Veteran Muundjua retires to his beloved Old Location shrine

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Kae MaÞunÿu-Tjiparuro

Windhoek-One of the streets in Windhoek may sooner or later be named after John Garvey Muundjua.

This is if anything ever comes of the promise of Windhoek mayor, Muesee Kazapua. Kazapua wished so at the funeral service of the late liberation struggle stalwart in Katutura over the weekend where he also took the community to task for not championing the history of their heroes and heroines, such as the late Muundjua, saying unless the communities themselves relate and write the history and heroics of these heroes and heroines, they will remain unknown to the authorities that be. Therefore, the authorities could not ordinarily be expected to bestow the necessary honours on them, such as naming and renaming streets after them.

Muundjua, who passed away on June 22 in Windhoek, was buried in the Old Location cemetery last Saturday. This is per the late Muundjua’s wish himself and befittingly so because this is where Muundjua in the late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s was part of the leaders of the time in their resistance of the South African occupation of the then territory of South West Africa.

Notably Muundjua had then come to distinguish himself as leader of the Africans against their forced removal from the Old Location, present day Hochland Park, to today’s Katutura. This earned him the wrath of the South African police and in 1962 he was imprisoned for leading a protest march of Africans against their forced relocation to Katutura from the Old Location.

In 1968 with the eventual forceful removal of Africans from the Old Location to Katutura, he instead opted for voluntary internal banishment to the Aminuis communal area, partly also to escape constant police harassment.

On the advice of Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, who was in Cape Town in South Africa in 1958, and Jariretundu Kozonguizi, who was studying at the University of Fort Hare, he went on to become a co-founding member of the South West Africa National Union (Swanu) on September 27, 1959.

That was the same year he started to petition the United Nations. In 1962, as vice-chairman and secretary for foreign affairs of Swanu, he was the first Namibian to meet the chairperson of the UN Committee on South West Africa, Victorio D. Carpion, from the Phillipines, when they visited the then South West Africa. This was after years of petitioning by petitioners such as Chief Hosea Kutako, Kozonguizi, Kerina Mburumba, Sam Nujoma for the committee to visit the territory and verify what the petitioners all along had been telling it about the South African regime’s treatment of the indigenous people.

In 1974 together with Clement Kapuuo, Gerson Veii, Johannes Karuaihe, they went to New York in the United States of America (USA) where for two months they petitioned the UN.

Muundjua was also, together with the likes of Dr Zed Ngavirue and David Meroro, a founding member of the first ever black owned, controlled and edited newspaper, Suidwes Nuus, published by a black publishing company, the African Publishing Company. The publication was then edited by Emil Appolus.

“In 1961, we at Augustineum, were on strike against Bantu Education and the poor quality of food. We were subsequently expelled and sent back to our respective homes. After a while, a deadline for readmission was set, and our parents forced us to go back. Those of us from Otjiwarongo had to go to Okakarara to pick up others, among whom were the likes of Honourable Kaura and Comrade Festus Muundjua. It was at this time that I personally met Mitiri John Garvey Muundjua. He gave us a political talk and supported our actions but advised us to go back and finish our education,” reads part of President Hage Geingob’s message to the bereaved family.

Late Muundjua was a veteran at the time of his death and in the Old Location he is reunited notably with victims of the 1959 Old Location massacre, as well as leading Swanu stalwarts like Kozonguizi and Kovipa Kazapua.

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