Founding president Dr Sam Nujoma finally met the woman with whom he is pictured when she was just two months old in an iconic photo taken 37 years ago – a few days after the devastating Cassinga massacre.
Ndinelao Mlukeni yesterday met Nujoma after the Namibian Exile Kids Association (NEKA) facilitated the meeting.
Nujoma had been asking about Mlukeni’s whereabouts and how she was doing in adult life.
With a smile on his face Nujoma can be seen holding the two-month-old in the iconic image.
Mlukeni’s mother Selma Hauwanga died at Cassinga when she was brutally shot in the head by apartheid South African troops with Mlukeni strapped on her back.
Mlukeni yesterday handed the enlarged and framed photograph to the former president. “I came to give you the picture, with my name on it, so that you can always remember,” she told Nujoma who welcomed her home.
He said Mlukeni is a Cassinga massacre survivor who became part of the liberation struggle.
“I am happy to receive her in a free and independent Namibia,” remarked Nujoma. Mlukeni was raised by her mother’s best friend Feliciana Nekaya, whom she fondly calls Me Nekaya. Her father Tuhafeni Mlukeni also sadly passed away in 2008.
Mlukeni, who now lives in New York in the United States of America, visited Nujoma in the company of Me Nekaya and another Cassinga survivor.
From Cassinga camp Mlukeni went to Kwanza Sul where Me Nekaya raised her. She went to Germany in 1983 and returned to Namibia in 1990. She left for the United States of America in 2005.
Mlukeni studied Business Administration in the US and completed her MBA. She is employed at a television production company in New York.
Mlukeni was dressed in an Oshiwambo traditional odelela skirt and top, leather shoes, an animal skin apron and headscarf, which she received as presents from Nujoma. She also received an animal skin mat.
Asked about how she felt about the reception, Mlukeni replied that she was a bit overwhelmed. “I heard he (Nujoma) was looking for me … so,” said Mlukeni before joining the founding president for lunch.