Windhoek – On the 55th anniversary of Heroes Day, recognised by the United Nations as Namibia Day, President Hage Geingob has called on the nation and the region to honour and draw inspiration from the men and women who have championed African liberation.
Namibia marks August 26 of each year as Heroes Day.
On August 26, 1966, apartheid South Africa dispatched eight helicopters to attack trainee guerrillas at Omugulugwombashe, marking the start of Namibia’s armed struggle which culminated in Independence on March 21, 1990.
The attack followed an earlier resolution by the UN General Assembly revoking South Africa’s mandate to govern what was then called South West Africa. The territory was placed under UN administration, an outcome South Africa rejected and waged war against for the next 24 years.
Marking Heroes Day/Namibia Day this year, President Geingob said: “Not only is this day significant in the context of the struggle for Namibian independence but it also represents a pivotal moment in the struggle for the liberation of the entire Southern African region.
“On this day we recognise and celebrate our heroes and heroines, men and women, sons and daughters of the soil, who defied fear, whose sense of duty threw the gauntlet down to fate, whose honor did not compromise with death as they crossed many rivers of blood in order to deliver the promise of freedom and independence.”
The Namibian Head of State and Government paid special tribute to heroes like Chief Hosea Kutako, Mburumba Kerina, Hans Beukes, Jariretundu Kozonguizi, Dr Sam Nujoma, Chief Hendrik Witbooi, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo and Simon Kaukungua.
He said the resoluteness of these and other heroes had contributed immensely to advancing the causes of sovereignty and equality.
“Without fundamental human rights, the pursuit of development would not be possible and that is why the Liberation Struggle was an absolute necessity, for as the Cuban revolutionary and poet José Martí said, ‘Rights are to be taken, not requested; seized, not begged for.’ Through armed struggle, Namibians decided not to request for their rights but to take them; not to beg for their rights but to seize them,” President Geingob said.
He urged Namibians to commit to build on this legacy and establish a united nation as envisioned by the “Namibian House” principle, in which the different ethnic groups and races were the walls, all plastered and covered with the hues of the national flag.
“The individual bricks are not identifiable and, therefore, the various bricks have been combined into one wall and thus represent a unified nation. This is the new narrative we have started, in order to ensure that we consolidate the solid foundations that have been laid by the sons and daughters of our liberation struggle.”