Namibian youth know little of national heroes

26 Aug 2015 07:50am
WINDHOEK, 26 AUG (NAMPA) – Namibian youth appear to be ignorant on what Heroes’ Day is and why it is important to be commemorated every year, despite the country enjoying 25 years of independence.
Nampa visited a number of tertiary institutions to find out what the youth had to say about the three Namibian liberation struggle heroes who will get a resting place at the Heroes' Acre on Wednesday during this year’s official commemoration of the blood sacrificed for independence.
Late Swapo Party Secretary-General Moses Garoeb, Namibia’s first Defence Minister Peter Mweshihange and anti-apartheid activist Anton Lubowski will on Wednesday receive an honoured burial at the national shrine of Heroes’ Acre, in honour of their contributions to the African country’s struggle for independence.
Most participants of the Nampa survey were not aware of who the three veterans were, nor were they aware that they were going to get a heroes' burial on Heroes’ Day this year.
“I am not so good with history, so it will be really hard form me to know these people,” said Selma Shavuka, a student at one of the institutions.
She explained that she has never heard these names before and that she is only familiar with few Namibian heroes such as Sam Nujoma; late Chief of the Nama people Hendrik Witbooi; late king of Ondonga Nehale Lya Mpingana and the late Chief of the Herero people Samuel Maharero.
She defined Heroes’ Day as a day in which people celebrate the deaths of the heroes who fought for the liberation struggle of the country.
“Why would someone go dig out the remains of someone who is already buried? Are they going to do that with all the late heroes of Namibia and how do they come up with these days of when to bury these heroes?” asked Moses Moses, also a student at one of the tertiary institutions.
He said he feels it is wrong for Government to remove the remains of these veterans and reburying them, as this is a sign of disturbing them, while they were supposed to be resting in peace.
The Government of Namibia has vowed to continue searching for the graves of persons who deserve the national hero status, as many are lying in unmarked graves around the country and neighbouring countries where they died during battle.
One of the students who asked for her name to be withheld said the only thing she knows about Moses Garoeb is that he has a school named after him, the Moses Garoeb Secondary School in Windhoek but she does not know why the educational institution was named after him.
“Is it Heroes Day for the whole African continent or just for Namibia?” asked another student who also requested anonymity.
He said History was not his favourite subject at school and that’s why he never took it seriously, adding he disliked it because it was a combination of three histories: the Namibian History, African History and World History, of which World History dominated the secondary education curriculum. He said he found topics such as World War 2 irrelevant and therefore had no interest in the subject.
Late Lubowski, who was an anti-apartheid activist and lawyer during the liberation struggle, was assassinated on 12 September 1989 while leaving his vehicle in front of his house in Sanderburg Street, Klein Windhoek.
Mwashihange was a veteran politician and also Namibia's first Defence Minister between 1990 and 1995. He died in a Windhoek hospital at the age of 67 in March1998 while serving as Namibia's High Commissioner to the People's Republic of China. He also served as Swapo Secretary for Defence from 1985 to 1989 and was a member of the Military Council of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan).
He was buried in the Old Location cemetery in Hochland Park together with Garoeb.
Garoeb was Swapo Secretary-General between 1990 and 1995 and was a member of the Swapo Central Committee and Politburo until his death on 19 September 1997 of diabetic complications.
On 26 August 1966 the first shots were fired in Namibia's war for independence at the battle of Omugulugwombashe in Namibia's central Northern regions. This day is celebrated every year on the 26 August in Namibia to commemorate the deaths of the Namibian heroes whose blood waters the countries freedom during the war for independence.
This year's Heroes Day will be commemorated at the Heroes' Acre in Windhoek on Wednesday.