Seven Heroes Reburied

THE remains of seven Namibians who died in exile in Angola and Zambia during the struggle for independence, were reburied at the Heroes Acre in Windhoek yesterday.

On Monday, government held a memorial service for the seven heroes whose remains were exhumed and repatriated to Namibia this year for reburial.

Hundreds of mourners, among them political leaders and other dignitaries, attended the memorial service where families expressed their gratitude to the government for returning the remains of their loved ones home.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba said government has taken a decision to repatriate the remains of freedom fighters who were buried outside Namibia. He applauded the Angolan and Zambian governments for helping with the repatriation process.

Pohamba said they have recognised that this is a major challenge because many of the compatriots and freedom fighters who lost their lives during the struggle are buried in unmarked graves in Namibia and in countries such as Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania.

“It is even more difficult in the case of our brave combatants who died in battle, because it was not always possible for their comrades-in-arms to bury them in the heat of the battle. Therefore, our commitment is that, whenever it is possible, feasible and practical, wherever we are able to identify the remains of our fallen freedom fighters, we will bring them home and give them a dignified reburial,” he said.

Pohamba said the families of these heroes and heroines, and Namibians in general, should continue to honour them by serving the country with dedication.

“In their honour, we must all become the foot soldiers in the struggle against poverty and underdevelopment, corruption and violence against women and children,” he said.

Founding president Sam Nujoma applauded the government for bringing the remains home and giving them a befitting and dignified burial.

Nujoma said the political struggle for freedom and independence is completed.

According to him, the great task ahead now is the struggle for economic independence, which he said requires unity of purpose and action.

For Peter Nanyemba’s family, the military belt he wore during the struggle gave them closure that he was gone for good.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Nickey Iyambo said the belt was returned to the family 24 years ago. Only then did they accept that he was really gone and they had to find closure.

Nanyemba’s relatives were grateful to government for ensuring his remains were returned to Namibia.

“The remains do not belong to us as a family but to the Namibian people because that is what he fought for,” Iyambo said.

Norah Appolus, daughter to the late Putuse Leonora Dywili-Appolus, said her mother believed in the Namibian cause, and “today we live by the same values she taught us.”

She said her mother’s wish was to be buried in Namibia, and this wish had been fulfilled.

Appolus said it was sad that her mother died just a few years before independence. “However, she died for the country she loved and is being reburied in.”

Erika Kayelende, niece of the late Linekela Hailundu Kalenga, said her family is proud to acknowledge what he did for the country, even though he did not live to see his dream come true.

Kayelende said the challenge is now for the young people to emulate what the heroes and heroines did.

The president of Rally for Democracy and Progress, Hidipo Hamutenya, said he was fortunate to have known all these heroes and heroines whose remains were being reburied.

“They were my acquaintances and I spent memorable times with them. To the families, we want you to know that the sacrifices of your beloved ones have not gone in vain. They are valued,” Hamutenya said.

Source : The Namibian