This week in the Khuta -Heroes Day: More than just an off-day
Known by the older generation as a Born Free, Heroes Day to me not only means a free day off from my straining occupation but taking the time to really be grateful to all the brave men and women that fought for the country that it is today as well as honour them for the sacrifice they made in order for me to grow up in an economically, politically and societally free environment.
History from the books as well as ex-combatants that are still living, continue to tell their grandchildren that for over 100 years, Namibia was under oppressive occupation.
First by the Germans, starting in 1884, and then by the Afrikaners of South Africa, starting in 1920. During this era of oppression by Germany and South Africa, thousands of Namibian people lost rights to their land, minerals, and resources and lived under poor, and harsh conditions.
Many were forced to work as indentured laborers or work on white-owned farms as well as on mines. The colonisers not only exploited the Namibian people, but exhausted the country’s resources. Scars of the past still live with many of these people that are alive even though it was such a long time ago.
Very recently Namibia commemorated national Heroes Day and many Namibians, young and old as well as foreigners flocked to Omuthiya town, situated in the Oshikoto region in Northern Namibia. For those who could not make it to the event, the National Broadcaster, NBC showed the event live on television. (When it was not striking – Ed.)
26 August in the history of Namibia is a very important day and has been commemorated since Namibia gained her Independence from South Africa in 1990. 26 August 1966, marked the start of nearly thirty- years of violence in Namibia.
It was on this day, the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) attacked a group of forces from the South African Colonial Apartheid regime at Omgulugombashe in the Omusati region.
For the next 24 years, the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and the South African Colonial Apartheid regime were at war. Namibia was declared a sovereign state on 21 March 1990 after officially gaining its independence from South Africa.
To honour those who lost their lives fighting for National Freedom, Namibia has designated 26 August as Heroes’ Day, a day that has been commemorated by all Namibians from all parts of the country since Independence.
In a strategic move to bring the event closer to the people, government has decided to commemorate Heroes day in different regions every year.
During this full day of commemoration’s, the Ndilimani Cultural Group entertained the crowd with live performances, and other representatives also showed cultural presentations including praise dances and songs.
His Excellency, President, Hifikepunye Pohamba gave his keynote address, urging citizens to uphold the values and pursue the goals for which so many compatriots sacrificed their lives and shed their blood. The event concluded with the raising of the Namibian flag in the same manner as the real fighters did after each triumph during the war.
As a proud Born Free, I embrace the history of our country and honour the freedom fighters that went into battle to fight for our freedom.
If it were not for them, perhaps I would not be referred to as a Born Free in an Independent Namibia having the privilege to be who I want to be, study, work and live wherever I wish.
A born free Namibian