• August 13th, 2020

South Africa must pay up

Thirty years ago, the guns between PLAN and the racist South African forces went silent ushering in Namibian independence on 21 March 1990. 

However, the protracted liberation struggle left both physical and psychological scars, which may take time to heal. The degree of destruction South Africa impacted on the inhabitants of Namibia and Western Province of Zambia is enormous and incalculable. 
The R36 000 000 and some developmental projects given to Namibia by South Africa after independence are far too little considering the resources the latter has been illegally exploiting from the former colony for all years of her unlawful occupation. 

Payment of reparations has no time limit, as the Hereros are still pressing Germany to pay for atrocities committed between 1904 and 1908. Surprisingly Germany is paying for recent atrocities committed on the Jews during the 1939-1945 Second World War. 
The former Mau Mau fighters in Kenya have equally engaged the British government over her killing of its members in the 1960. South Africa can still pay for the war reparations to Western Province of Zambia and Namibia. In 1968 whole villages of Kongola, Kalubi, Sesheke, Singalamwe and Chixhu fled into exile in fear of their lives after the South African security forces harassed and killed people like Maxwell Kulibabika, Judea Lyabboloma, Benjamin Bebi and Induna Masida for supporting freedom fighters. Many of these who fled the country sacrificed their lives for Motherland Namibia. 

In a fair situation, the Kongola-Sesheke-Singalamwe area deserved a minister in every cabinet because of their sacrifices during the war of liberation. In fact, the majority of learners of the first Swapo primary school in exile were from this area. It seems these products are invisible in the higher echelons of government despite their sacrifices.  The reason is simple: people are eating and others are told to wait until the first bunch is satisfied, which never happens. It is true all parts of Namibia shared their portions of atrocities and torture in all measures, sizes and forms. Besides the atrocities, the South African security forces destroyed the social order, infrastructure and the very livelihood and humanness of many Namibians and Zambians of Western Province.
 Makanga village was reduced to a terror camp where the forces would come during the night and harass everybody. Late Judea Lyabboloma after whom one constituency is named in the Zambezi region was dragged from the Seventh Day Adventist Camp Meeting and was never seen alive. 

The South African security forces are equally responsible for atrocities committed against the people of Western Province of Zambia in the late 1970s. These racist forces forcefully crossed into the Province several times between 1975 and 1979 and in the process beat, killed, tortured and even raped innocent children and elderly people. Eyewitnesses along Katima Mulilo and Senanga road are living testimony to these atrocities. Villages of Likanda, Silolo, Lusu, Kalobolelwa, Silumbu, Kaale, Sioma, Kaanja, Nangweshi, Libala laMatebele, Sitoti, Kalongola and Senanga suffered attacks by the South African security forces. At Sikuka, near Sioma, jets bombed Mr. Mukinga’s house and vehicle and some innocent souls were lost. The pontoon at Kalongola was bombed and disabled and its skeleton is still lying there as a sign and symbol of the ruthlessness and callousness of the South African regime. The Namibian Museum Authorities should request the artefact from the Zambian government for the disabled pontoon to be displayed in our museum as a remembrance of the heroic struggle of the PLAN fighters against the South African forces. The South Africa security forces were accustomed to beating, harassing and assaulting teachers in broad day light before their learners for teaching Civics. In August 1978, exchange of fire led to casualties on both sides of Zambia and Namibia in which houses and other properties were destroyed. The operation took some months in the guise of punishing Swapo, yet even innocent civilians were caught and killed in the conflict and crossfire. Using the strategically situated, Mpacha Aerodrome, the racist forces attacked and bombed Gaborone, Harare and Lusaka, capitals of Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia respectively, killing many innocent people in the process. This is just a tip of the iceberg of the atrocities the South African forces committed against the people of Western Province of Zambia and part of Namibia. These attacks bred orphans, widows and widowers. Although these children are grown up now, the psychological stigma and trauma of growing up without parents, who were killed in a foreign war has been unbearable. Some of these people could not complete either primary or secondary education because of lack of financial support. 

Some children left behind by our fighters need to find their fathers. Sifuniso Kalola from Kaanja and Inyaka Wakudumo from Nande near Senanga have been struggling to trace the whereabouts of their fathers in Namibia. 
The lucky ones managed to reunite with their relatives, while others are still hunting for their biological fathers in Namibia. These are some of the bitter fruits of war. South Africa cannot be a holy cow and must be called upon to pay reparations for her atrocities in Namibia and Western Province of Zambia to assist the victims of war. Whoever was bribed if any, in the political echelon of power should pay back the money because it is the victims’ money.

Staff Reporter
2020-04-30 10:12:40 | 3 months ago

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