A happy, healthy and fulfilled 89th birthday, Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma

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Udo Froese

You are the blessing Namibia and her new nation needed to find peace and stability in their own land on their own continent. Like South Africa’s late President Nelson Mandela, his former wife and now also late struggle icon, Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Oliver Reginald Tambo, like the late Kwame Nkrumah from Ghana, Julius Nyerere from Tanzania, Samora Machel from Mozambique, Dr Agostinho Neto from Angola, Abd Al Nasser from Egypt, Muammar Al Khatafi from Libya, Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria and Cuba’s Fidel Castro – Namibia’s Founding President Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma led a heroic and successful war against its former colonial-apartheid oppressors and occupiers. Today, the independent Republic of Namibia is a peaceful and stable country with a mature leadership firmly in place.

Since political organisations stirred in the late 1950s and early 1960s and SWAPO grew from OPO (the Ovamboland People’s Organisation) Nujoma was there. It was in April 1959 that Nujoma together with Jacob Kahangua organised the OPO in Windhoek. It is a lifespan of almost 60 years in political leadership. It is an extraordinary life spent on a lifetime fighting racism and oppression and eventually establishing freedom for all living in Namibia.
South Africa’s racist occupation of Namibia led to Windhoek’s Old Location to be demolished and Katutura to become the faraway township of Windhoek.

The late comrade and journalist, Ruth First, researched the above history and published it in her book on Namibia, titled, “South West Africa.”

Eventually, after a war that started in 1968, apartheid South Africa’s army recognised SWAPO’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) as a formidable force, which the enemy repeatedly attempted to destroy. But, in the end, at Cuito Cuanavale, in southern Angola, the occupational settler-forces were beaten and SWAPO had won the war. The struggle was successful and SWAPO finally returned home.

When I met the revered ANC president and South African head of state Mandela, three days after his release from Victor Verster Prison in his family’s small Soweto home, Mandela lauded Nujoma and PLAN for their victory at Cuito Cuanavale, as that victory changed the balance of power in the SADC region.

At 89 years, Founding President and Namibia’s Father of the Nation Comrade Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma still leads a prominent life in Namibia, guiding SWAPO and her government through thick and thin. A full and rich life indeed. May you, your family and Namibia continue to be richly blessed. A Luta Continua! Thank you.

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