By Alex Kuviaza Kambai
COMRADE Kazenambo Kazenambo joined SWAPO in 1975 with other comrades such as Godknows Wateka Wateka, Alexander Kambai Meroro (Alex Meroro) current senior lecturer at Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and other young cadres of their age at that time and some who lost their lives on the battlefront in the northern and north-eastern fronts of Namibia.
Meroro was the leader of the group that was based in Botswana in Maun, Mahalapye and Francistown from 1976 which mobilised young Namibians in the diaspora to join the liberation struggle in Zambia and Angola which attained its independence in 1975.
Our activities were political mobilisation, political education and creation of underground study groups in Botswana with Marxist- Leninist ideologies thinking to prepare ourselves for the bitter struggle and long hardship to be experienced during the long march to freedom. Liberation war materials, pamphlets from liberation movements such as The Combatant, Namibia Today, ZIPRA, ZANLA (Zimbabwe News), FRELIMO, PAC, and ANC (Setshaba), and other progressive literature such as BNF (Puo phaa), Moscow News, Pravda, Radio Peace and Progress Moscow, USSR etc and others were distributed to all our group members and those whom we recruited to make them understand what the struggle was all about and why they should get involved. Underground field visits to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique were undertaken in coordination and collaboration with SWAPO representatives in Botswana and leaders in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola.
The Namibian youth born in the Diaspora in Botswana worked together with our able brothers and sisters who worked as Swapo’s operatives and representatives in Botswana.
Comrade Victor Nkandi, Sisingi Heskia, Comrade Andrew Nghindinua, Comrade Ngejama, Ambassador Ipumbu , the late Cde Aaron Mushimba, Ambassador Helao Comrade Domingo, Commander Kavezeri Katjipuka, Comrade Mboroo Kahaka, Comrade Kapuka Nauyala, Comrade Kanyetu, Comrade George Shinyala Comrade Neto and many others who are late, and those who are alive even their graves can witness that.
Is Kazenambo Kazenambo being denied his role and contribution in the struggle today or is it because of his ethnicity? Comrade KK has been in the struggle since a long time ago and I’m a living library and seal of the heroes of Namibian born in Botswana. Lies are always flying around more especially by those who joined the party after it completed the chapter of the liberation struggle. “A lie told often enough becomes the truth” (Vladimir Lenin). “God will not forgive us if we all fail” (Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev).
Botswana has cadres who joined and fought bravely in exile even if you try to distort our history. Our ancestors fought the German occupation of Namibia and encouraged us not to forget that we are Namibians and that we should participate in the liberation of our motherland like them who never wavered to fight the agenda of liberating their motherland as they had the quest to return home. We participated bravely in both diplomatic and military activities inside and outside the country during both wars of resistance and the liberation war. Where were you when our parents fought the Germans occupation of Namibia and also participated in the liberation struggle?
I participated in many activities of the Council of Churches in Namibia and I was part and parcel of the reconnaissance operations both inside and outside the country and I sneaked outside the country to meet the leaders in Botswana or Zimbabwe for the purpose of planning and executing the mission which was entrusted in me. Hands off! Comrade KK contributed immensely and some of us we are still alive or do you want to tell us that only those who were in Angola are the true comrades who carried the seal of the liberation of the country?
Do research work- in Botswana OvaHerero and Ovambanderu people have a rich archive of documentation of our sons and daughters who joined the liberation struggle and contributed in various ways as per their capacity and the means at their disposal. It is an undeniable fact. Even Namibians of Damara origin who fled the German atrocities in Namibia into Botswana participated and contributed immensely. They were part of us and their descendants are still alive in Mahalapye and the surrounding villages. In Botswana they were under the custodian of Chief Samuel Maharero and Chief Fredrick Maharero. Although historians do not mention them, they were the first to arrive in Bechuanaland then followed by the Ovaherero led by Chief Samuel Maharero.
THE ROLE OF MAHALAPYE AND MAUN IN BOTSWANA DURING THE DECOLONISATION OF NAMIBIA FROM 1940 – 1989.
Namibians who lived in exile after the German Herero- Nama war did not capitulate and become on lookers when those who remained were tortured and imprisoned by the colonial forces.
Chief Fredrick Maharero, son of Chief Samuel Maharero continued with the legacy of mobilising those in exile or diaspora to bring the question of the German South West Africa before the League of Nations Trusteeship Council before the Second World War. Comrade Kazenambo Kazenambo’s father, the late (Veketa Kazenambo), the late Katjee Fredrick Kavikunua Tjamuaha and my grandfather the late Joshua Kambai Meroro and others in cooperation with the Late Chiefs of Bechuanaland North of the Molopo river present day the Republic of Botswana : Prominent Botswana Traditional leaders i.e. Chief Tshekedi Khama, Chief Gaborone, Chief Moremi, Chief Bathoen together with Chief Fredrick Maharero wrote letters requesting the London Missionary Society to avail a clergyman with knowledge and understanding of the British empire politics of colonialisation in Southern Africa..
Reverend Michael Scott was dispatched for the first time to British Bechuanaland North of the Molopo River to meet Chief Fredrick Maharero and his people. Comrade KK ‘s father was present and including Dr ZK Mathews who was a professor at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa and later became Botswana’s first ambassador to Washington DC and the envoy to the United Nations. The plans to instruct Chief Hosea Kutako to petition the UN were discussed and hatched by these patriotic Leaders in exile .The plan was then formulated and Reverend Michael Scott was dispatched with a letter to the then South West Africa and handed it over to Chief Hosea Kutako to commence with the process. This was the beginning of the rise of the Anti- Colonialism war from the 1940s – 1989 in South West Africa – Namibia.
Comrade Nujoma meeting and galvanising Namibian in exile to rally behind the second Chimurenga- the Second phase of the Namibian Revolution 1960- 1989.
When Comrade Nujoma fled Namibia into exile he was welcomed and housed by the very parents of KK, Rajah Munamava, Mehta Ua-Ndjararakana, Undjee Mupurua nee- Ndjarakana and others in Ngami land and the parents of Keith Kaitire Ruhapo in Mahalapye, Botswana in 1959- 1962. Comrade KK, his parents and other Namibians born in exile in Botswana from the 1904-1908 revolution are not strangers in resisting colonialism. It is well documented and well researched by scholars from well-known Universities in Germany, UK, South Africa and Botswana. Whose is fooling who? Our parents’ availed their sons, some of them left with Comrade President Sam Nujoma from Maun in Ngami land and Mahalapye to join the liberation struggle .They were among the first combatants of SWALA which later was transformed into PLAN.
Among them were comrade Keith Kaitire Ruhapo, Sam Tjitjindua, Caleb Hanganee Tjipahura (Buried at Katutura Cemetery in 1987), Gabriel Kavitundema Muhakauona, Moses Undjee Nganate, Comrade Matundu, Comrade Mboroo Kahaka, Comrade Ben Maekopo (direct Uncle to Hon. Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi).
Comrade Kandunga Maekopo, Tjautumaha Tjetjeo, Chief Munjuku Nguvauva, Daniel Mujnamava, Kaponi Ndjarakana, Maviho Kuazire Matundu, Kunoviua Mupurua, Kaamukoro Tjetjoo, Kahumbu Ndjavera were amongst others old petitioners of Ngamiland or North West region of Botswana, who were later followed by Kazenambo Kazenambo, Alex Meroro, Elias Kanguatjivi, Rajah Munamava, Godknows Setekia Wateka, Comrade Gustav Mupurua , Tjiumbu Justice Muinjo , Reverend Nehemiah Mupurua, Mbeuta Ua Ndjarakana , Moses Kararere Patropas Sebastian Tjitjo, Mrs Juliet Undjee Mupurua, Jonas Kauheva and Mrs Kakori Mupurua and others in 1970s to 1980s. Many of the comrades are no more as few are still alive as libraries of the liberation struggle contribution in Botswana. Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange is a living library if he wants to stand the times of troubles and vicissitudes which swept southern Africa those times. I know of other leaders who have chosen to forget our roles and who can’t look us in the eye as they have climbed on the bandwagon of re-writing our history wrongly, the day will come when we will mention them.
Alex Kuviaza Kambai Meroro: BA (Liberal Studies), MS Agric, MSc (Agric development).
Veteran of the Liberation struggle of Namibia
Senior Lecturer: Rural Development Sociology, Agricultural Land Management and Management Principles courses: Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences, NUST
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015