“We are Namibians and not South Africans. South West Africa is our own land and we wish to be our own masters. We believe South Africa has robbed us of our country. We do not recognize your rights to govern us, to treat our country as if it were your property and as if you are our masters”.
These are the words by Tateguru Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo during his trial by the Apartheid Government after which he was imprisoned for twenty years at Robben Island along with other SWAPO Freedom Fighters. After watching a documentary by Papa Hishishi and Philip Miller entitled ” Paths to Freedom”, I got to understand the history of the liberation movement of Namibia.
Tanzania and its founding father Baba wa Taifa Julius Kambaragi Nyerere remains unarguably the Hero of Africa. When one watches Paths to Freedom, one can better understand what the Namibians went through to liberate their country. Many other Southern African countries went through the same trials and tribulations to free their countries. I am now dreaming of a Museum of the African Liberation Movements to be built in Tanzania in honour of Mzee Baba wa Taifa Julius Kambaragi Nyerere and all the people who fought to liberate the continent.
It is my Hope that this dream will be realized. As we move forward it is important to keep telling our history; our story. We must strive not to remain passengers in our own ship. If we fail to tell our own history, it will be told by others from their own perspectives and our voice will be silenced.
Hishishi Papa Shikongeni, Richard Pakleppa, Philip Miller you made my day. Not to forget the Freedom Fighters and those that cooked for you on your journey to Uhuru, Tateguru Toivo ya Toivo, Priskilia Tuhadeleni, Thate Hifikepunye Pohamba, Mzee Lahya Iyambo, Baba Tateguru Sam Nujoma, Mzee Helao Shityuwete, Amai Jestina Amalwa, Mzee Tategulu Kambo Shixungeleni, Amai Nora Schimming – Chase, Mzee Tategulu Gerson Vell, Baba General John Nankundhu and many others; the list is endless. Your story tells us as a young generation that freedom did not just happen on its own but people like you put your lives, and families at risk because you wanted freedom. You freed our countries from those that wanted to remain our teachers. Your energy and determination was and is still strong.
When I hear your voices I can feel what really was happening at that time. It is real like it happened today. I salute those that were killed during the struggle. For ICC during the colonial era I say, you denied us our independence but we got it through these men. ICC has not changed its colours for the apartheid perpetrators are still walking freely without a single word from ICC. Many crimes were committed as a result of slavery and colonialism but still ironically the ICC remains silent and claim to the judge of human rights. Africa has waited for the reparations for crimes committed during slavery and colonialism and we keep waiting and it remains my hope that all our generation will understand our journey to self rule.
The time between 1945 and 1960 was for Africa the time to demand freedom from the settlers. The African Liberation Movements had to make sure that Africa got liberated and many of Africa’s Founding Fathers made sure we had total independence. I keep learning as I travel throughout Africa and the World, Africa has come a long way. A life of sacrifice by these man made us who we are and all we can do is to record their stories before they die because they will die with their stories and we will have ourselves to blame.
My father and many others across the continent fought for the French Empire, British Empire and Germany Empire and in return they got nothing. Some have died poor and others are still swimming in poverty. My African Heroes Film which was sponsored by IWMN north brought the story of these men to the British audience. They are the Forgotten Heroes of the empire. Aluta Continua. It’s not yet Uhuru because Cultural Liberation is far from over. We still want our culture back.