30 Apr 2016 10:40am
OHANGWENA, 30 APR (NAMPA) The Cassinga survivors travelling to Cassinga in Angola arrived at the Ponhofi Secondary School in Ohangwena on Thursday, where they met with former President Sam Nujoma.
The chairperson of the national committee organising the trip, Ignatsius Mwanyekange said the group had to meet with Nujoma to receive his blessings before going to Cassinga.
The founding father was the commander-in-chief when the attacks occurred, therefore we had to inform him on his farm about the trip and he gave us gifts such as water and wished us well for the trip, Manyekange told Nampa.
The about 300 survivors who are led by Minister of Safety and Security, Retired Major General Charles Namoloh, Thursday embarked on a trip from Windhoek to commemorate Cassinga Day on 04 May. This is the first time in 38 years the survivors visit the site in Cassinga.
Cassinga Day is a Namibian public holiday held to remember the lives lost during the Cassinga Battle in 1978 when the South African Defence Force attacked a Swapo base and the refugee camp at Cassinga in Angola.
Manyekange said it was not easy for Namibias first president to meet with the survivors.
It was very emotional for Nujoma and Swapo-Party Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba to meet the survivors, who were very young during the attacks.
When we met him on his farm, the founding father was dressed in an overall, which to us symbolises dedication and hard work, and at that age, it also inspired us as young Namibians to enjoy the peace and stability wherever we are.
In 1978, airborne South African Defence Force planes of the apartheid regime flew over the base and dropped bombs, destroying infrastructure and killing about 600 Namibians, amongst them, children and women who were harboured at the base.
The commemoration on Wednesday is expected to be attended by Government officials including Minister of Land Reform Utoni Nujoma; the Namibian Police Force (NamPol)s Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga; Cubas Ambassador to Namibia, Giraldo Mazola and various Angolan dignitaries.
The group leaves for Cassinga, which is about 300 kilometres from the Namibia-Angola border, on Saturday.