Cassinga survivors have expressed their gratitude towards the Namibian and Angolan governments for making it possible for them to visit the gravesites at Cassinga and Tchetekera as part of their commemoration of that fateful day.
The Khomas Regional Council yesterday organized a belated commemoration of Cassinga Day on the outskirts of Okuryangava in Katutura where the survivors who visited Angola from April 30 to May 6 this year thanked both governments for such a historic event where 959 people were killed by the South African apartheid troops.
“We the survivors of the Cassinga massacre will not forget the atrocities committed by the racist South African regime against our people at Cassinga and other places during our struggle for independence. It was for this reason that, as Cassinga and Tchetekera survivors, we organised ourselves and visited the gravesites at Cassinga and Tchetekera in Angola as part of our commemoration of Cassinga Day,” said Ignatius Mwanyekange, who is the chairperson of fellow Cassinga survivors.
He said their trip to Angola would not have been a success had they not received the necessary support from the authorities of both countries.
“We would like to express our deep appreciation and profound gratitude to the governments of Namibia and Angola for facilitating our memorable pilgrimage. We also want to particularly thanked President Hage Geingob, the Founding Father Dr Sam Nujoma, former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, as well as comrade Nangolo Mbumba, the secretary general of the Swapo Party for their wisdom and moral support which made our historic visit very successful. We are immensely grateful for the support and all the logistics that were made available to us which eased the burden of our journey and made our trip successful,” he said.
They equally thanked Minister of Safety and Security Charles Namoloh who led the Namibian delegation to Angola.
Furthermore, the survivors are hopeful that their visit to Cassinga and Tchetekera will inspire other Namibians to visit the gravesites in Angola and other places where Namibian heroes and heroines who died during the liberation struggle were laid to rest. On the fateful day of May 4, 1978, the survivors said, they vividly recall being gathered at the morning assembly to receive information on their daily assignments in the refugee camp when the South African troops attacked them with Buccaneers, jet fighters and helicopters, cold-bloodedly killing and maiming defenceless people, mainly women and children as well as the elderly whose only “crime was to want freedom”.
The bombing was followed by South African paratroops who stormed the camp to complete the massacre, whereby the wounded were finished off with bayonets and those who survived the aircraft bombing and artillery fire were all shot dead on site, save for those who managed to escape into the thick bush.
Meanwhile, Khomas Regional Council Chairperson Rachel Jacob called on all Namibians to recommit to hard work and determination as the nation commemorates such fateful events.
“We must reverse this situation of poverty, unemployment, hunger, diseases and ignorance by recommitting to nation-building all the time. Let us dedicate ourselves to honour our fallen heroes and heroines by uniting as one people in the spirit of Harambee,” he encouraged.