• April 25th, 2019
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Sackaria Nashandi: Ex-Roben Island Prisoner (1949 …)

Editorial, Archived
Editorial, Archived

COMMENTING on the sufferings and beatings endured by Sackaria Nashandi at the hands of the South African colonial authorities, Mrs Nashandi in an interview conducted by Laban Shapange in 1997 noted that before her husband left for Pretoria, he was terribly beaten. The South Africans were so cruel such that his “stomach was cut and his intestines were out”, narrated Mrs Nashandi. To add more injury the suffering continued even when he was incarcerated at Robben Island prison. There he was made to lie in water in his cell because the roof of the cell in which he was detained had leaked a pool of water that covered the floor of his cell. This treatment, according to Mrs Nashandi, affected her husband’s “health and mental condition”. In spite of all the suffering and harassment that Nashandi endured, he consistently refused to cooperate with the colonial authorities. After he was released from Robben Island, the South African colonial agents made several attempts to lure him into supporting the apartheid administration. He however refused. “When we arrived here [referring to the release of Nashandi from prison], we were confronted with political problems, we were neighbours with Peter Kalangula of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP), affiliated to the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) a white controlled party. “Peter Kalangula tried by all means to manipulate and win Mr Nashandi’s support for his party. When he refused hatred between the two characterized by threats were waged against our family,” says Mrs Nashandi. His refusal to cooperate with the colonial agents did not only culminate in threats being waged against his family. They were also subjected to acts of sabotage from agents of the South African colonial regime. “We had a store and Koevoet soldiers used to come and take anything from the store without paying. It was not easy to live here. They even sent people who lived here and were supporters of South Africa’s apartheid regime in Namibia. These groups included DTA, CDP, Etango, Koeveot and members of the South African Defence Force (SADF),” recalls his wife. Sackaria Nashandi was born on the 8th of July 1949 at Onayena in the northern part of Nambia. He was the son of Mr Tomas and Mrs Helena Nashandi. He grew up at Onayena where he attended primary education until he completed Standard 6. Thereafter he went to attend school in Walvis Bay. However after a year of schooling in Walvis Bay, he dropped out of school and was employed at Flamingo Furniture Shop. His political involvement started in 1971 when he moved to Windhoek and started to work in a bakery. He was first suspected of instigating workers at the bakery to strike and this resulted in him being expelled from Windhoek to the then Owamboland. Having tasted the bitterness of the South African colonial administration, he began to provide assistance to his fellow Namibians going into exile to join the struggle against apartheid. “I became actively involved in transporting people to the Namibia/Angola border so that they could join Swapo in Angola,” said Nashandi when asked about how he began his political involvement. His support of the liberation struggle activities however landed him in trouble with the colonial authorities in 1975. During that year, Nashandi decided to transport two PLAN combatants south of the Red Line. He successfully escorted the combatants but two weeks later he found himself as the subject of interrogation by the South African authorities in connection with the murder of two farmers in Grootfontein.  He stood accused of aiding the Swapo “terrorists” and was sentenced to 8 years in prison in Windhoek. Three weeks after his sentence he was taken to a prison in Pretoria and later taken to Robben Island prison until his release. By Timoteus Mashuna
New Era Reporter
2013-09-13 08:48:45 5 years ago

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