By Mvula ya Nangolo
WINDHOEK – When I was travelling alone through South Africa into the unknown world of exile in 1963 my mind never left my homeland and those loved ones who have remained behind and as an avid reader of books and informative newspaper feature articles, listener to radio news or commentaries from around the globe, while still in what is now Namibia.
I kept myself informed about political issues at home and abroad – at home, meaning Africa from all its cardinal points and the world that will ultimately politically benefit my people consequently breaking the painful shackles of colonial bondage. I was prepared to die for my political convictions too – as young as I was, aged 20. Now one of my most inspiring and world beloved political icons is sadly no more.
Reading one of Mandela’s writings, “Conversations With Myself ” – he honestly advices the reader that a story of one’s life should deal frankly with political colleagues, their personalities and their views. The reader would for instance like to know what kind of a person the writer is, his relationships with others and these should “not emerge from epithets used but from the facts themselves.” This fact is well accepted by this author.
On my way into the unknown world of exile during the month of September 1963 my thoughts swiftly travelled back and forth to the Land of the Brave, particularly the Port of Walvis Bay and how I at times served as Nathaniel Maxuilili’s interpreter at Swapo public rallies and the warning from someone very close to me that if I don’t stop that practice – interpreting, he meant, I will soon find myself at the political University of Robben Island joining the Mandelas of this world or become an early entrant to the University of Nowhere – dead, in an unmarked grave somewhere, he seriously advised me.
We, all from the four corners of this continent are offspring brought up by Mother Africa’s own hand whether we have grown up in the dusty streets of Katutura or the sprawling Soweto township of South Africa, we belong here, long before Jan van Riebeeck set sail for these parts of Africa lowering his anchor on April 06, 1652 at what for some centuries became the Cape of No Good Hope for us and our brothers and sisters across the Orange River. Umkhonto We Sizwe – the then military wing of the African National Congress (ANC) was towards the final stages of the struggle more than prepared to make the hated Apartheid policy unworkable and the country ungovernable no matter the price it would have paid and this frightening reality sent the message home; the political prisoners on Robben Island had to be unconditionally released in order to pave the path for a democratic new South Africa. Madiba and his comrades in and out of prison, played a key role in the realization of what is commonly referred to as the Rainbow Nation. To write more profoundly about Mandela who left the world of the living on December 05, 2013 one certainly needs more space. At the Namibian national liberation movement’s public rallies abroad and before the combatants of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) went into battle against the enemy, they sang a song that stated that “Sam Nujoma will destroy the penal colony of Robben Island with bazookas in order to liberate political leaders such as Mandela, Eliander Tuhadeleni (Kahumba ka Ndola) and Andimba Toivo ya Toivo plus others.”
Madiba, you have played a significant role in freeing your people from the demonic rule of apartheid and it is with tears in our eyes and our hearts heavily swollen that we all say “Hamba kahle.” Rest in Peace Great Warrior of Africa.
Mvula ya Nangolo a celebrated Namibian writer, journalist and poet is also the Special Advisor to the Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT).