Remembering Gerson Veii

15 February 2018 | History

Yesterday marked three years since the departure of an outstanding freedom fighter from this world, the late Comrade Gerson Hitjevi Veii, Commander-In-Chief of the liberation forces in the then occupied Namibia, the first Namibian political prisoner to be charged and incarcerated under the 1962 Communism Act at the notorious Robben Island – a place where the cream of crop of southern African politicians were imprisoned.

Late Comrade Veii was the president of Swanu from 1966 to 1981 and before that period, he served as the vice-president of South West Africa National Liberation Front (Swanlif), a progressive anti-colonial force that was formed as a link between Swanu, Swapo, the Rehoboth Volks Party and other groupings, to oppose the presence of South African apartheid regime in Namibia. In his capacity as a leader of Swanlif, in December 1966 at a public meeting at Freedom Square, he called for the release of Johny Otto, Jason Mutumbulwa and Nathanael Maxuilili whose whereabouts were not known. At the same occasion, he said, “the redder the blood, the sweeter our victory”, words that caused him imprisonment at Robben Island from 1966 to 1972.

After his release from notorious Robben Island, late Veii continued the struggle to the bitter end. It is during this period, after the failure of Vorster Advisory Council that was preceded by the Odendaal Plan, that late Veii became a de jure Commander-In-Chief of the liberation forces and fought relentlessly against the South African neo-colonial internal political dispensation that included the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference, the 1978 December election under the auspices of the racist regime, the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the interim government. Late Veii, being an elder politician at that time and with Nathaniel Maxuilili of Swapo confined to Walvis Bay, it was imperative for him to guide the national liberation movement that was spearheaded by young politicians that included Vekuii Rukoro, Dan Tjongarero, Kuzeeko Kangueehi, Axel Johannes, Jefta Tjozongoro, Mogkanedi Thlabanelo, Joshua Hoebeb, Immanuel Ngatjizeko and more. His leadership served the purpose of avoiding political lacuna, taking into account that after the massacre of 10 December 1959, there was a mass exodus of some of the seasoned veterans of the national liberation struggle that included Sam Nujoma, Fanuel Kozonguizi, Zed Ngavirue, Uatja Kaukuetu.

The late Veii was honoured and buried at Heroes' Acre but his legacy must be emulated for the sake of current and future succeeding generations. This is the only minimum and legitimate act of patriotism to honour this Son of the Namibian Soil. A memorial lecture will be held on Saturday, 17 February at 10:00 at the Swanu office in Katutura, behind Black Chain Shopping Centre to honour late Veii's legacy.

STAFF REPORTER

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