Homage Paid to Hero Killed 20 Years Ago

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By Anna Ingwafa WINDHOEK Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Immanuel Shifidi, a Swapo activist and Omugulugwombashe and Robben Island veteran. The commemoration started from the school he is named after, the Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School, and later headed to his gravesite for the laying of a wreath. On behalf of the Chairman of the Namibian former Robben Island Political Prisoners Trust, Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, John Pandeni of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development addressed those who congregated for the event. Pandeni described Shifidi as a great leader distinguished by exceptional courage, nobility and heroism. Shifidi joined the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) in the first instance when he fought in the historic battle of Omugulugwombashe. “His activism in the liberation struggle made him a target of the Apartheid regime which ultimately arrested him, and he was flown to Pretoria in South Africa where he underwent torture and other brutalities at the hands of the evil regime of Apartheid South Africa. Subsequently, he was charged, tried and found guilty under the South Africa Terrorism Act,” stated Pandeni. Shifidi spent 17 years on Robben Island and he was eventually released together with other political prisoners in 1985. Pandeni said that while attending a rally with other Swapo members in Katutura, the enemies released bees which disrupted the meeting. Amid the confusion, they gunned down Shifidi in cold blood. “By murdering him, the forces of evil thought they had eliminated him forever and that his name would be forgotten, but today we are witnessing that his legacy and spirit remain and stay with us, and will remain forever,” he said. He added that it was also fitting that a school had been named after him and, indeed, Shifidi’s offspring can testify to the memories of fallen heroes and heroines that, after four decades of bitter liberation struggle, the country is free and independent. “The present generation of Namibia shall never again be subjected to slavery and servitude for which thousands, including Shifidi, have sacrificed their lives,” he stated. The late Shifidi’s wife, 77-year-old Saara Shifidi, and their daughter, Hilde, were present. The family gave the Immanuel Shifidi certificate of ex-Robben Island Prisoner which was given to them by Tonateni Community Care, to the Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School. Minister of Labour Alpheus Naruseb, his Deputy Petrus Iilonga, Under-Secretary at State House Joseph Kashea, Member of the Swapo Elders Council Helao Shityuwete, Bishop Zephania Kameeta and Elijah Ngurare were among other dignitaries who visited the gravesite. After laying the wreath, the group visited Anton Lubowski’s grave and those of other fallen heroes buried at the Katutura Cemetery.