Cassinga Day commemoration is not a Swapo issue

06 May 2016 16:00pm
OMAKANGE, 06 MAY (NAMPA) - The commemoration of Cassinga Day in May and Heroes’ Day in August must not be a Swapo issue but a national one that should be commemorated by every Namibian.
Tuarungua Kavari, a former member of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), made these remarks Wednesday during the commemoration of Cassinga Day at Omakange in the Kunene Region.
Omakange is situated about 60 kilometres east of Opuwo. The event was attended by predominantly members of the Swapo party from both the Omusati and Kunene regions.
The majority of the about 1 000 attendees were in exile on 04 May 1978, when the South African Defence Force under the then apartheid regime attacked the Cassinga transition camp in southern Angola, killing about 600 Namibians.
Rex Sheehama, a former PLAN Political commissar, painted a gloomy picture of events leading up to the attack and after the news broke that the South West African Territorial Forces (SWATF) attacked the camp, killing mostly women and children fleeing conflict at home.
“Some of the comrades under my command died on this day when they went to Cassinga from Zambia. I could have died on this day as I was to lead the group from Zambia to Angola but Vaino Shivute, who was in command that time, gave the responsibility to another comrade.”
The main commemoration event was held at Cassinga in southern Angola on Wednesday, and about 300 survivors of the Cassinga massacre were present – their first visit to the site in 38 years since the attack.
Heroes’ Day is commemorated on 26 August each year in honour of the many lives lost during the country’s liberation struggle against the South African military forces. The day commemorates the Namibian war of independence which began on 26 August 1966 at Omugulugwombashe in the Omusati Region.