Magazine article New African

Castro, a Personal Tribute

Magazine article New African

Castro, a Personal Tribute

Article excerpt

I am a product of the Cuban Revolution. Namibians are eternally indebted to Cuba for being a caring nation with firm principles and a true friend of Namibia. Cubans shed their precious blood for Namibia's freedom and independence. Those of us who studied in Cuba salute Commandant Fidel Castro. We embrace the Cuban people.

In 1977, I left Namibia for Angola. I met Cuban internationalists for the first time in Cassinga. At that time, I knew little about Cuba and its people.

As pioneers, we were educated by the SWAPO leadership in exile, about why Cuban internationalists were in Angola. As children, this made us to think deeper.

The Cubans had volunteered to assist a nation in need. They were sacrificing their lives in order to save our lives and maintain peace in Angola. This greatly inspired us, coming from a colonised Namibia.

At the end of 1977, a group of us were sent to Chibia in Angola to study Spanish in preparation for our departure for Cuba. Two Cuban teachers were provided by the government of Cuba. We excelled in the Spanish language, due to the conducive teaching method of the Cubans.

Cuba also allocated to us, two additional Cubans, a husband and wife, who acted as father and mother to us. We developed closeness and respected them.

We were constantly visited and guided by our leaders, especially, the founding president Dr Sam Nujoma, the late Comrade Peter Nanyemba and Greenwell Matongo.

While we were in Chi bia, apartheid South African invaded Angola and mercilessly attacked Cassinga, killing many defenceless Namibians. We appreciated the care and bravery of the Cuban internationalist troops who came to our rescue.

I left for Cuba in 1978, together with other SWAPO pioneers. We were very excited and curious. We had never seen Cuban children before and we were so keen to meet them.

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We flew from Luanda, Angola's capital, to Havana. We travelled in different groups; some went to the Island of Youth and others to Havana. Those who went to the Island were put in a school specifically meant for Namibian children to pursue their studies.

Some, though, attended different schools on the Island, where they mixed with pupils from Nicaragua, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola, Congo, Cape Verde and the Polisario Front. …

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