GDR kids thank Swapo

29 Jun 2017 10:30am
WINDHOEK, 29 JUN (NAMPA) – Namibian children who were forced to live in exile in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) during Namibia’s struggle for independence from South Africa, commended the Swapo party for taking care of them while in exile.
They were referred to as “GDR kids”.
Over 430 destitute, injured and orphaned children were sent to East Germany after the Cassinga Massacre in May 1978.
They only came back in 1990 when the country gained independence.
“Swapo ensured that we were educated and instilled in us the seeds of discipline, patriotism, fairness, equality and justice for all,” said Iipumbu Sakaria.
Sakaria was speaking on behalf of fellow GDR children here on Wednesday at the launch of a book titled ‘Children in Exile: A Pictorial Record’ by Jürgen Krause and Besse Kaplan.
Founding President Sam Nujoma launched the book.
It is a collection of photos illustrating their lives in refugee camps in southern Angola and Zambia and then Germany.
Sakaria emphasised that the party united them and they never saw each other as children from different tribes.
“Only when we came to Namibia did we realise and noticed that as children we all did not come from the same tribe or family,” said Sakaria.
He urged Namibians to see themselves as “one people” instead of persons of different tribes and creeds as this is the only way to build Namibia.
“If we do not work together in the spirit of unity, it will lead us to fall short on our developmental and humanitarian goals as a nation.”
He highlighted that most of them are now engaged in various trades and professions, contributing to the development of the country.
Nujoma said the book will give a face to the children who lived without their families in a foreign country, learned a foreign language at their tender ages and were separated from their motherland, some for more than 11 years.
He acknowledged all teachers and officials who helped to make the children strong and resilient by providing them with love, care, good health, guidance and a good education.
“I challenge Swapo’s former GDR children to compile your own stories that capture the historical events and personal experiences or to contribute to the overall history of Swapo during the liberation struggle,” said Nujoma.