Book exposes Swapo's ghastly crimes

07 August 2018 | History

A survivor of the Lubango dungeons has recounted the horrors he experienced while being incarcerated by Swapo in exile.

In a tell-all book titled 'Swapo Captive - A Comrade's Experience of Betrayal and Torture', Oiva Angula speaks out about his four-and-a-half-year imprisonment, during which he was repeatedly tortured.

Certain Swapo members reportedly used the dungeons in the Angolan town to either eliminate or terrorise suspected dissidents during the armed struggle for Namibia's independence.

In his book Angula shares how he was wrongly accused of being an apartheid spy and traitor during a series of purges within in the organisation.

“'Swapo Captive' threads together personal narrative and national history, including Angula's childhood in South West Africa, the rising tensions sparked by apartheid rule, his father's role in early liberation movements, and his own politicisation and decision to join the struggle.

“He gives fascinating accounts of life in a PLAN training camp, political education in the Eastern bloc, and a cadre's role in the war for independence,” reads a summary of the book, which is expected to hit the shelves this week.





Reports suggest that about 4 000 Namibians were incarcerated in the dungeons of Lubango and many remain unaccounted for.

The United Nations Committee against Torture in December 2016 communicated with the Namibian government, insisting on an inquiry into the exile period, as well as the post-colonial period, which includes the Caprivi treason trial.

An inquiry into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity by Swapo in exile, which was supposed to start earlier this year, has failed to take off.

The inquiry is being spearheaded by the Committee of Parents and the Truth and Justice Committee, which includes survivors and family members of the missing.

One of the Lubango survivors, who requested anonymity, said only the truth would bring closure.

“We are brave enough and we have been speaking out all along. The fact that this episode is recorded will ensure generational justice. It will be related to the coming generations,” said the man, who had spent five years in the dungeons.

“In the meantime we, including Swapo, should do soul-searching to come up with a genuine solution to close this chapter. It is a very painful chapter which was never resolved.”

Ombudsman John Walters and one of the victims, Bience Gawanas, have in the past also supported calls for an inquiry during interviews with The Patriot newspaper.

STAFF REPORTER

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