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Who was Patric Iyambo Luganda? Part 3

By Sikunane Negumbo
According to some of his relatives, Patrick Israel Iiyambo was born on the 01.01 1938 at Uukwalumbe in Ongandjera district. His birth place is only 6 kilometres western part of Okahao proper. He left for exile in the early 1960s and was sent by SWAPO for military training. He was known by people for various reasons. Many people knew Patrick Israel Iyambo because they grew up together; some knew him because they were his parents and relatives, while others knew him because he was their comrade at the military training schools or colleges where he was trained.

His fellow combatants knew him, for together they engaged the enemy at the battle fields. Many of our people came to know him on the basis of a conspiracy theory that was created that he was a super natural being who could change from himself to any living organism such a lizard or any type of an animal, including a donkey. People who stayed or lived with him during his nine years of being pursued by the enemy knew him as a sophisticated, clever and probably a welltrained combatant, brave with stubbornness/perseverance characters.

Patrick was a difficult person to convince but was a good listener who was committed to the cause of SWAPO. Patrick Lungada walked SWAPO, he spoke SWAPO, and he dreamed SWAPO. Through him you see a SWAPO cadre, even during that crucial time when the enemy was seriously after his life, Patrick stood firm and was never threatened by their military and financial power.

The elderly people in the areas where Comrade Patrick lived for seven years knew him as a highly discipline and rained teacher who was very helpful to the older people. Although they never attended church services with him, they considered him to have been a committed Christian. In the environment of Otshikuku and Onatshiku, he was known as Michael Tshikongo who was a school mate of Andreas Tshimwandi and Leonard Tshapumba at St Joseph College. Dobra. This was the name he was known by our people in Uukwambi district until he left for exile in 1974.

For some us, it was an honour and privilege to have been associated with Patrick Israel Iyambo as we came to know about him later that he was the most wanted person in the land by the colonial power at that time. It was in the middle of 1968 when I physically met a strange and well-dressed man who was introduced to me as Michael Tshikongo. This extra ordinary looking gentleman in his thirties with clean shaved beards had a hat on and was dressed in a short safari suit made from high quality materials.

In those days, those types of safari suits were only supplied by Johannes Shangheta from Oshakati and put on by well-to do middle class people in the whole former Ovamboland. Apart from a short safari suit he was putting on, he also put on a hat and spectacles similar to those given to individuals by optometric to enhance reading abilities or improve distance visibility.

The first thing a thought of this strange man was that he was either a teacher or a business person. During our first encounter, Patrick was trying to use Oshikwambi dialects but could not master it. My friend in whose father's house he was staying interrupted our discussion and said: Tshiponga, this man is a friend of my brother and he is from Uutsima where he is a teacher. They schooled together at Dobra and graduated the same year".

Immediately after my friend had finished with the introduction, Patrick went in to lecture me on how people from Uutsima and Onaanda speak. "Those people are confused for they imitate both Aakwambi and Aangandjera when they speak. I really do not know what to call them". Later I realised that Comrade Lungada was trying to camouflage his origin and identity. The fact that he was from Ongandjera, he used Uutsima and Onaanda as the concealment point for his real origin.

What surprised me more was the way Patrick was talking to me. He behaved as if he had met me some years before. When I met comrade Patrick, he pretended to know everyone in my village and their totems. He told us about all the people in the village starting from the old people and their children even about the big boys who are working in the south (Windhoek and Tsumeb). Comrade Patrick surprised me when he told me about my mother and her brief autobiography. He told me that my mother was not born at Otshikutshomunkete but at Otshikuku and only moved to the earlier village at the instruction of King Iipumbu to his father in order to give up their land for the first Catholic missionaries.

His appearance had influenced us to believe he was a teacher. He looked very athletic and we wished him to become a football coach for a soccer team at our village or in the Otshikuku area and or for the school going children in the village. Comrade Andreas was so influential in the area and we trusted and believed in him as a leader. We supported Patrick because we were told he was a schoolmate of Andreas and that he was a teacher.

The villagers were convinced by Andreas that this man had his origin from Uutsima near Onaanda, a village about 25 kilometres south west of Otshikuku which is inhabited by people of Otshingandjera and Otshikwambi dialects. We were told that this tall and physically agile looking man schooled together with Andreas Hinandiinetsha Tshimwandi at St Joseph College at Dobra. A story about him being Hinandiinetsha former schoolmate was concocted by those who knew who he was in order to camouflage him and was told in order to conceal his real identity. The community was informed that he was a teacher who taught at Uutsima primary school, and was fired due to the misunderstanding that developed between him and a school principal.

Andreas Hinandiinetsha Tshimwandi spearheaded this concealment story with outmost care and very few selected individuals were informed about it.

"Michael" went on to teach at Uutsima a Roman Catholic school, 4 kilometres away north of Onaanda after he completed his study at St Joseph College at Dobra. While a teacher at that school, the disguised story went on, he had a problem with the headmaster of the school and was suspended for a year. His parents, apparently got disillusioned with his behaviour, and were infuriated with him, considering the investment they incurred in his education. It was told that his classmate Andreas invited him to stay with him until his one-year suspension from teaching was over. Many people in the village however had difficulty to agree with the notion that this highly discipline and well behaving man could misbehave himself against a school headmaster for they found him to be an exceptionally well behaving individual.

"This man from Onaanda, a former teacher at Uutsima who graduated from a famous and highly reputable St. Joseph College Dobra has shown the villagers that he was brought up well, culturally educated in terms of keeping to the values and norms of the society where he lived. He was helpful to the elder people and was almost friendly to everyone in Otshikutshomunkete, Elim, Otshikuku, Ogongo, Omuthitugwonyama, Oneeya and the surrounding areas.

After leaving Namibia for exile, one day I met comrade Iyambo at Oshaatotwa, a SWAPO military training camp. We discussed for sometimes and asked me about my health situation of my shoulder and back which were hurt in a vehicle accident in July in 1973 in Namibia. I told him that the pain was no longer frequent and that I could go for weeks without feeling pain. We revised our home cassettes and had time to ask him many things that I was not able to do while we were inside the country.

At the end of 1968, Patrice Israel Iyambo (Lungada) came to my village after staying with the late comrade Leonard Tshapumba and comrade Eino Kalola. Comrade Tshapumba was trained as a teacher at St Joseph College (Dobra) and was a classmate and a very good friend of Andreas Hinandiinetsha Nuuyoma Tshimwandi. He taught at Oneeya Primary School with his friend Eino Kalola from Onatshiku (Elim).

Later in 1974 Comrade Kalola joined the People Liberation Army of Namibia and is currently a retired Lieutenant Colonel. When comrade Tshapumba was recruited to work for the Suidwes Afrika Uitsaai Kooperasie in Windhoek (Southwest African Broadcasting Cooperation), Oshiwambo Service, he brought this fighter to his friend to be with him. In the same year, I came to the village for a school holidays and found that gentleman in the village. Most villagers, if not all, talked good about him.

He was always the first to start at weeding come together works (eendjambi/oondjambi) and the agricultural fields fencing works in the village. If he found a lady whether young or old, pounding the millet to flower, he would take over the pounding responsibility and the lady would only be responsible for sifting. We spent many days and night with him without knowing his real identity apart from knowing that he was a suspended teacher from one of our catholic schools.

Sometimes we talked about politics with him and he never showed us that he was one of the fighters that engaged the Boer soldiers and the police thugs at Omugulugwombashe, Oshikango and Uukwangula battles. As stated somewhere in this article, we lived with him knowing him as a teacher from Uutsima and that he was a school mate of Andreas Hinandiinetsha Tshimwandi at St Joseph College Dobra.

THE DEATH THAT CAUSED A BATTLE BETWEEN COMMANDER PATRICKAND THE ENEMY

In 1968, a relative of comrade Lungada passed on and Patrick told his trustworthy Comrades Eino Kalola and Leonard Tshapumba that he wished to express his sympathy to his brother and his other relatives at the villages hence he wished to go there. Apparently comrades Kalola and Leonard advised him against the idea to visit Ongandjera district.

After he convinced them that nothing would happened to him, they eventually let him go. Since his bicycle was not good mechanically, Comrade Eino Kalola gave him his to use to go to Ongandjera. According to Comrade Kalola and what Patrick told us one night, at one of our usual political and briefing meetings, on his way to his village, he was unfortunately spotted by an agent of the apartheid South African police who was his village mate and reported him to the apartheid South African Police at Okahao.

When they met, that agent changed his face and looked nervous upon which Comrade Patrick noticed from the way the agent was behaving that something was not right. That made comrade Patrick to prepare for any eventuality. Patrick told us that he felt that something was going to happened and that he started preparing for whatever was going to happen on that night.

After the enemy agent reported Comrade Patrick to the enemy, they (the enemy) did not take time to prepare the battle. Their aim was most probably to kill or arrest him. They organised a group strong enough to fight him and capture him when possible. The group was under the command of a warrant officer of the racist South African force, who with his juniors surrounded the house of Lungada's brother during that middle of the night. Commander Patrice saw them while they were moving towards the house. A white policeman who was a Warrant Officer commanded the group and led it to the gate of the house with a lighting touch. Commander Patrick informed us that he was dead ready for them and for any consequence thus he waited until they reach a killing range, he opened fire at the incoming light, fatally shot the enemy commander in the face. Unconsciously and dead, the tall and huge enemy commander jumped in the air and fell down. He said that he was dead sure that his bullet had struck him properly and that there was no way the enemy could have avoided that. He said that he could not remember a day he had missed a target closer as that one in his life time. He then as a well-trained guerrilla, directed the fire to the other incoming enemy policemen who retreated running in a confusion and disorganised pattern with their tails between their legs. They ran away faster like a gazelle or springbok being chased by savage dogs to their vehicles which were parked far from his brother's homestead. He told us that he avoided putting his pistol on automatic due to the fact that the bullets were very scarce during those days. Some of these apartheid sycophants could not remember where they had parked their vehicles and left them where they had parked them just to find themselves at Oshakati town about 74 kilometres from Okahao.

One of the vehicles that were used by the police at Okahao battle at the homestead of Patrice's brother or those that went to brutally kill his brother hit a village headman to death on their way back to Oshakati on the gravel road between Otshikuku and Oshakati near a village known as Okaku. The deceased man Leonard Amunyela was a village headman of Okaku and a father of one of my best friends. Patrice retreated rolling around an anthill and was nowhere to be seen. A rumour was created by the people that he changed into an anthill and disappeared. That rumour spread like bushfire and many people were talking about it. They would even tell us about a SWAPO "terrorist" with super natural power.

We had a problem to know who spread this rumour about comrade Patrick changed into an anthill for there were no many people at the battle apart from commander Patrick, his brother and his sister in law. We suspected that the coward enemy soldiers might have spread this gossip. It was nevertheless a good gossip that worked well to the advantages of Commander Patrick. All what we could confirm as true was that the anthill around which Comrade Patrick rolled in a high speed to retreat suffered brutal destruction through firepower by the enemy trying to kill commander Patrick whom they were sure had changed into an anthill or had taken refuge in the anthill. The story that the Boers destroyed that anthill was told by the villagers who witnessed the apartheid soldiers shooting the anthill a day after the battle.

That was the day they came back to the spot and savagely beat up Comrade Patrick's brother to death. Comrade Patrick informed us how he had executed the Okahao battle at his brother's house effectively. He told us that he had no time to inspect the spot but sent someone who did it for him. This battle resulted in heavy casualties on the enemy side. The group commander was annihilated by the fire from Comrade Patrice's pistol and members of the enemy police/soldiers went leaking the wounds of his bullets.

The only casualty on his side was his innocent civilian brother who was killed by the police the following day. Later Comrade Patrice told us about the brutal way in which his brother was killed. According to him, his brother was killed in a worse brutal way more than a killing a dog suffering from rabies. He informed us that the death of his brother had not demoralised him and that it strengthened his morals to fight the enemy. He promised to fight the enemy until Namibia was free or until he was killed.

He informed us that the war of the liberation and freedom would intensify, the enemy would be frustrated and that the people's properties would be destroyed. He predicted a crucial time in our country in which more innocent people would be killed by the enemy and that many families in this country will lose their relatives. Meanwhile he advised that we must be prepared for much difficult times to come. We must not give up or surrender for surrendering was a sign of cowardice. He said that in his political dictionary, there was no a word such as "surrender" due to the enemy pressure. The story about this battle from one of the heroes of our land was very interesting to listen to, but was at the same time frightening to all of us as we were all militarily not trained thus we actually listened very attentively. The girls who were with us asked him how he got out of the surrounded house.

He told us that some of the apartheid machineries actually responded by shooting towards him while they were retreating. He then retreated speedily rolling around an anthill and the next day, he reached Omuthitugwonyama and narrated the story to his Comrades Leonard Tshapumba and Eino Kalola. When I returned to Namibia in 1989, I visited Comrade Patrice Israel Iyambo at Swakopmund in 1991 where we reviewed our past stories. I asked him where he stayed after that battle. He informed me that the late David Sheehama (David Amwaalwa) a business man in Ombalantu at Onakayele and who was one of his reliable supporters had earlier introduced them to some people at Odombodhola in Angola where they would always be retreating whenever the situation was hot in Namibia and staying until the situation normalised.

He informed me that he went there and stayed for two to three weeks. When he was telling us about Okahao battle, one could notice and appreciate his bravery from his face. He told it with pride and Elizabeth and Katrina who were members of the cells and were present were very impressed. One of the two girls was a daughter of tate Tshimwndi, the owner of the hosting house and the father of Andreas Hinandiinetsha Tshimwandi and Katrina Mpingana Aquirinius Paulus was my cousin from Otshikuku who was a friend of Elizabeth and was one of his principal supporters and protectors.

Katrina left the country in 1974 and joined PLAN in Zambia. This time was a time of political mobilisation by the apostles of SWAPO spreading the word of the liberation struggle. In a group 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, I suspected that all of them knew about the existence of Patrick Iyambo in the village but nobody took chances to discuss that issue.

Many people in the area were lucky to have been associated with "Michael" who was considered to be a very friendly and hardworking teacher from 'Onaanda'. Many people who worked together to hide the real identity of Patrick did not know each other's work nor did they knew that all of them knew that Michael was actually the Patrick the Boers were looking for.

After I underwent some basic military training in SWAPO, I came to understand that in fact Patrick had establish cells made up of individuals who socially knew each other but who did not know each other's functions or duties as far as the duties to conceal his identity. Some people did not know each other in terms of whether they knew about his existence. I think I was in the cell comprised of Simson Tshivolo a nephew of a wellknown business person Leonard Nangolo Mukwiilongo, Paul Johannes Nkandi, aka Paulus 'Meleki', a brother of a businessman Melkisedec Johannes Nkandi, Wendelinus Johannes Tshimwandi, Elisabeth Tshimwandi, Katrina Mpingana Aquilinus Paulus. After independent of Namibia Katrina Mpingana was employed in Windhoek and later transferred to Otjiwarongo and later to Hardap.

He (Patrice) was a very intelligent and ingenious guerrilla fighter who used a 'separation standard' method in working with his cells. He made sure information or tasks given to different cells for execution, depended on the trust he had on them and were kept exclusively to those and were not known by other cells. Patrice used this system to manage the outflow or inflow of information from or in his cells in order to prevent things from going wrong. During our political and general briefings meetings in the evenings, which were in the majority of cases were held in the open spaces and in the nights, he always told us that the leadership of the movement in Lusaka was happy with the manner and way in which we were rendering help to him. He always conveyed warm greetings from the leadership to us. He never told us how he communicated with the SWAPO leadership, but we all believed that the possibility was there for him to communicate with the leadership.

At the early time of staying with him, many people of our cells believed that Patrice had some super natural strength that could enable him to communicate to the leadership. As time went by, we realised that he always talked about the leadership for him to remind us that if anything happened to him, the leadership would know that we were responsible for that. His political education to us was in the majority of cases about how good it was to be a free nation, free from the domination by foreigners and that the process to get that freedom required sacrifice.

He told us that for people in Kenya and Algeria to get their political freedom, some people had to die. We came to know more about independent counties and about nations in Africa that were at that time still fighting for their freedom from Patrick aka Michael. He had radicalised many of us and we wished to listen to his political stories at all time.





CONTACTS

SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura