Botswana, to Mrs. Louise Opperman Tjetjoo and Mr.
Opperman Kavezeri, both deceased, with lineage to the Tjamuaha Royal clan.
He was a brilliant student who completed Form V at Maun Secondary School. Urged by love and
undivided loyalty to his ancestral home, Namibia, like many children of the forebears of the German
genocide scattered in the diaspora, who never forgot their mother tongue, roots and where their parents
came from, he went into exile in 1963 where he joined the South West Africa People's Organisation
(SWAPO) Liberation Movement at the age of 23, to fight for Namibia's self determination and independence.
He graduated with a BA degree from Ibadan University (UI), one of the most prestigious universities in
Western Nigeria. Upon obtaining his degree, he returned to Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania,
and the SWAPO leadership intended to send him for further studies in Great Britain but Commander
Katjipuka opted to go to the battlefront.
Commander Katjipuka received military training in the former Soviet Union (USSR) and in 1976 he
became the Deputy Regional Commander of the Eastern Front, in the Republic of Zambia, deputizing
late Commander (Tate) Amunyela Wa Shalale, under the overall sterling command of the People's
Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) Deputy Army Commander, Lt-Gen. (rtd) Salomon Hawala.
He was affectionately known as "Commander Katjipuka" well known for the use of old wise adage
"The security of life is to have no fear", when addressing troops, for his habitual in front leadership of
battle formations and for his unique commando style of not taking cover in battles.
On the fateful day of March 1977, a reinforced detachment comprised of gallant fighters from A, B, C,
and Morning Star detachments of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) at the Eastern Front
commanded by fearless and battle tested Commanders, viz, Lazarus Amutele and Phillip Nambuli made
a daring attack and destroyed a South African trenched military base at Kamenga, Kwando-Cubango
area on the Namibia/Zambia frontier, with heavy artilleries and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy
forces. As a result, a fierce battle ensued.
As the battle was rattling, Commander Katjipuka with his small group of battle hardened fighters who
were based at Omufitu Wa Mako (Mako Forest), advanced forward towards the battlefield in a daring
attempt to reinforce and join the ongoing battle. Little did they know that the reinforced detachments of
fellow combatants who were battling the racist soldiers made some tactical manoeuvres and withdrew
from the battlefield, after destroying the base.
While in combat formation and proceeding to the battlefield, Commander Katjipuka and his group,
including the well known Lt-Col. (rtd) Josephat "Nandos" Mbako, a former Field Communication
Officer, fell in an enemy ambush and the battle started. Late Comrade Mbengela who hails from
Kavango Region and who was operating a machine-gun was shot dead and Commander Katjipuka
suddenly seized his machine-gun and continued firing endlessly, changing his hands and manoeuvring
his combat skills between a machine-gun, his AK 47 assault rifle and a TT pistol.
The enemy called in a reinforcement of an air borne division and assault helicopters and it was during
that intense exchange of heated gun fire that an enemy assault helicopter was shot down with a DCK
machine-gun by late Comrade Hanne Onesmus, whereby a South African Defence Force Area Commander
and a pilot were instantly killed.
Many fighters who were with Commander Katjipuka sacrificed in that battle, with dead bodies of
enemy soldiers strewn on the battlefield. The quantities of ammunition the fighters were carrying, were
now running low. Commander Katjipuka despite the tragic and sudden loss of manpower and fire power,
continued firing incessantly, hitting the enemy soldiers one by one, but, although he was later on shot
and seriously wounded, he continued fighting to the end. His fate remains a mystery. This battle was
then baptized as the "Battle of Singalamwe".
Commander Hanganee "Katjipuka" Kavezeri was a legendary brave Commander, an acute reconnaissance
commander, a brilliant military strategist, a skilled communicator and a genius who was
exceptionally loved and well respected by all in the ranks of the Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia
He commanded and fought countless fierce battles, such as the battle of Sinjembela, the battle at
Kaunga-Mashi, in the Kwando-Cubango area, where late Commander Israel Patrick "Luganda" Iyambo
was shot in the left arm while making a daring attempt to capture a wounded enemy soldier alive.
At the battle at Ulawa, in Kwando-Cubango area, Angola, it is where Upahee Alfons "Dr" Ngeama, a
former Regional Medical Officer, warmed up a blade of his combat knife on a rudimentary flames of a
tiny fire which was hastily made, to clean off bacteria and performed a surgical operation to remove a
bullet that was stuck in the vertebrae of former Ambassador Comrade Kondja Kambala, who was
severely wounded before carrying him on a home-made stretcher through reeds and crocodiles infested
tributaries of the Cuando River to Zambia.
His rare photograph was given to me by his late partner, comrade Maria Amakali, a former PLAN
combatant at Nyango Refugee Camp in Zambia in 1978 when their beloved daughter Unomuinjo (Uno)
Katjipuka, a practising Attorney in Windhoek was probably a month old.
Commander Hanganee "Katjipuka" Kavezeri is survived by his three siblings, two sisters and a
brother. He's surely missed by his fellow combatants. Ombande, Hijoo!
NB:Major-General James B. Tjivikua is Deputy Inspector General for Administration.
He is a former combatant and commander in the People's Liberation Army of Namibia,