• May 20th, 2019
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Cassinga survivor fights back dark memories


Victoria Kaapanda

OSHAKATI - Cassinga day is a very emotional day for me, it is a difficult time and once I hear about Cassinga commemorations, I always cry because it is not an easy day for me,” 78-year-old Maria Nantanga from Omuthitugwalwani in Omusati Region, a Cassinga survivor said.

As she wiped away tears from her eyes, saying she does not like to attend the commemorations of Cassinga Day because
the event always left her with bad memories. It was on that day when she lost her arm and more than 600 Namibians, mostly woman and children were also brutally killed. In an interview with this reporter, Nantanga said it was on
the 4th of May 1978, when a Namibian camp was attacked by South African soldiers in the Angolan town of Cassinga.
She was preparing for school when the unthinkable happened. “I saw hundreds of Boers surrounding our camp with guns
and some gathered at our parade field, I first saw two warplanes approaching the northern side of the parade area where they released teargas and the whole area was covered with a thick smoke,” says Nantanga.

Adding that she was sure that the purpose of a teargas was to confuse and stop them from escaping once they had inhaled
the toxic fumes. This was followed by the bombs and gunshots, and that was also the time that she was shot on her right arm. She said although she didn’t realise that she was injured, she continued to run and went to hide by the riverside.
“When I sat down, that was the time I realised that I had been shot in the arm. At the time, all I could hear were sounds
of bombs and gunshots. I then realised there was nothing I could do, everyone was confused and terrified, I just sat there
crying, praying and looking at people running and some fallen dead around me while others who were wounded just like me,
sat helplessly,” she narrated. Nantanga said initially, she used to commemorate Cassinga in many different ways, indoors or would call up some of the survivors to spend some time together and thank God for what he has done for them as many people lost their lives on that fateful day. 

Nantanga, now married and a mother of seven, said although she lost a limb, she never stopped to praise God for sparing her life.


Staff Reporter
2019-05-03 10:31:54 17 days ago

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