Windhoek – Namibian President Hage Geingob has called on his fellow citizens to jealously guard the country’s peace and stability.
He made the remarks in the context of this year’s commemorations of Cassinga Day, observed annually as a reminder of apartheid South Africa’s May 4, 1978 attack on a Namibian refugee camp in Cassinga, Angola. The attack left an estimated 800 people dead, mostly women and children.
President Geingob said, “As we commemorate the sons and daughters who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, we honour our brothers and sisters of Angola and Cuba, for their support during our bitter struggle for liberation and for paying the ultimate sacrifice for our independence and sovereignty.
“In remembering the heroes of our liberation struggle, I wish to implore all Namibians to guard our peace and stability jealously. Where there is no peace, there can be no development. And where there is no development, there can be no peace.”
He went on: “Let us continue to hold hands as we stay the course of the second phase of our struggle, to bring prosperity to our people.”
President Geingob paid homage to the people of Angola and Cuba for their unwavering support and great sacrifices for Namibia’s Independence.
“The journey of breaking the shackles of colonialism and Apartheid was long and bitter, lasting over a century. Sons and daughters of the Land of the Brave endured unspoken hardships, bled and died in the name of our freedom. We therefore salute the bravery and selflessness of all the men and women whose sacrifice have made it possible for us to be free today.
“This year marks 43 years since the deadly Cassinga Massacre of innocent civilians. On this fateful day, 4 May 1978, we recall the merciless attack on hundreds of our innocent citizens, women and children, who had taken refuge at a transit refugee camp in the Angolan village of Cassinga in the early morning hours, resulting in a bloody massacre by the then South African Defence Force on 4 May 1978.”
The massacre hardened international opinion against apartheid and galvanised Namibians’ resolve to win their independence.