Namibia, like other countries in the world, has truly produced its own very brave and visionary leaders. These are leaders, who without compromise, had planned, organised and executed the war of resistance against foreign invaders unreservedly and without fear. The country has produced wise people who never went to school but understood the strength that comes with the unity of purpose and used those principles in their struggles against invaders.
Under very difficult communication conditions, between our yesteryear leaders during that time, they managed to communicate strategically. They established a highly sophisticated means of communication to reach out to each other. Thus Namibia is the land of braves whose blood waters our freedom.
It is particularly important to note that they also established a good working relationship with our kings and chiefs from different ethnic groups, although communication between them was very difficult. King Hendrik Witbooi at one time wrote to Samuel Maharero cautioning him for entering into a protection agreement with the German imperial government. Chief Maharero of the Ovaherero people wrote letters to his brothers, the Aawambo and Nama, requesting them to fight against the German aggressors after realising that their presence in South West Africa constituted a danger to the African people.
He further urged them to die fighting. Chief Jacob Marenga, a son of an Omuherero mother and a Nama father, allied other ethnic groups and organised them into a fighting force made up of the Swartbooi Nama and the Witbooi Nama, the Ovambanderu and Ovaherero to fight against the German imperial soldiers. King Sheetekela Hiudulu of Ovambandja entered into a coalition with various Aawambo groups (Aakwambi, Aambaantu, Aakwaluudhi and Aangandjera) to fight against the Portuguese. Under this coalition, various battles were fought between the Ovambandja-Aawambo coalition and the Portuguese at Onhunda yevala (1904), Eloveya la Nanghanga, Omufilu, Omukoyimo, Omufitu wa Ndeiteja, Oda ya Nangeda and Onangovo (1907). Iipumbu ya Tshirongo, the Aakwambi king sent reinforcements to his friend King Mandume ya Ndemufayo of Ovakwanyama to fight against the Boers and Portuguese at Oihole, but that group did not reach Oihole and turned back at Eeshoke after they learned that king Mandume had committed suicide during the heavy battle of Oihole in 1917.
On 28 January 1904, Aandonga men under Nehale Mpingana in consultation with Chief Samuel Maharero of Ovaherero attacked the Imperial Germany’s Schutztruppe at Fort Amutoni. King Nehale also fought and won two wars against intruders into his area. In 1886, South African settlers on their Dorsland Trek were defeated after they allegedly fraudulently acquired land from king Kambonde ka Mpingana, a land which included Otavi, part of Tsumeb and Grootfontein, and declared the Republic of Upingtonia. The warriors under King Nehale lya Mpingana, who was a brother of Kambonde, shot dead William Worthington Jordan, the leader of the trek and some of his soldiers.
The above stated leaders inspired a group of young Namibians who in the late 1940s decided to form political movements, organisations and unions with an objective to mobilise the communities to fight the foreign settlers. In between, however, a crop of progressive traditional leaders followed the steps of earlier leaders and organised their communities to reject the rule of African people by foreigners.
During that time Namibia gave birth to some of the brave traditional leaders who did not consider themselves as leaders of their tribal groupings. They were leaders who regarded themselves as nationalists in the fight against apartheid colonialism. For example, Chief Hosea Kuutako of Ovaherero who most progressive people revere as the father of modern Namibian politics, gathered young people like Sam Tshafiishuna Nujoma, Andimba Herman Toivo ya Toivo, Immanuel Ndemulungila Nathaniel, Simon Mzee Kaukungwa, Moses Garoeb and many young people from his ethnic group and Ovambanderu such as Klemens Kapuuo, Mburumba Kerina, David Hosea Meroro, and many others. Surely Namibia has produced a crop of visionary leaders such as chiefs Munjuku Nguvauva of the Ovambanderu, who refused young people under his jurisdiction to be conscripted in the racist army, Molaliswane Mutwa of the Basubia, and Sitentu Mpasi of the Vakwangali who during the liberation struggle accommodated PLAN combatants in their districts.
During the day Hompa Mpasi treated those PLAN combatants as if they were his cattle herders but during the night they carried out their military missions against the enemy. Reverend Chief Hendrik Witbooi of the Nama people also did the same during the liberation struggle and accommodated PLAN combatants who during the day were his Aawambo boys employed to construct buildings at his place but during the night they planned together where to hit the enemy.
In particular some of the PLAN members that Chief Witbooi hosted were the late John Alfons Pandeni and his comrade Petrus Iilonga. There were also chiefs in the south such as Hendrik Witbooi and Samuel Witbooi and others. Namibia really produced brave leaders with a passion and belief that Namibia can only be made free by its people.