Remains of Heroes Arrive From Zambia

The remains of two war heroes – Putuse Appolus and Lineekela Kalenga – who lost their lives during the struggle for independence were repatriated from Zambia yesterday morning.

This brings the total number of repatriations to seven after the bodies of Eneas Peter Nanyemba, Walde Homateni Kaluenja, Isak Shikongo, Natalia Ndahambelela Shikangala Mavulu and Augustus Nghaamwa were returned to Namibia in May.

During the reception ceremony at Eros Airport, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said government would like to inter at Heroes’ Acre the remains of those repatriated, provided their families agree to the plan.

The low-key ceremony was attended by a small group of people comprising mostly of the relatives of the two repatriated heroes. Prime Minister Dr Hage Geingob was also present.

Pohamba said although government wants to repatriate the remains of all leaders who died outside Namibia during the liberation struggle, many lie in unmarked graves or forests in countries such as Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola, Botswana, South Africa and Zambia – which makes the identification process cumbersome.

Appolus, who was one of the first Namibian women to go into exile, was described by Pohamba as a steadfast freedom fighter.

“She was a nurse and many of us used to go and eat at her place. That is why she did not even have a bank account, because we ate up all her money,” said Pohamba jokingly.

As for Kalenga, Pohamba said the late freedom fighter had a passion for education as well as training young people.

The President paid homage to the Zambian nation for the role they played in Namibia’s freedom struggle.

“The Zambians suffered because of us but when they got their independence they helped us get ours. I really thank them for the role they played,” he said.

Delivering a speech at the reception ceremony, Zambian High Commissioner to Namibia, Wendy Sinkala, said Zambia’s decision to assist Namibia in attaining its independence was not for prestigious reasons, but rather a necessity.

“We believed that peace in one country is not peace if there is no peace across the border,” she said. Appolus was a member of the Swapo Women’s Council as well as a Central Committee member. She was a country representative at the World Women Organisation before her death on 28 October 1986. Apollus also worked for the Lusaka City Council in the 1970s.

Kalenga, who is believed to have died on 27 June 1981, was the party’s secretary for education and a Central Committee member. Minister of Regional and Local Development, Housing and Rural Development Charles Namoloh led a high level committee, as chairperson, to Zambia to collect the remains.

He said the grave of Penny Hashoongo, who also died in Zambia, could not be identified but the process is ongoing to ensure her remains are returned home. Hashoongo is a former Swapo Women’s Council secretary.

Source : New Era

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