Last Friday the name of Jason Hamutenya Ndadi (or Wanehepo, which was his combat name) ceremoniously replaced the name of Reginald Walker on a prominent street in Olympia in Windhoek. The significance of the name lies entrenched in the annals of Namibia's struggle for liberation. By Catherine Sasman WINDHOEK In 2005 a solemn procession of three cars navigated the tricky post-war roads of Angola. They carried with them a permit and the bodily remains of Jason Hamutenya Ndadi in a sealed zinc coffin back to his home village of Ouhongo in the Ohangwena Region. It was his explicit and strong instructions to his family that his remains be repatriated to Namibia in the event of his death - which he viewed as a likely eventuality - during the military struggle for liberation, said his son Tshoombe Ndadi. The family was only able to honour his wishes in 2003 when a semblance of peace was restored in Angola. This started a two-year process to get all the logistical arrangements and to obtain all official permits and authorisations between the Namibian and Angolan counterparts to exhume and transport his father's remains back home. "Many people have their loved ones buried in some jungle in Angola. They do not have the opportunity to visit their graves. We felt it was a very important assignment to ensure that our father's wish is fulfilled," said Tshoombe Ndadi. He was reburied at Ouhongo on May 6, 2005. Wanehepo was killed in a car accident in September 1977 at the age of 51. He was driving with some of his comrades after leading a delegation of the SWAPO Central Committee to PLAN bases inside Angola. On the fateful trip, the group was travelling back to the Lubango base where he was stationed from a newly created camp meant for mostly exiled women and children, Cassinga. The Cassinga camp was to be bombed and destroyed by the apartheid South African forces a year later, in 1978. Wanehepo lay buried in an overgrown and forgotten cemetery, the Hainyeko Training Centre Cemetery, outside Lubango where many senior PLAN commanders had been buried during the struggle years. Many of these graves are still there today, although Lubango is now being rehabilitated to include a school and other facilities. With the renaming of Reginald Walker Street in Olympia, the younger Ndadi reflects: "After the war of liberation subsided, it is easy for people to forget the sacrifices made to bring about significant changes to establish a non-racial, non-discriminatory society. Many people had died for it. This gives us a chance to remember in a meaningful way what people stood for; it is a meaningful legacy to our children." A large frame picture of his father's silhouette in battle gear and an AK-47 hangs behind his desk in his office in Windhoek. The picture resembles the cover of a 57-minute-long documentary film depicting the return of Wanehepo's body to Namibia. The film, Wanehepo: The Return of a Namibian Hero was directed by Per Sand???_?_'???_?'???_?
New Era Reporter
2007-11-06 00:00:00 11 years ago