The political tsunami of the 1960s and 1970s (Part 2)

A catalyst for the youth exodus to join PLAN in Zambia and Angola

25 September 2020 | Opinion

SIKUNAWA NEGUMBO

During the process of establishing the Swapo Youth League (SYL) branches, a crop of very dynamic and stubborn individual youths emerged in all towns and villages.

Their strategy to convey their messages were issue based and not only advocacy and agitation but were issues related. All those that were to be speakers at those meetings were given topics which were first discussed at the secret meetings before conveyed to the masses at public meetings. Revolutionary songs were composed as the means to motivate and agitate the public.

Comrade Jerry Ekandjo (Maudjuu) was good at composing revolutionary songs and in most cases was the one to start singing at all meetings. It was at that time that a motivational song titled “Oshitutuma sha mena” was composed and sung at all our meetings.

A dynamic and political agitator, Jerry was the one who always would start it. This song was composed to give signals to all that even if the senior leaders had developed cold feet and even if the strategic leaders were arrested and imprisoned, there emerged a dynamic young generation that was prepared to carry on with the struggle.

The youth were made up of uncompromised, ready for whatever could come or emerged from their political involvement. These were really revolutionaries by the word of it. They had decided to shed blood if needed to die for freedom, thus at all their political meetings they urged people to shed blood. “The blood must flow” they would say at all their meetings.

After the battle of Omugulugwombashe, many Swapo strategic leaders were arrested. Some were imprisoned for long term in prison in South Africa on the infamous Robben Island while some were given suspended sentences and other were sent to serve short term at prison in Pretoria.

The mass arrest of leaders contributed to some leaders who were not arrested, or who were arrested for a short time and released, developing cold feet and never wished to openly organise and address public political meetings.

Political meetings were organised by groups of Swapo youth who established SYL branches as per instruction by the party extra congress of 1969/1970 (to establish youth league structures all over the country). We established many branches more especially in towns and villages with high population density. We advised the internal leadership that we will start where those who had a responsibility to mobilise people through political mobilisation had ended.

During that time, we had amongst us undisciplined cadres who did not take the position taken by senior leaders with respect and those who were disciplined respectfully took over the mobilisation functions but ignored the advice from the cold footed elders not to hold political meetings.

A dynamic revolutionary non-apologetic youth group, especially those who were members of, started very seriously with the spreading of the word of liberation.

This group consisted of Jerry, David Tshikomba, Fransina Netumbo Nandi, Keshi Maxwilili, Thomas Ndali Kamati, Sam Tshivute, Noah Tuhandeleni, Sackeus Mbandeka lipinge, Charles Namholo, Ndamono Ndeulita, Negonga Nangutuwala, Sikunawa Tshiponga Negumbo, Sakaria Tshimootshili, Martin Kapewasha, Nicky Alweendo, Philip Alweendo, Veronica Shiluwa and her siblings, Veronica Naingwendja, Penny Hashongo, Julia Paulus, Andreas Nuukwawo, Jimmy Amupala, Simon Akwaake, Valde Namunya, Gabriel Tshithigona, John Nghidinwa, Jacob Shidhika and many others whose names I cannot remember now.

Each time of suppression and colonial exploitation produces its type of generational revolutionaries which develop its own strategies and militancy as dictated by the nature of the situation at that time, the intensity and aggressiveness of the oppressive system. From 1969 to 1972/93, there emerged a stubborn, militant and dynamic youth leaders They seized the revolutionary task that was considered as the responsibility of Swapo senior leaders inside the country who developed cold feet after the attack of a Swapo military base at Omugulugwombashe by the South African racist army leading to the mass arrest of many credible Swapo leaders. The Boers imposed a state of military emergency in the whole part of the north stretching from Caprivi to Okajoko.

Gathering or holding of meetings of more than two people were prohibited. The youth then started using religious meetings and school gathering while clergies used alters to spread the message of revolutionary activities through those forums.

The missionary schools and mission stations were after that infiltrated by the government by implanting their security agents who would monitor whatever were happening there. Swapo affiliated students, pastors, priests and the youth aggressively took up political mobilisation activities and responsibility to convey the revolutionary liberation messages to the workers, proletariat and peasants with pride and commitment.

Swapo Youth League militants continuously and persistently requested the internal leaders to be allowed to convene public meetings in the country. Their requests, however, were persistently being refused by the internal senior leaders for fearing that they (the youth) may be arrested and tortured. In 1971, Swapo youth held a meeting in Walvis Bay resulting in Ndali (Thomas) Kamati, Charles Namholo and others being deported to Owambo, Nehemiah Haufiku and Jerry were deported from Windhoek to Walvis Bay where one of them (Haufiku) was born.

Although Jerry was born in Windhoek, he was nevertheless deported to Walvis Bay. Ondangwa branch was also formed and made up Phillip Nambuli, Nicky Nambuli, Negonga Nangutuwala, Jimmy Amupala, Andreas Nuukwawo and many others whose names I cannot remember now. (To be continued.)

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