ON Sunday August 26 President Hifikepunye Pohamba will lead thousands of Namibian compatriots who will gather in Omuthiya in the Oshikoto Region to commemorate Heroes’ Day when the entire nation will pay homage to our heroes and heroines.
Likewise, medals and military honours will be conferred on deserving Namibians and on veterans of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) - the military wing of the then liberation movement which deservingly is the current ruling Swapo Party.
Heroes’ Day is a watershed event in the annals of our history - a day when all patriotic Namibians pay homage to thousands of heroes and heroines whose heroic deeds liberated us from the colonial yoke.
Thousands of heroes and heroines died during and after the multi-faceted liberation struggle and notable among them were Kahimemua Nguvauva, Nehale Lya Mpingana, Samuel Maharero, Hendrik Witbooi, Jacob Morenga, Mandume Ya Ndemufayo, Ipumbu Ya Tshilongo, Anna Mungunda, Hosea Kutako, Dimo Hamaambo, Markus Kooper, Mose Tjitendero, Richard Kabajani, John Pandeni, Peter Tsheehama and John ya Otto Nankudhu.
Others are Dr Sam Nujoma, Hifikepunye Pohamba, Nahas Angula, Marco Hausiku, Hage Geingob, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, Dr Abraham Iyambo, Jerry Ekandjo, Charles Namoloh, Martin Shalli, and many others who are still alive.
August 26 is no ordinary day and the reason our founding fathers and mothers chose it to symbolise the entire struggle against imperialism and colonialism, was because on August 26, 1966 - PLAN fighters triumphed in the battle of Omugulu-gOmbashe while the struggle for our independence was born.
Jews decimated during the Holocaust through state-sponsored persecution in the 1940s will at every possible moment remind the world how six million Jews were murdered by Germany under Adolf Hitler.
One could even be prosecuted if you were seen to be what they term an anti-Semite, a term that refers to people that are perceived as hostile towards Jews.
America that declared its independence in 1776 from Britain to this day commemorates July 04 as a federal holiday with fireworks, parades, barbeques, carnivals, fairs, concerts and even political speeches.
The above events marked by America and Jews in Israel and the Diaspora underline the fact that each country is free to commemorate its historic events.
But unfortunately, some people do not want us to reminisce and reflect on the significance of August 26 and we should divorce our future from our painful past. How do you expect us to talk about the future without reflecting on our painful history when blacks were segregated - when whites were treated as ‘special’? How can we not talk about the past when there was racial segregation enforced through apartheid laws that ensured the rights of the majority black Namibians were curtailed and white supremacy and Afrikaner minority rule were maintained at the expense of black Namibians?
How can we not talk about the past when this very past forced thousands of our people to go into exile and to take up arms to liberate their motherland?
Residential areas, public toilets, public schools, public hospitals and even places of worship were segregated and whites could not socially interact with blacks, while blacks were forbidden from dating white girls.
It is an open secret that many white farmers sired children with black maids who worked for them.
Apart from being forcefully removed from arable land to make way for white settler farmers, blacks were subjected to inferior Bantu education.
Blacks were systematically deprived of their citizenship, legally becoming “citizens” of one among many of the purportedly self-governing tribally-based Bantustans that mushroomed all over the country.
During that period there was no sense of belonging, but this changed after the battle of August 26 at Omugulu-gOmbashe that inspired generations of Namibians to risk life and limb in exile.
From the 1960s, 70s and 80s, multitudes of Namibians inspired by the Omugulu-gOmbashe battle went into exile where Swapo trained them in guerilla warfare to fight against the minority South African colonial army.
In our collective memory, Omugulu-gOmbashe personifies the heroic deeds of our people who without wavering resisted and defeated colonialism.
To us an intensified battle against the settler army begun during this historic Omugulu-gOmbashe battle that will be commemorated this coming Sunday and for many patriotic generations of Namibians to come.