01 Jul 2013 11:10
WINDHOEK, 01 JUL (NAMPA) - A Walvis Bay man who, amongst others things, carried around messages on the whereabouts of the South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) and Koevoets at the age of 13, has been granted veteran status.
The now 42-year-old Titus Paulus Shikongo was introduced by the Ministry of Veterans Affairs? Deputy Minister, Hilma Nikanor at a media conference organised specially for that purpose at the ministry?s head office last Thursday.
He was a mere 13 years old when he suffered physical and emotional trauma at the hands of SWATF and Koevoet members during the years before Independence, and it was announced last week that he was seeking recognition as a veteran of the liberation struggle.
Handing over Shikongo?s veteran registration approval letter and card here on Monday, the Minister of Veterans? Affairs, Nickey Iyambo said although applicants had to be 18 years and above at Independence in 1990 to qualify for veteran status, Titus?s case is unique due to the physical and mental scars and the trauma that he had to bear almost his whole life.
He was 17 years old in 1990.
Speaking through a translator last week, the Oshiwambo-speaking Shikongo recalled a day in 1986 when SWATF members were pursuing some People?s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) combatants who had spent the night at his father?s homestead.
?On 28 June 1986, the Koevoets came back to our house and they were looking for me. But I was not at home that particular morning, as I was sent by my mother to go and fetch a friend of mine. The Koevoet followed our footprints until they caught up with us at the homestead of Uushona wa Peter at Ethindi village. They (Koevoet) started beating and kicking me, demanding that I should tell them the whereabouts of the PLAN combatants,? he said.
After Shikongo refused to give them the information they wanted, the Koevoet apparently make a fire and then started swinging Shikongo?s body over the flame while holding his arms and legs.
They later left him for dead, but he survived and was taken to the Onyaanya Uukomangele Clinic some two days later. From there, he was transferred to the Onandjokwe Lutheran hospital where he received treatment for three months.
Shikongo, who has never had formal education or work, is unmarried and has no children. He currently resides in the Tuyoleni settlement of Walvis Bay.
As a recognised veteran, he will receive N.dollars 50 000 as a token of appreciation for his contribution to the liberation struggle, as well as a N.dollars 220 monthly allowance and a house.