War veterans from different parts of the country celebrated a reunion at the homestead of veteran Ernos Hakuna at Ondingwanyama in the Ohangwena region on Saturday.
Some of the erstwhile comrades had not seen each other for 40 years.
The main purpose of the festivity was for all living People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) veterans to come together and take a gingerly walk down memory lane, recognise each other, and do a roll call to see who had left the earth and who remained standing.
Most of the veterans who reunited were based in Angola during the liberation struggle. They said it was a touching meeting with their comrades in arms after a very long time without seeing each other.
The event was organised by Hakuna, who was a Plan commander.
When New Era visited them at the festivities, Hakuna narrated that he made an effort to inform all veterans alive countrywide through radio to present themselves at his place for the reunion since they had never met after the liberation of Namibia.
He said that he has been longing to meet up with his subordinates for so long, and he is grateful that it materialised.
“I am thankful that I reunited with my comrades. I haven’t seen them in years since we left Angola and I am really happy to see them, and so are they,” said Hakuna.
He added that he is grateful to God for permitting them to gather, and that most of his comrades are still breathing. He said it was not easy in Angola, as the fight they fought claimed the lives of lots of his friends while some are incapacitated until this day.
Ohangwena regional governor Walde Ndevashiya said he appreciates the work of the war veterans as they fought tooth and nail to liberate Namibia.
Therefore, he urged all Namibian
citizens to respect the work executed by Plan fighters because they played a major role in the country’s freedom.
Ndevashiya observed that the reunion was of great importance for Namibian history as it gave evidence to the young generation that it was their grandparents who fought for their freedom. He also encouraged the veterans to keep on narrating Namibian stories of liberation to the youth.
“Freedom fighters, we still need you all day everyday to guide us, and your involvement in matters regarding the maintenance of peace will be highly appreciated,” he added.
The former chief of the Namibian Defence Force, Denga Ndaitwah, said he was also proud of the reunion of the Plan fighters because it shows unity and love amongst them.
Ndaitwah thus encouraged the veterans to continue hosting festivities of this kind annually to maintain relationships.
Wilberd Hellao, one of the veterans, said he shed tears when he met his colleagues because he never thought they would meet again.
“This celebration is important. It is the first veterans’ reunion after 40 years, and I am happy to meet my fellow soldiers,” he noted.
Indileni Kambwali is a 57-year-old veteran who crossed the border
into Angola when he was 14 years old. He told New Era that he wept when he physically met his fellow fighters, since meeting up was never in his wildest dreams.
“I am thankful to our commander Hakuna for the good idea that he brought forth. This celebration set a strong relationship within us that will never fade,” he beamed.
A contribution of N$10 900 and four cattle was made for the celebratory reunion.