'Salute freedom fighters thrown into the ocean': Pohamba

27 Aug 2013 04:30
OMUGULUGWOMBASHE, 27 AUG (NAMPA) - Thousands of Namibians converged at Omugulugwombashe in the Omusati Region to pay homage to all freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives during the struggle for the country’s independence.
Heroes’ Day is commemorated annually in Namibia at different places.
This day was designated as such because it was on 26 August 1966 when colonial South African troops attacked the Swapo military base at Omugulugwombashe, forcing pioneer Plan (People’s Liberation Army of Namibia) fighters to fight back to repel the attack.
On Monday, Namibians from all over the country attended the event, which was also witnessed by visiting Senegalese president Macky Sall.
Cultural groups such as Bullet ya Kaoko, the Thsekuhwama traditional dancers, a ‘Nama Stap’ dance group and the Ndilimani Cultural Troupe entertained the gathering, while OvaHerero men also paraded their horses.
The event saw hundreds of OvaHerero people in attendance, led by OvaMbanderu Traditional Authority Queen Aletta Nguvauva.
The attendance of so many OvaHerero for the first time follows a directive by Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako for his subjects to attend this year’s commemoration of Heroes’ Day.
Speaker after speaker emphasised the importance of the day in the history of the liberation struggle of Namibia.
At the start of his speech, President Hifikepunye Pohamba asked the gathering to observe a minute of silence in remembrance of those who had died during the war of independence.
In his moving speech, Pohamba called on Namibians to salute those who were injured, maimed and tortured by the reactionary forces of the then-apartheid South African regime.
“We salute our freedom fighters, who were poisoned and thrown into the Atlantic Ocean,” he said in a sombre tone.
He also called on Namibians to salute their fellow citizens who were roasted alive because of their support to the cause of freedom and independence.
“We pay tribute to those who died in apartheid colonial prisons.
We stand here and proclaim that their sacrifices were not in vain. The hardships and suffering that they endured were crowned by the final victory that we celebrated on 21 March 1990, when Namibia joined the community of nations as a free and independent republic,” he noted proudly.
Namibia is now free, and free forever, the Head of State said, adding that the destiny of the country is in the hands of Namibians now.
He furthermore called on Namibians to work harder to make the country a winning nation, and to do their best to secure a brighter future for future generations.
“This we will do in honour of those who made the supreme sacrifices for Namibia’s freedom,” he indicated.
On his part, Founding President Sam Nujoma said it was not easy to embark upon the journey of the armed struggle.
“Thousands of Namibian sons and daughters shed their precious blood, and sacrificed their lives for our freedom,” said Nujoma.
He said thousands of Namibians suffered at the hands of the colonial forces, with some dying in prisons while others disappeared without trace.
“Thousands of others had their properties destroyed, including their homesteads and mahangu fields. But our people never wavered until the final victory, which was achieved on 21 March 1990,” he stated.
The event also saw the unveiling of a statue of Nujoma for his role during the liberation struggle.