August 26 is Heroes’ and Heroines’ Day. On this day in 1966 history, was made. The armed confrontation between the combatants of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and the South African colonial forces signified a new turning point in the history of Namibia.
The important battle of Omugulu Goombashe defined a new Namibian personality – a hero or heroine for freedom and liberation. The difference between the battle of Omugulu Goombashe and the previous anti-colonial armed resistance is that the combatants of PLAN were guided by a political programme and ideology.
The political programme was the liquidation of colonial rule in Africa. African nationalism was the ideological bedrock of the new armed struggle. The restoration of African dignity, the achievement of independence and the reclaiming of ownership of Africa inspired the freedom fighters to make supreme sacrifices.
Peter Namgemba, then-SWAPO Chief Representative in Dar es Salaam, captured the demands of the struggle in the statement issued after the battle of Omugulu Goombashe. He declared: “We shall cross many rivers of blood on our way to victory.” Truly, many sons and daughters of Namibia sacrificed their lives for Namibia’s liberation. These are the heroes and heroines we are remembering on Heroes’ Day. They were not able to witness the birth of a new nation. Their blood waters our freedom.
We commemorate Heroes’ Day with pride and a sense of commitment. We are proud because the sacrifices of our heroes and heroines have been crowned with victory. The dignity of our people has been restored. Our humanity has been reaffirmed. Our future is now in our own hands.
Taking our future in our own hands means committing ourselves to continue from where our heroes and heroines have brought us. We must take their roles and move forward. This is only possible if we commit ourselves to serve our people above ourselves. Heroes are servants of the people. They are committed to the public good.
Our heroes and heroines were successful because they were united; they had common vision and mission. We too can only be successful if we are united and are committed to a common purpose. Unity of purpose is what this nation needs now. The development agenda encapsulated in Vision 2030 could only be achieved through unity, commitment and common purpose.
Our heroes and heroines were African nationalists. African nationalism brought about liberation. We must be visionaries. We must bring about the socio-economic transformation of the African societies. This we must do for the benefit of all our people.
August 26 is a constant reminder to generations to come that their human dignity, freedom and independence were achieved through dedication, commitment and common purpose. These values were true yesterday; are true today; and will be true tomorrow.