“I didn’t know if I would survive”
OKANKOLO, Aug. 28 – Deep down in the remote village of Omahiya in Okankolo constituency, liberation struggle hero, 94 year-old Festus Namhadi re-lives his ordeal on a daily basis.
It all started when he moved to Okankolo in 1962 with his late wife and children, during the era of Nathanael Maxwilili , Kaxumba Kandola, Simon Mzee Kauxungwa. At that time, PLAN fighters where returning from Zambia.
Namhadi recalls helping several fighters during the liberation struggle, providing accommodation and feeding some, including Shingwada, whose death a stones-throw from his homestead in Omahiya he recalls vividly.
Some of the plan fighters he remembers are OuMukonda Wandadi well-known as Nekokolo, Oikomboyapumako, Kwatauuta, Katusha, Sacky Hamukwaga, Johnny Nashilongo, and Thomas Niiho known as Hilalion, whom he also rendered assistance during the liberation struggle.
Namhadi sheltered many PLAN fighters during the time as they used to eat food and drink water upon their arrival.
In 1984, they were attacked by South African troops at their homestead, where Shingwada was shot and killed. But the thought lingers in his head, “how did the South African troops discover that the fighters were in his house.”
Tears rolled down his eyes, as he narrated a sad ordeal; the bitter struggle; the heartbreak of people killing their own; and the betrayal when others assisted the South African troops in killing their own brethren.
“Those that got arrested at the time would inform the South African troops as to where they would walk, pass, rest and how they communicated in code as a way of speaking to warn each other of the South African troops,” said Namhadi.
He said that the war was bitter, and there was no way he was guaranteed survival, but they did at the tips of the fighters blade. He believes Namibians that were working with the South African troops were to blame for all the attacks that happened, including the 26 August 1966 attack at Omugulugwombashe village in Omusati region.
“I would be thankful, even if one of the PLAN fighters that is still alive, just come and pay me a visit or remember me, as they were a lot of them that I assisted during the time,” concluded Namhadi. – Maria Abraham
Not forgotten: Festus Namhadi at the grave of Shingwada close to his homestead