Windhoek Founding president Sam Nujoma has expressed his profound sadness and grief over the passing on of anti-apartheid stalwart Randolph Vigne, a man he refers to as a dear friend and comrade. Other leading figures that also joined Nujoma in showering tributes on the late Vigne include National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi and career ambassador, Dr Zed Ngavirue. Vigne, 87, died in the Canterbury Hospital in England on Sunday, just a few weeks before his 88th birthday. In a heavy-hearted letter to the bereaved family, Nujoma described Vigne as a humble and dependable comrade, who was determined to fight for the just cause of all peace-loving people worldwide. “Thus, all those who fought for freedom and independence, as well as human dignity have lost a brother in the struggle,” Nujoma wrote. “For this reason, the people of Namibia in general and myself, join in mourning the passing on of Comrade Vigne,” he stated. He said Vigne “was a true symbol of the liberation struggle throughout his life. His immense support to fight against colonialism and apartheid in Namibia and South Africa helped to break the chains of barbaric oppression and brutality in both of these countries.” In addition, Nujoma indicated that the late Vigne was a strong supporter of Namibia’s struggle, waged by Swapo since the early days when they were fighting against the contract labour system. Vigne established the Namibia Support Committee in the United Kingdom where he campaigned for material support that was needed to wage a successful campaign against apartheid. It was against this background that in 1966 Nujoma addressed the Royal Institute for International Affairs on the need to launch the armed liberation struggle. He said the meeting was arranged by Vigne through the support committee of which he was the chairperson. “Comrade Vigne was a fearless anti-apartheid activist and because of his good deeds and anti-apartheid stance, the apartheid South Africa regime banned the Suppression of Communism Act in 1963.” “Nevertheless, despite the harassments and restrictions, he never wavered but continued to assist the just cause of our liberation struggle and helped Swapo to form an alliance with his Liberal Party in order to fight the common enemy of apartheid white South African regime.” “Vigne also played an instrumental role in drafting my autobiography: ‘Where others Wavered’. In this regard, I will forever be greatly indebted to him.” Nujoma, Namibia’s president between 1990 and 2005, further referred to Vigne as a struggle hero and an independent thinker whose heroic deeds should inspire others to stand up against oppression and acts of brutality. Born in Kimberley, South Africa, on July 10, 1928, Vigne visited then South West Africa at the request of Swapo’s representative in Cape Town. He notably assisted Chief Hosea Kutako with claims against the government, following the Old Location shootings of 1959. An associate of South Africa’s liberation struggle icon Robert Sobukwe, Vigne participated in the Positive Action Campaign of the Pan African Congress in 1960 and was the chief organiser of opposition to Transkei Bantustan self-government between 1960 and 1963. He assisted Nelson Mandela in Cape Town in planning the 1961 national strike before escaping arrest in July 1964. He was granted asylum in Britain. He is a recipient of the Order of Luthuli in Silver from South African President Jacob Zuma in 2010.
New Era Reporter
2016-06-22 10:02:18 3 years ago