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Who was Patric Iyambo Luganda? Part 4
- Preparing the way to exile

By Sikunane Negumbo
After the Carnation Revolution (Portuguese Revolução dos Cravos), also referred to as the 25 April (Portuguese: 25 de Abril), which was a military coup in Lisbon, Portugal, which overthrew the regime of the Estado Novo which ruled Portugal since the 1930s.

The revolution started as a military coup organized by the Movimento das Forças Armadas (Armed Forces Movement, MFA), composed of military officers who opposed the regime, but the movement was soon coupled with an unanticipated and popular campaign of civil resistance.

This movement would lead to the fall of the Estado Novo and the withdrawal of Portugal from its African colonies and East Timor. The name "Carnation Revolution" comes from the fact that almost no shots were fired and when the population took to the streets to celebrate the end of the dictatorship and war in the colonies, carnations were put into the muzzles of rifles and on the uniforms of the army. The Portuguese celebrate the national holiday of Freedom Day on 25 April every year to celebrate the revolution.

There was a group of comrades who were given responsibility to listen to the radio, especially to BBC focus on Africa. Comrade Patrick himself was always fast-fixed to the radio and would get angry if one of us spoke or made a noise while there was news on the radio. It was on the BBC radio that a coup in Portugal was announced. Comrade Patrick immediately organised a meeting to discuss the matter and plan ahead. This meeting was only attended by very closest and trust worthy comrades of Patrick. I was one of them. Those that I can remember who attended that meeting were Simson Tshivolo, Eino Kalola, Wendelinus Tshimwandi, Paulus Nkandi aka Paul Meleki, and others who I cannot remember their names now.

The news on a successful military coup in Portugal spread like bushfire in the whole Namibia. Branches of SWAPO Youth League and some structures of the mother party in Namibia started mobilising the youth to leave the Country to join the liberation war through SWAPO.

Patrick sent messages to the close cell members to do the same. Secrets meetings were held during the nights to mobile the youth under the chairmanship of comrade Patrick. In those meetings it was decided that a resonance group must first be sent to Oshikango to check the situation there. These groups would also check the several possible entry points into Angola. There were also comrades closed to Angola who were entrusted with the duties of monitoring the enemy movements at the borders. Some comrades went to Oshikango pass Eeshoke to investigate the situation and came back to report. I informed comrade commander Patrick that I needed to go to Windhoek to withdraw my money from the Backleys Bank.

Those days there was only BBK banks in the north. I went back to Oshakati and informed comrade Sam Tshivute who was one of my reliable comrades that I was leaving for exile as we had discussed at my place with him the previous day. But first I was going to Windhoek to withdraw my money from Backleys Bank. Comrade Tshivute also said he was also leaving the country but wanted first to find out whether his fiancée was because she was also willing to go.

When we reached Windhoek, Comrade Sam Tshivute changed his minds. His fiancée Elizabeth by then had a baby and I think the comrade did not want to leave the baby only under the care of a young lady.

Nevertheless, we went back together to Oshakati. On our way, he was lecturing me why we must not all leave the country. He informed me that you would come to fight inside the country and that there would be no committed cadres to welcome you and provide you with useful information on the enemy movement.

Comrade Sam Tshivute was one of SWAPO Youth League Branch Executive members. Because he was older then all of us, we elected him as an adviser. He was the one who advised us to report our intention of forming a branch to the leaders such Jonas Shoombe, Skin Hilundwa and Mr Shamena. He also advised that Mr Emmanuel Engombe and Fillemon Moongo, a worker at Oshakati hospital could also be informed about our idea.

When we reached Oshakati, I immediately went home and found comrade Patrick and the group that decided with me to leave the country already gone. That evening, the South West African Broadcasting Cooperation also announced the young people who left the country. I listen to the BBC radio and it confirmed the departure of the comrades. I went back to Oshakati and informed Tshivute that I was leaving the next day and asked him whether he changed his mind so that we could go.

Comrade Tshivute was adamant that the coming fighters would need the support of the people locally and advised that I go with his brother, Gehas Tshivute, who was a BBK Bank worker.

That night, I informed the mother of my two little lovely daughters that I was going into exile. After we had agreed, I went to tell my mother that I was leaving the country. The next day, Sam and Gehas, my young cousin Apolonia Niingwande left for the borders. Thomas Uulenga who was working at the BBK butchery and owned a vehicle took us to the borders.

Gehas Apolonia and I got out of the vehicle and carefully checked what was happening around us as instructed by Comrade Patrick. We said goodbye to Namibia and crossed into Angola.


SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura