Cassinga Survivor Still Suffers War Trauma

The Cassinga massacre of 1978 did not only rob Namibia of hundreds of its citizens but also traumatized many who are still living with anxiety disorders 36 years after South African paratroopers raided the Cassinga refugee camp.

One of the still traumatized citizens is 60-year-old Onesmus Victor who lives with his mother in the remote village of Ehungaelo in Anamulenge constituency of the Omusati Region.

Although the Cassinga massacre happened 36 years ago, it is still very fresh in Victor’s mind as if it occurred yesterday. Victor survived the attack on Cassinga but witnessed the death of many Namibians that fateful day.

“I have so many sleepless nights since that day. I sometimes cannot sleep as Cassinga’s screams, shooting and shouts still ring loudly in my mind. They come to me in flashbacks. It has permanently disturbed me,” an emotional Victor narrated.

Victor, who lives with his 90-year-old mother, depends on a government social grant and the future he has still looks very bleak. He said he does not receive a grant from the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs as although he registered as a veteran three years ago, he has still not received his membership card.

Victor said that since the day of the Cassinga attack his prospects to earn a decent living took a heavy nosedive due to the atrocities he suffered.

“Oh I suffered, I suffered my child. I think I was supposed to die – because now it seems I survived to suffer. I was abused especially in jail. Oh! Oh,” Victor, who has been living on medication for the past 36 years, tearfully told New Era.

“I only feel better when I get an injection, and I am injected every month so that I can at least sleep and live normally,” he said.

Victor was taken prisoner at Cassinga and spent over two years in jail in Namibia without being prosecuted. He was released in 1980 and placed under house arrest. He was ordered not to move out of his house and threatened that if he did his whole family would be executed.

“Because I wanted to protect my family, I decided not to go back to Angola, my health was also deteriorating day by day so I could not go in any case,” Victor noted.

Source : New Era