By Mathias Haufiku
WINDHOEK – The remains of two heroes of the liberation struggle will be repatriated tomorrow.
A team led by the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, (Rtd) Major-General Charles Namoloh will collect the remains of Putuse Apollus and Linekela Kalenga that were exhumed in Zambia in April.
The Minister of Veterans Affairs, Dr Nicky Iyambo, confirmed yesterday that the remains of the two liberation icons would arrive at 10h00 at Eros Airport tomorrow.
“The remains of the two comrades will arrive in the country on Thursday morning. There will be a ceremony but not as big as the one we had at Hosea Kutako International Airport because the stage for the repatriation has already been set, so it will not make sense to have a big ceremony for every repatriation. That is why it will be at Eros Airport and the public can attend proceedings,” said the minister.
Appolus, who was one of the first black women to go into exile, was a member of the Swapo Women’s Council as well as a Central Committee member.
She was a Swapo representative at the World Women Organisation before her death in 1986. Apollus also worked for the Lusaka City Council in the 1970s.
Kalenga, who is believed to have died in 1981, was the party’s secretary for education and a Central Committee member.
Government in April dispatched a technical team to Zambia in April to exhume the remains of Kalenga and Apollus.
In May at Hosea Kutako International, government officials and members of the public received the remains of Eneas Peter Nanyemba, Walde Homateni Kaluenja, Isak Shikongo, Natalia Ndahambelela Shikangala Mavulu and Augustus Nghaamwa after being repatriated from Angola.
Two graves of Namibians who died on Robben Island were also identified but Iyambo said the process to repatriate their remains was ongoing.
Previously Iyambo said government would like to repatriate the remains of all leaders who died in exile during the struggle for independence but difficulties to identify gravesites are hampering the process.
“Of course it is our wish as government to repatriate the remains of all the leaders but we are finding it hard to find their graves. As you can recall they died way back and the graves are not in formalised cemeteries hence it is difficult to find remains of the leaders we want to repatriate,” he said at the time.