Cassinga events need to be documented

Cassinga events need to be documented

IT wasn’t the first time the story had been told, but judging from the age of many in attendance and the silence during its telling, one could have believed that it was.

“We heard a strange sound coming from the south-eastern side of the camp,” Cassinga massacre survivor Agnes Kafula started, recounting the events of 28 years ago, which left hundreds of Namibians dead. Kafula was speaking at the annual commemoration of Cassinga Day in Windhoek yesterday, which was held at the UN Plaza in Katutura.She recalled how they quickly learned that the sound came from South African Defence Force (SADF) aircraft which proceeded to drop bombs onto the southern Angolan town, and send in forces.”Many were shot at close range.Small kids thrown against trees and big stones,” she said, losing her voice at times.”Our wounds have healed,” she finally said after narrating how she, along with other survivors, some of whom stood behind her holding candles, managed to escape the onslaught.”But our scars remain.May their souls rest in peace.”Kafula asked Government to ensure that the history of Cassinga was documented “in the form of a booklet” to ensure that what happened does not become lost to future generations.She also asked Government to consider allowing survivors to visit the mass grave of those who died, while asking that those who were instrumental in saving the lives of survivors be recognised as national heroes and heroines.Former Prime Minister Hage Geingob also stressed the need for this part of Namibia’s history to be documented, regardless of how painful it might be.”Many want us to forget what we went through.They want us to believe that Namibia started on March 21 1990.But history is about everything, the good and the bad,” Geingob said.”We must be careful in this country not to play down certain events.We must not take our reconciliation for granted.”In conclusion, Geingob cautioned Government to become more proactive in addressing issues of land and economic empowerment, in order to avoid possibly dangerous consequences.”There are many Namibians who are angry.Angry also with their leaders who say let’s forgive and forget.Let’s address the land issue, the economic issue, before it’s too late,” he said.The plaza was filled with Namibians young and old, who sang songs of remembrance between the speeches.Kafula was speaking at the annual commemoration of Cassinga Day in Windhoek yesterday, which was held at the UN Plaza in Katutura.She recalled how they quickly learned that the sound came from South African Defence Force (SADF) aircraft which proceeded to drop bombs onto the southern Angolan town, and send in forces.”Many were shot at close range.Small kids thrown against trees and big stones,” she said, losing her voice at times.”Our wounds have healed,” she finally said after narrating how she, along with other survivors, some of whom stood behind her holding candles, managed to escape the onslaught.”But our scars remain.May their souls rest in peace.”Kafula asked Government to ensure that the history of Cassinga was documented “in the form of a booklet” to ensure that what happened does not become lost to future generations.She also asked Government to consider allowing survivors to visit the mass grave of those who died, while asking that those who were instrumental in saving the lives of survivors be recognised as national heroes and heroines.Former Prime Minister Hage Geingob also stressed the need for this part of Namibia’s history to be documented, regardless of how painful it might be.”Many want us to forget what we went through.They want us to believe that Namibia started on March 21 1990.But history is about everything, the good and the bad,” Geingob said.”We must be careful in this country not to play down certain events.We must not take our reconciliation for granted.”In conclusion, Geingob cautioned Government to become more proactive in addressing issues of land and economic empowerment, in order to avoid possibly dangerous consequences.”There are many Namibians who are angry.Angry also with their leaders who say let’s forgive and forget.Let’s address the land issue, the economic issue, before it’s too late,” he said.The plaza was filled with Namibians young and old, who sang songs of remembrance between the speeches.

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