Veterans association reflects on late Ilonga’s legacy

18 Dec 2018 18:20pm
WINDHOEK, 18 DEC (NAMPA) – The Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA) has described the late Petrus Ilonga as the father of trade unions.
Freedom fighter and trade unionist, Ilonga, died on 11 December 2018 at the age of 71 after a long illness.
Addressing a media conference here on Tuesday, NNLVA President Ben Shikongo said as a trained combatant, Ilonga participated immensely in the war for liberation.
Ilonga received military training in Tanzania and the Soviet Union in his early years before returning to Namibia to fight in the liberation struggle against the South African apartheid regime for Namibia’s independence.
“He participated in many battles until he was captured (and taken to Robben Island), but when it comes to the trade unions - he was waging the trade union organisation in its totality,” Shikongo said.
He was an instrumental and fearless leader whose participation won the hearts and minds of workers, thus he was known as the father of trade unions, he noted.
Ilonga will be laid to rest at Heroes’ Acre in Windhoek on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Shikongo described the late Colonel (retired) Matias ‘Mbulunganga’ Ndakolo as a brave commander whose death was a big loss to veterans in the country.
The late Ndakolo was a regional commander of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia.
“He had the strategy to defeat the enemy, and someone whom the Founding Father, Sam Nujoma (then PLAN commander in chief) could count on,” Shikongo said.
He applauded President Hage Geingob for according both Ilonga and Ndakolo heroes status and state funerals, in acknowledgement of their contributions to the country’s liberation struggle.
Ndakolo was buried this past weekend at the Eenhana shrine in the Ohangwena Region.