Heroes of Namibia

26 Aug 2015 11:30am
KEETMANSHOOP, 26 AUG (NAMPA) – The reburial of two of the three identified Namibian heroes will take place at the Heroes’ Acre outside Windhoek on Wednesday. It is reported that the special honouring of Anton Lubowski has been deferred to a later date due to logistical limitations and deliberations with his family that shortened the time for exhumation and interment to take place.
Lubowski, Moses //Garoëb and Peter Mweshihange are being saluted 25 years after independence for their individual contributions to the fight for the liberation of Namibia from apartheid-era South Africa.
Thirty-seven year old Lubowski died in a hail of bullets from a passing car on 12 September 1989 in front of his home in Sanderburg Street, Klein Windhoek. Lubowski had just got home and was getting out of his vehicle, briefcase in hand, when he was assassinated by a group of assailants yielding an AK-47 automatic rifle. The young anti-apartheid activist, advocate, Swapo member and father of two, died during the election campaign preventing him from witnessing Namibia’s independence in March the following year.
Born in Lüderitz on 03 February 1952 to parents Wilfried and Molly, Lubowski was 13 when he was sent to school in Stellenbosch, Cape Town after which he did a year of compulsory military training in Pretoria, followed by law school at Stellenbosch University and later the University of Cape Town.
Back in Windhoek as a lawyer at Lorentz & Bone in the late 1970s and early 80s, he became politically active as he increasingly represented black political cases. In 1979, he met top leaders of Swapo during a trip to Botswana, Angola and Zambia while on a mission to find information relating to a case he was defending.
The young revolutionary, who became known as ‘the white son of Swapo’ officially joined the party in 1984. The period that followed was marked by international trips as a Swapo delegate advancing the ideals of the movement and the country in its fight for freedom.
He was part of peace talks in Lusaka, met the French foreign minister in Paris on behalf of Swapo and was part of the delegation to an international conference for the immediate independence of Namibia in Vienna in 1986.
That same year, Lubowski, who had socialist economic views, joined the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW). By 1987, he was director of Namlaw, an organisation initiated to draft legislation for possible implementation after independence.
As Swapo activist, Lubowski was detained six times, two of which he spent in solitary confinement.
Shortly before his death he became a member of the Swapo Central Committee.
Lubowski’s death remains a mystery; it is however generally presumed that he was killed by operatives of a South African hit squad.
//Garoëb was born in !Arixas near Mariental on 14 April 1942 to Samuel Geingob and Rebecca Geingos. Aged 17, he took an active part in the Old Location demonstrations resisting the forced removal to Katutura. //Garoeb went into exile in 1961 as a member of Swanu of Namibia, joining Swapo later that same year in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
He then went to the United States of America where he studied political science at the University of Rochester in New York. During this time, he became a petitioner to the United Nations on behalf of the Damara Executive Council.
Back in Dar es Salaam in 1966, he became a broadcaster with ‘The Namibian Hour’ – which was beamed into Namibia from Tanzania, becoming the editor of Swapo newsletter ‘Namibia Today’ later on.
In 1970, //Garoeb became a member of the Swapo Central Committee.
He represented Namibia at the UN Security Council in 1976 – where Resolution 385 was adopted. This led to the adoption of Resolution 435 in 1978 – paving the way for Namibia’s independence.
Regarded as smart, outspoken and fearless, he became the country’s Minister of Labour and Human Resources in 1996.
On 19 September 1997, //Garoeb, afflicted by diabetes, died still serving in this position.
Peter Mweshihange, Namibia’s first Minister of Defence, was a Namibian revolutionary and guerilla fighter. He was one of the founding members of Swapo alongside the likes of Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, Emil Appolus and Fanuel Kozonguizi.
Born on 05 May 1931 at Epinga to father Shilema and mother Naemi, Mweshihange started school at St Mary’s Missionary School at Odibo. In 1946, he left the village for Tsumeb where he got a job as a truck driver.
With that background, he later became head of transport services at the South West Africa Native Labour Association, an organisation that recruited migrant labour for mines and farms in southern Namibia. It was here that his resistance towards racism and the contract labour system started.
Mweshihange was arrested in Rundu in 1954 on his first attempt to go into exile. Evading conviction, he left for Johannesburg where he worked as a miner, then as a chef for the French Consul-General in Cape Town. He joined the resistance movement and then followed Sam Nujoma into exile through Botswana and Zimbabwe to reach Tanzania in 1960.
During his time there and in Ghana, he enrolled for courses in teaching and political science and became Swapo’s representative in West Africa.
Mweshihange served as Swapo’s Secretary for International Relations from 1970 to 1986, when he was appointed as Secretary of Defence.
Having received military training in the Soviet Union, he is said to have played a transformative role in the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), where he was a commander.
The first Minister of Defence until 1996, he became Namibia’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, a position he held until his death on 20 March 1998 while on a home visit to Windhoek.