Linekela Kambo Shixungileni: The Commander of the 1966 Oshikango Attack (1934 … )
By Timoteus Mashuna WINDHOEK - At times, discourses on the history of the armed liberation struggle of Namibia tend to overemphasize the first military clash that took place between combatants of the South West Africa National Liberation Army and the South African Security Forces at Omugulugombashe on the 26th of August 1966. However, this event is often treated in isolation without mentioning the subsequent events that occurred in the aftermath of that attack. And it is perhaps within this context that it is not common knowledge to many Namibians that on the 29th of September 1966, a group of SWAPO combatants led by Linekela Kambo Shixungileni also retaliated by carrying out a successful military attack that reduced the Oshikango military post to ashes. “It was decided that after the Omugulugombashe attack the South Africans must be paid back, we must retaliate. They [referring to the decision taken by his comrades] said that Kambo you have to take some soldiers to go and attack Oshikango. We left in the early morning hours with Patrick [Iyambo Lunganda], Festus Iita and Nelson Kavela and we attacked them. We burned down all the houses and offices,” he said. A Namibian born at Okandiva village in Edundja in 1934, he grew up looking after family livestock whilst at the same time attending formal education. As is common amongst boys growing up during his time, he also decided to join the contract labour system. In 1934 he went to work in South Africa before moving back home to work in Walvis Bay. His stay at the coastal town did not last long. He was deported from Walvis Bay six months later after it emerged that he was instrumental in organizing his fellow workmates to strike after the company failed to give them a 10 cents salary increase. Following his deportation, he went to work in Tsumeb where he began to actively participate in political activities. “I stayed in Tsumeb and that is where I came to know OPO. We were told that there is an organization found by Toivo ya Toivo with the aim to end the contract labour system. So, we were given our membership cards,” recalls Shixungileni. After his contract expired at Tsumeb he went to work in South Africa in 1959. But in 1961, he left South Africa for Tanzania to link up with other pioneers of the liberation struggle who were also fleeing the country into exile. In Tanzania, he together with a few of his comrades were sent to the former Soviet Union for military training and upon his return Shixungileni was amongst the first group of SWAPO commandos who were sent inside the country to prepare for the launch of the armed liberation struggle. Following the Omugulugombashe attack and his subsequent involvement in the Oshikango attack, Shixungileni together with a few of his comrades were captured and imprisoned on the Robben Island. Citing how he got arrested, Shixungileni said: “One day we were having a meeting at a village near Oshakati … Just after we scattered I saw three planes passing overhead. The next thing I heard was vehicles approaching from far. I tried to run to some nearby bushes but they started firing at me. One bullet struck my hand such that when I was trying to fire my gun I had not power because of the injury. There I was captured and taken to Oshakati were I was interrogated by a well-known police officer Swanepoel”. He was charged under the Terrorism Act and sentenced to Robben Island.
New Era Reporter
2013-11-15 12:41:35 5 years ago