04 May 2018 12:00pm
WINDHOEK, 04 MAY (NAMPA) President Hage Geingob on Friday conferred the Order of the Most Ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis to Angolan President João Lourenço for his contribution towards the independence of both Angola and Namibia.
The conferring happened at Heroes Acre during the commemoration of Cassinga Day, remembering the Cassinga Massacre of 04 May 1978, when hundreds of Namibians died in an attack by the South African Defence Force in southern Angola.
Lourenço is the ninth African president to receive this accolade from the Namibian government.
Previously honoured former presidents include Martti Ahtisaari of Finland, Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, José Eduardo dos Santos and Agostinho Neto of Angola, and Ketumile Masire of Botswana.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Rear Admiral Peter Hafeni Vilho, while explaining the award during the ceremony, said Lourenço immensely contributed to bringing about independence in Angola and its subsequent development.
Namibia at the same time honoured the Angolan people at large for their contribution to the country, hence the importance of the award, said Vilho.
Angola became a home to many Namibians during the liberation struggle to resist the apartheid era and the Angolan people stood side by side with Namibia, while Swapo operated in Angola, Vilho said.
The conferring was followed by a special choreographic performance by Cassinga survivors, during which a group of very emotional survivors re-enacted the events of the massacre 40 years ago.