Rihu, brothers, sisters and comrades: May your souls live forever

“Comrades and friends, I just received a sad message from Sister Lovona in the UK that Bro Berrenga passed on in Gambia on Saturday. He will be buried in Gambia as per his wish. May His Soul rest in Eternal Peace. Regards Rihu.”

This was the message I received on 10 October 2019 from Rihupisa Kandando.

Barely three years later we must again face the said news of yet another long journey undertaken into the unknown by Rihu – strong in the belief that he will be reunited with brothers Berrenga, Berry and Koka.

Ironically we never seem to accept our mortality, despite believing the departed are not actually dead, but have only travelled far to join the ancestors.

We are trusting and believing Rihu has not reached the end of the road, but only the Rubicon.

He is now taking another direction towards a reunion with the ancestors to engage political and revolutionary mentors, among them Uatjindua Ndjoze, brothers Berrenga, Berry and Koka.

Rihu has indeed been an active diehard pan-Africanist. A revolutionary.

Not surprisingly so being a protégé of the pan-African revolutionaries to rekindle the old flame of pan-Africanism and the revolution, solidified by a mutual commitment to pan-Africanism birthed during the trying years, both ideologically (subjectively) and objectively, of Thatcherism in the United Kingdom, and Reaganomics in the United States of America when these Babylons were burning.

Indeed those were trying times for all Africans on the continent and in the diaspora.

No less for us Namibians and South Africans, still questing and wrestling for independence and liberation.

Brother Berrenga and all the brothers and sisters were pretty much squarely, unwaveringly and uncompromisingly part of our struggles.

The struggles of African people in Mother Africa were inextricably linked to those of the African brothers and sisters in the diaspora.

One cannot but cherish that era in the company of such great African thinkers and doers, not to mention the indomitable and unwavering Rihu himself.

At times, if not all the time, stubbornly resilient and revolutionary daring.

Rihu was spirited by predecessors like Hitjevi Veii, Sondaha Kangueehi, and Uatjindua Ndjoze, themselves imbued by Africanists like WEB du Bois, George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah and CLR James, Marcus Hosia Garvey, Frantz Fanon, Walter Rodney, Steven Bantu Biko, Robert Sobukwe and Nelson Mandela.

“As we enter the new millennium, Africa stands at a critical stage in her struggle for survival and the reassertion of her heritage and civilisation.

“The domination and suppression of Africa’s cultural heritage and civilisational achievements was the basis on which Europe asserted herself as a civlised people . . .

“Africa’s struggle for freedom will continue until Europe and the West in general are rehumanised by African resistance against their oppressive rule the world over,” wrote eminent pan-African scholar Dani Nabudere in 1999.

Twenty years later his message has been and is still the message of brothers Rihu, Berry, Koka and Berrenga.

Still ringing very much true in this millennium, presumed and assumed the millennium of development goals, which has been proving no more than developmental hallucinations in practice.

Their camaraderie, brotherhood and revolutionary spirit was born, nurtured and shaped in the pan-African philosophy of Africa and Africans as their own liberators – an unpalatable reality and truism of the liberation and freedom of many African polities today, where flag freedom rules supreme.

We cannot but be gratified that brothers like Berrenga, Koka and the late Rihu are having and have been having their all-important last rites on home soil on the African continent.

With Brother Berrenga in The Gambia, where indeed he had resettled, reincarnated and reliving the true African spirit and persona practically.

The retrogressive and debilitating socio-economic conditions that have been and are still being experienced by many of our African brethren and sisters notwithstanding.

This is where Rihu’s soul shall be wandering – not resting in eternal peace as we often wish upon the souls of our departed.
Their souls cannot rest in peace while the continent they so much loved continues to bleed from the vestiges of capitalism and neo-colonialism.

True African liberation will only be achieved when the masses of the African people own and control the wealth of their naturally endowed environments in each and every corner of the Mother Continent.

Thus their souls and many others must continue to live, and their wisdom to enrich and imbue us in the still long overhaul for the true liberation of Africa.

To strengthen our spirits and enrich our wisdoms to hold high and carry the baton of pan-Africanism and the torch of reparation.

For Rihu and others, who all the way till the end of one part of their journey kept the revolutionary torch burning.

Rihu was and is indeed one of a few of the living embodiments of keeping the torch burning.

Not in his own cause, but for all – especially the masses.

*Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro is a former journalist.

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