LUANDA – Dubbed Angola’s immortal leader, Dr Antonio Agostinho Neto’s legacy lives on, as tributes continue to be heaped on Angola’s founding president, who also played a crucial role in Namibia’s march to independence and to self-rule.
The Namibian Embassy in Angola last weekend held a series of events to celebrate Namibia’s 25th independence.
The programme began on Friday morning with a symposium held in the modern Dr Antonio Agostinho Neto Memorial in the heart of Luanda. The topic for the gathering was “Angola’s contribution to Namibia’s struggle for independence”.
Neto’s legacy in Angola is held in such high esteem the Angolan government decided to put up a multi-billion-dollar memorial in his honour, while every September 17 – which is his birthday – has been declared a public holiday.
The memorial, also known as the mausoleum, is a monument entombing Neto’s mortal remains following his death in 1979.
Over 200 Namibians and Angolans attended the ceremony, which saw several dignitaries, who formed part of the struggle, narrating how the struggle played out.
On Friday evening, the Namibian Embassy hosted a reception in the memorial attended by several dignitaries, high-ranking Angolan government officials, business personalities and members from the diplomatic corps.
Special advisor to the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Tuliameni Kalomoh, was full of praise for the late Neto, saying it was under his rule the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) could move its military headquarters from Zambia to Angola.
“When Angola got its independence the South African apartheid regime panicked because they [knew] our Angolan brothers will assist us. Dr Neto played an important part in all this,” Kalomoh reflected.
While maintaining the newly attained independence in Angola, Kalomoh lauded Neto for creating room to help Namibia achieve its independence.
He said Neto was also pivotal during talks held in Luanda in 1978 regarding the United Nations’ Resolution 385 adopted in 1976 in which Namibia’s conditions were set.
The resolution outlined that South Africa should let Namibia govern itself, but Kalomoh said Namibia was not prepared to have independence while Walvis Bay was under the control of South Africa.
“Some of the frontline states wanted us to accept the conditions as presented but we refused. Dr Neto was the one who spoke to the other countries to respect our decision to oppose that specific condition. That gave birth to Resolution 432,” he stated.
“The unity between Namibia and Angola is indestructible. As we co-operated during the fight for political independence, we should also co-operate in the ongoing fight for economic independence,” he further stated.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 432, adopted unanimously on July 27, 1978, after reaffirming previous resolutions on the topic including Resolution 385 (1976), urged for respect of Namibia’s territorial integrity by South Africa and called for the full integration of Walvis Bay back into Namibia.
The town had been directly administered by South Africa.
Kalomoh also underscored the importance of the Brazzaville Protocol, which led to the signing of the well-known UN Resolution 435, which called for a ceasefire between PLAN forces and the South Africa occupational forces.
The protocol mandated the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola, paving the way for Namibia’s independence through the New York Accords.
Representatives from the governments of Angola, Cuba, and South Africa signed the protocol on December 13, 1988, in Brazzaville, Congo.