• November 19th, 2018
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Kakurukaze Mungunda confirmed as a martyr


Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro Windhoek December 10, the day the apartheid South African police gunned down protesters against the forced removal of black Africans from the Old Location (modern day Hochland Park) and surroundings, to the modern day Katutura, 58 years ago, was commemorated at the 1959 Heroes and Heroines Memorial site in Windhoek on Sunday. The memorial grave in Hochland Park stands where 11 people gunned down in what has become known as the Old Location Massacre were buried in 1959. Several suffered bullet wounds, from which they later succumbed, having carryied these wounds which never seemed to heal, as at the time their wounds did not receive proper medical attention, which was hard for Africans to access during the apartheid era. A good number of women, if not the predominant number, especially who were children from that era, were part of those who converged at the memorial grave on the occasion. Among them was a 98-year-old man, as well as 74-year-old Isabella Guriras, all the way from the Erongo Region, for whom the commemoration in Windhoek has become a yearly pilgrimage. The occasion saw one of the witnesses of the 1959 massacre, Ester Kavari, then Pakarae, confirming once again the heroics of Kakurukaze Mungunda, who is today celebrated as a martyr and heroine for torching a police car during the 1959 uprising, as a result of which she was shot dead. Despite Mungunda having earned her martyrdom posthumously for her unflinching defiance and courage, there had been a number of conflicting tales that cast doubt on whether she was actually responsible for torching the police car. Another person confirming Kavari’s testimony about Mungunda’s 1959 heroics, was Maseukiro Tjiposa, who himself narrowly escaped a gruesome death when a bullet missed him only leaving a scratch on his head on that fateful day in 1959. He differed on how and where Kakurukaze obtained the petrol she used to put the police car on fire. Because of Mungunda’s heroics, the day, also known as Swanu Day, for the party’s political leadership in the resistance against forced removal, and by many other accolades, is also referred to as Women’s Day. But some witnesses say this is not simply for the heroics of Mungunda on the actual day of the massacre, December 10, 1959, but also in honour of the role women played in the build-up to December 10, 1959. Prior to the day women had been agitating - especially on December 6 - when they demonstrated before the offices of the South African administration destroying in the process flowers in front of the offices. This, among others, agitated the South African authorities and likely contributed to the 1959 massacre. The day, which is also known as International Human Rights Day, was commemorated in Namibia under the theme: ‘From Peace in the home to Peace in World: Make Education Safe for All’. “This theme reminds us that violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights and we need to unite to end this grave violation of women’s rights,” said Khomas Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua in delivering her keynote address on the occasion. She said the day is a persistent reminder of the human rights challenges in communities and in the world and of the enormous efforts still required to make human rights a reality for all. “Human rights awareness is a vital part of such efforts, designed to equip new generations with the knowledge of their inalienable rights, and the means to exercise and defend them,” she said and further reminded all and sundry that human rights are a common heritage and its realisation depends on the contribution of all, individually and collectively. A diverse range of Namibians attended the commemorative event. It was also apparent that nobody owns the day and that each and everyone who was part of the history of the day, and us willing to associate with its historicity, can not only observe it but can actively become part and parcel of its observance. ==============
New Era Reporter
2017-12-13 16:06:26 11 months ago

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