Veterans should write their life stories: Nujoma

17 Oct 2013 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 17 OCT (NAMPA) – Former Namibian president, Dr Sam Nujoma has urged veterans of the liberation struggle to write their life stories for it to be documented for future generations to read.
Nujoma made this request on Thursday during the launch of a book titled “Mukwahepo - Woman, Soldier, Mother”.
The book narrates the story of Meekulu Mukwahepo ya Immanuel - the first woman to undergo military training with Swapo, as told to University of Namibia librarian Ellen Ndeshi Namhila.
Mukwahepo was also present during the unveiling of the book about her life.
Nujoma said Namhila's work started when she was researching the life of Kaxumba kaNdola, and wrote his biography “Kaxumba kaNdola, A Barefoot Soldier”.
Namhila also wrote a book titled “Tears of Courage - Five Mothers, Five Stories, One Victory”, and her own autobiography titled “The Price of Freedom”.
“Reading the life story of Comrade Meekulu Mukwahepo takes us down memory lane,” said the founding father of the Namibian nation.
He said the book reminded him how Namibian women have shown resilience in the face of enormous challenges, and how they sacrificed so much for Namibia's freedom and independence when they not only fed, clothed and hid the freedom fighters, but also provided vital information on the movement and whereabouts of the enemy troops to the combatants of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) - Swapo's military wing.
“We indeed owe it to this heroine and all other women who made similar sacrifices, to record their stories and experiences and show that their sacrifices were not in vain,” said the founding father.
Mukwahepo went into exile in 1963 and was trained in Tanzania, where she met other comrades such as Peter Katjavivi and Tobias Hainyeko.
“You can imagine how hard and difficult it was for Meekulu Mukwahepo as the first and only woman among men at the Kongwa Military Training Camp in Tanzania in 1965, where she remained for nine years until 1974,” he noted.
Nujoma said Mukwahepo was a committed cadre.
“Initially, women were not allowed at the front, and it was part of Swapo's mission to advance the fact that women had an important role to play. Our male comrades were sensitised to the fact that we had to open up and allow the women to fully participate in the war for liberation,” said Nujoma.
He noted that Mukwahepo was later assigned to look after the children who left Namibia in the mid-1970s to escape the oppression of the South African occupation regime.
“Meekulu Mukwahepo will be remembered for the care she gave those children of the young freedom fighters who went for further studies. No one can question Mukwahepo's sense of devotion and care,” said the founding president.
He urged Namibians to now embark upon the second phase of the struggle for economic independence.
Nujoma thus called upon the youth to study hard, saying there is now no excuse now, because the government has opened up educational opportunities for them with the establishment of the University of Namibia (Unam) which now includes the School of Medicine and a Faculty of Science and Engineering, and the Polytechnic of Namibia.
“I further call upon our youth to study Mathematics and Science subjects so that we can enhance the development of Namibia's human resources, and in order for them to become our future medical doctors, engineers, agriculturalists, charted accountants, marine biologists, teachers, nurses and other dedicated professionals who will lead our country into the next Millennium,” he stressed.