African heroes

10 African Heroes who died in October – By Winnie Mills

A wise man once said: “History is for human self-knowledge; the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is.” 

A couple weeks ago, I was learning and reflecting on Thomas Sankara’s life and legacy; what has changed in Africa since he was killed 30 years ago, on October 15, 1987. I was about to write an article highlighting some of his precious speeches during his short lived presidency, then the idea came to me to do a research on the leaders who died in October.

To my surprise, they were quite a few and to narrow it down, I concentrated on Africa’s leader we remember in October. Great men and women who dared demand a better future for their children, whose ideas and values irritated many; but who stood straight in the face of opposition for the sake of their belief and convictions. Some of their ideologies were way ahead of their time and by the time we caught up, the wagon had already left the station.

We celebrate their legacies as having fought for freedom and equality; many on this list paying the ultimate price for their sacrifices..

Here’s a list of 10 African Heroes who died in October: Mostly assassinated

 

1) Fred Rwigyema 

10 April 1957 – 2 October 1990 – Rwanda

Fred Rwigyema was born on April 10, 1957, in Mukiranze village, Kamonyi district in the south of Rwanda. Following the war of 1959, he fled to Uganda with his family at the age of three to a refugee camp in Nshungerezi, Ankole. After completing high school, he join the army rebel group, led by Yoweri Museveni and his brother, Salim Saleh who was Rwigema’s best friend. in 1979, He joined the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) which captured and sent Idi Amin to exile in April 1979. He fought in many wars in the region, including the Mozambican liberation (FRELIMO) against the Portuguese colonial power. in 1986, he became the deputy Minister of Defence.

African heroes
Fred Rwigema art- Iradukunda Remy

According to Jeannette Museveni, he was a fierce combatant and fighter, who would later become President Museveni’s personal bodyguard. Rwigema was credited for recruiting many of the high profile RPF fighters including his fellow friend and his fellow rwandese friend Paul Kagame. They kept their long term objectives to go back home to Rwanda to liberate the country. On October 1,1990, Rwigema led the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) troops in the first battle against the regime of president Habyarimana Juvenal.

However, on the second day of the struggle, he was shot in the head and died. There are still no verified version of his death but two theories emerged; one being that he was shot by a Rwandan Army Sniper; the other version states that it was an inside job. A dispute had exploded within his group over which strategy was to be used to advance, and one of his sub-commander drew his pistol and shot him in the head.

Paul Kagame, current Rwandan president and Rwigema’s close friend and ally who was completing a military course in the United states, interrupted his courses and came back to take command of the RPF forces. Today, Fred Rwigema is considered one of the Rwanda’s heroes. His body is buried at the Heroes cemetery in Kigali. Today, We remember the great warrior, commander and visionary as one of Rwanda’s greatest.

http://fortuneofafrica.com/rwanda/maj-gen-fred-gisa-rwigema-imanzi/

 

2) Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat 

25 December 1918 – 6 October 1981 – Egypt

Muhammad Anwar El-Sadat was the third president of Egypt from 1970 until 1981. He was born on December 25, 1918 in Monufia, Egypt in a humble family with thirteen siblings. His father, Anwar El Sadat was an Upper Egyptian and his mother, Sit Al Berain’s father was Sudanese. This caused Sadat to be called “the black poodle” due to his darker skin. He joined the Royal Military Academy in 1973 and entered the army as a lieutenant. There he met Gamal Abdel Nasser (Egypt’s former president) along with others.

Together they formed the Free Officers, a movement committed to freeing Egypt from British domination. During World War II, he fought against the British dominance of Egypt and was imprisoned for several years. He participated in a coup against the Egyptian monarchy in 1952 and supported the election of his friend Gamal in 1956. Under his government, Sadat held various high offices including Vice president from 1964-1966 and 1969-1970. Upon Nasser’s death of a heart attack on September 28, 1970, Sadat was elected president in a plebiscite on Oct 15, 1970.

During his presidency, he made known his willingness to reach peaceful relationship with Israel, signing a peace treaty in 1978 liberating the Sinai Peninsula back to Egyptian control. President Jimmy Carter mediated the negotiations between Sadat and Begin resulting in the Camp David Accords. He, along with Israel’s prime minister Begin, received the Nobel peace prize for initiating and negotiating a peace treaty between the two countries. According to the Council on Foreign Relations website: “In the economic sphere, Sadat pursued equally bold liberalization policies, known as the Infitah, or openness, designed to open up Egyptian markets to foreign capital. His move toward capitalism aimed at developing a strong private sector and bringing prosperity to Egypt. However, the majority of Egyptians found themselves increasingly disadvantaged by these policies, while a small coterie of regime friends grew richer.”

African heroes

On October 6, 1981 Sadat was assassinated during an annual victory parade in Cairo. The assassins who were part of the army parade with their truck, stopped by the president’s tribune and lieutenant Khalid Islambouli approached Sadat with three hand grenades. The president thought the killers were part of the show and stood up to receive his salute. As the grenade exploded, additional assassins fired assault riffles into the stands until exhaustion of their ammunition. President Sadat was killed outright along with ten others. Several were wounded including vice president Hosni Mubarak, who succeeded him after the attacks.

With speculations around his assassination being around three arguments.  Egypt-Israel peace treaty that did not sink well with many people; his reorientation towards the West bothered many Egyptians as well as a worsening economic crisis and a growing muslim extremism ideology in Egypt. During his 11 years as president, scholars said that he had a different vision of Egypt*. Hirsch Goodman, a senior researcher at Tel Aviv University says that Israelis remember him very fondly, saying that if there was more like him in this world, we’d be able to live in peace.

Today we celebrate President Muhammad Anwar el-Sadat’s legacy in  Egypt.

“I believe that for peace a man may, even should, do everything in his power. Nothing in this world could rank higher than peace.” Anwar Sadat

https://www.cfr.org/blog/sadats-legacy-and-egypt-today

 

3) PRINCE Louis Rwagasore

10 January 1932 – 13 October 1961 – Burundi

Born on January 1932 in Burundi, PLR was the son of King Mwambutsa IV and Therese Kayonga. He attended secondary school in Rwanda at the “groupe scolaire d’Astrida” in Butare and continued his studies at the Anvers university in Belgium. At 20 years old, he interrupted his studies in Belgium and rushed home to join the anti-colonial movement that was starting. His father promoted him to be a Chief but he turned down the role, devoting himself to the nationalist cause.

In 1956, He urged the Belgian colonizers to install a “Murundi” constitution in preparation for an eventual Burundi independence. He founded a series of cooperatives to encourage Burundi economic independence. He called on the locals to boycott Belgian stores and refuse to pay taxes. The Belgian authorities saw him as a threat to their colonial power and banned everything he created and was often put under house arrest. He envisioned a post colonial Burundi, promoted nationalism and encouraged the reduction of ethnic rivalry.

African heroes

He established the first nationalist political movement, “Union pour le progres national: UPRONA” in 1960. During Burundi’s first election in 1961, UPRONA won 80% of the vote and Rwagasore was positioned to become the first political leader of Independent Burundi. Sadly his dream was cut short, on a October 13, 1961, he was assassinated while having dinner at the Hotel Tanganyika, by a greek mercenary as a result of a Belgian conspiracy. Rwagasore never lived to see the day of Burundi’s independence; a year later on July 1, 1962. At 29 years old, he paid the ultimate price for Burundi’s independence. His legacy remains forever. Today, we thank and remember Prince Louis Rwagasore.

“At this time of the victory of the party, though mine, I’m not happy because success for me and my friends, the real victory will be achieved after the completion of a difficult but exhilarating task: a peaceful Burundi, happy and prosperous.”

Rwagasore’s Speech After parliamentary elections of 18/09/1961  http://www.rwagasore.com/english/

 

4) Julius Kambarage Nyerere 

13 April 1922 – 14 October 1999 – Tanzania

Julius Kambarage Nyerere, also commonly known as Mwalimu (teacher) Nyerere, was born in 1922 in Batavia, Tanganyika (current Tanzania). He was one of the many children of Burito Nyerere, the chef of the Zanaki people. His father had 22 wives and 26 children. They all grew up in the same compound, which later will influence his ideas of communal living and political philosophies. As the son of an African-Administered power and authority under the German authorities in what was then the German East Africa, the young Julius was given an opportunity to begin his education at a local school.

Because of his academic excellence, he graduated high school in 1942 and pursued his post-secondary studies at the Makerere college in Kampala, Uganda pursuing a teaching career.

African heroes

Upon graduating, he returned home and started teaching Biology and English at St Mary’s secondary school in Tabora. He then received a scholarship to attend the University of Edinburgh where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Economics and History in 1952.

It is there that he encountered the “Fabian Society” and began to develop his particular vision of connecting socialism with African communal living.

In 1953, after returning back to Tanganyika, he was elected president of TAA (Tanganyika African Association), a civic organization dominated by civil servants, which he later transformed into TANU (Tanganyika African National Union). The main objective was to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika. Within a few years, TANU had become the leading political organization in the country and had extended influence throughout, with considerable support.

In 1955 and 1956, he spoke to the UN trusteeship council demanding a target date for the independence of Tanganyika. The British administration rejected the demand, but a dialogue begun and it established him as the nationalist spokesman for the country.

His oratory skills and integrity helped him achieve NATU’s goal for an independent country with no bloodshed. Much of it due to the understanding and mutual trust that developed during the course of negotiations between Nyerere and British governor, Sir Richard Turnbull. Tanganyika gained independence in December 9, 1961 with Nyerere as its first prime minister.

His most important policy was “Ujamaa – The basis for African Socialism” which was later titled the Arusha Declaration. The term “Ujamaa means “Extended family” or “brotherhood” in Swahili. Some of his ideas included: – The institutionalization of social, economic and political equality through the creation of a central democracy that abolished discrimination based on ascribed status/tribe; The implementation of free and compulsory education for all Tanzanians in order to sensitize them to the principles of Ujamaa. The principles of cooperative economics —”local people cooperating with each other to provide for the essentials of living”.

During his time, Tanzania had one of the highest literacy rate in Africa. As a major force behind the modern Pan-African movement and one of the founders in 1963 of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which later became African Union; Nyerere was a key figure in African revolutions in the 70’s and 80s (Apartheid in South Africa and white Supremacy in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe).

Though his last era of reign was critically noted with the countries economic infrastructures underdeveloped and Tanzania surviving on Foreign aid; we still remember Mwalimu Julius Nyerere as a great visionary of African Unity.

“In Tanzania, it was more than one hundred tribal units which lost their freedom; it was one nation that regained it.” Julius Nyerere

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/8041150/Julius-Nyerere.html

 

5) Thomas Sankara 

21 December 1949 – 15 October 1987 – Burkina faso

Thomas Sankara was a Burkinabé military captain, pan-Africanist and president of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. He was born on December, 21 1949 in Yako, French Upper Volta. (Modern day Burkina Faso). He  grew up in a family of ten children. His father was a gendarme (dad in WWI) employed by the colonial state. Ankara was very kin towards his education and went on to pursue his secondary diploma after primary school. He later decided to join the military, to get the scholarship that came with being in the military; as he could not afford the cost of education.

The military was popular at that time, seen as a national institution that might help discipline the inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy, counterbalance the inordinate influence of traditional chiefs and generally help modernize the country. It is there, under his professors that he would join discussions about imperialism, neocolonialism, socialism, marxism, liberation movements in Africa, etc.

African heroes

He became popular in 1974 when he fought a border war between Upper Volta and Mali, in which he earned fame for his heroic performance. In September 1981, he was appointed Secretary of state for information in the military government, in which he resigned a year after declaring “ Misfortune to those who gag the people”. A coup d’état organized by his friend Blaise Comparé made Sankara president on August 4, 1983, at the age of 33.

In 1984, he renamed the country Burkina Faso, meaning “Land of upright people”. His policies were oriented toward fighting corruption, promoting reforestation, averting famine and making education and health real priorities. He lived with his wife and two sons in a rundown presidential palace and his main worldly goods were a guitar and a second-hand Renault 5. He ordered government ministers to use similar cars and forsake their limousines — a demand that cemented his huge popularity among the poor, especially in the countryside.

His goal was to decolonize people’s mentalities. He was firmly against foreign aid with his famous saying: “Our country produces enough to feed us all. Alas, for lack of organization, we are forced to beg for food aid. It’s this aid that instills in our spirits the attitude of beggars”. Within just 4 years of presidency, Burkina Faso reached food sufficiency having lots of surplus; children were vaccinated and educated and he was one of the first African leader to publicly recognize AIDS as a major threat to Africa.

Here were his views concerning Women emancipation, 30 years ago:  “The revolution and women’s liberation go together. We do not talk of women’s emancipation as an act of charity or because of a surge of human compassion. It is a basic necessity for the triumph of the revolution. Women hold up the other half of the sky.”

On October 15, 1987, Thomas Sankara was killed by an armed group in a coup organized by his former colleague and friend Blaise Compaoré. His reign will only last 4 years. Today, he is considered as one of the forefathers of the Pan Africanist spirit. His ideas, courage and simplicity are still admired and bring hope to the young leaders of tomorrow. He is often referred to as the “Che Guevara of Africa” and is a lasting influence to many young Africans around the world.

Today, We remember the great Captain of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara

“While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas” Thomas Sankara

http://thomassankara.net

 

6) Yaa Asantewaa

1840 – 17 October 1921 – Ghana

Yaa Asantewaa was the queen mother of Ejisu in the Ashanti Empire, now part of modern Ghana. She was born in 1840 in Besease, Central Ghana, the eldest of two children. When her brother who was king died, she nominated her grandson as the king, but when the British empire came, they exiled him along with other members of the Ashanti government. The British governor of the Gold coast demanded to have the “Golden stool” a dynastic symbol of the Ashanti Empire, as a sign of surrender to the British colony. But at that time, Queen Asantewaa was the Gatekeeper of the Golden stool.

African heroes

A meeting was help by the elders of the Ashanti Empire to discuss the approach to fight the British and bring back the King from his exile in Seychelles. There was a disagreement between them, and it is said that the queen pronounced these now famous words: “Now I have seen that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our King. If it were in the brave days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo, Anokye, and Opoku Ware, leaders would not sit down to see their King taken away without firing a shot.

No white man could have dared to speak to a leader of the Ashanti in the way the Governor spoke to you this morning. Is it true that the bravery of the Ashanti is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this, if you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields”.

Queen Yaa Asantewaa was chosen amongst a number of regional kings to be the Ashanti-British war leader, the “War of the Golden Stool”. She led an army of 5000 to fight and protect the Ashanti territory to become a British colony, though She was captured by the British and deported to Seychelles where she died on October 17, 1921.

Her body was returned to the Ashanti for a royal burial after the king returned. Her dream to have a Kingdom free of the British rule was realized on March 6, 1957, one of the first nation in Africa to achieve independence. Her bravery stirred a Kingdom wide movement for independence.

She remains a much loved figure in the Ashanti and Ghana’s history. A secondary school bearing her name was opened in the 60s to encourage more female leaders in the Ghanaian society. Today, we remember the bravery, courage and tenacity of the Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa.

“I must say this, if you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields” Queen Yaa Asantewaa

http://www.blackhistoryheroes.com/2010/05/queen-mother-nana-yaa-asantewaa.html

 

7) Lucky Dube

3 August 1964 – 18 October 2007 – South Africa

Lucky Philip Dube was a South African reggae musicians, internationally recognized and admired. Born in South Africa on August 3, 1964; his mother named him lucky after numerous failed pregnancy. He grew up with his grandmother who inspired much of his adult life. he completed his bachelor of science from University in Durban, then moved to Wits University for medical school which he did not complete and pursued with his love for music.

Dube found his love for music in school choirs and small garage band, before becoming a devout Rastafarian and reggae musician. He often used his music as a platform for social-political awareness and as a voice of the oppressed. He recorded 22 albums in Zulu, English and Afrikaans in his 25 year on the musical scene. With lyrics that celebrated humanity and dignity, and inspired many to reach beyond race, tribe and division. in 1985, during the apartheid era, he released an anti-apartheid album which was banned due to its critical lyrics. Though he never got discouraged and continued to perform. One of his song “War and Crime” in the album’s lyrics are:

Black man say it’s the white man

White man say it’s the black man

Indians say it’s the coloureds

Coloureds say it’s everyone

When it started we were not there

We know where we come from

But we don’t know where we’re going

So why don’t we

Bury down apartheid

Fight down war and crime

Racial discrimination

Tribal discrimination

In 1996, his album “serious Reggae Business” was recognized during the World Music Awards and he won both the “Best selling African Recording Artist” and “International Artist of the year”.

He took the African reggae to the mainstream, gave Africa a voice and brought its cultural around the world. Even earning a honorary citizenship of Dallas, Texas. when asked what inspired him, Dube wrote on his website: “People! Looking at people, watching people’s movements, the things they do. My songs are based on real-life situations and experiences.”

On October 18, 2017, Lucky Dube was killed near his Johannesburg home during a hijacking attempt on his car, a Chrysler 300C. The assailants, didn’t recognize him and shot him dead in order to steal his car. Leaving behind a loving wife and seven children, his death came as a shock and tragedy to the millions of South Africans and the rest of the world; mourning the unnecessary death of a musical legend. His death pointed to many of the social issues he often spoke against in his songs. The assailants were arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Two of his children followed their father’s footsteps into music. His records continue to sale in large numbers but most importantly his catchy melodies we grew up listening to on Sunday evenings on local radio that got everyone from the cook to grandma dancing will forever be engraved in our hearts. His legacy lives on, rest in power Lucky Dube.

“Together as On”

Hey you Rastman

Hey European, Indian man

We’ve got to come together as one

Too many people hate apartheid

Why do you like it?

Too many people hate apartheid

Why do you like it?

In my whole life, my whole life

I’ve got a dream

In my whole life, my whole life

I’ve got a dream

The cats and the dogs

Have forgiven each other

What is wrong with us?

All those years

Fighting each other

But there’s no solution

 

https://www.voanews.com/a/a-13-2007-10-19-voa5-66519872/553507.html

 

8) Samora Moisés Machel

(September 29, 1933 – October 19, 1986) – Mozambique

Born in Chilembene, Mozambique on September 29, 1933, Samora Machel grew up in a family of farmers under the Portuguese rule. He attended missionary school and in 1942, was sent to school in the town of Gaza to complete his fourth grade to complete his secondary education. However he decided to pursue nursing school in Maputo. Due to financial restrains, he started working as an aide in a hospital. During that era, he saw the farming lands of his family and village being appropriated by the white settlers and his family having no other choice than to work in the mines.

He witnessed first hand the suffering of the people, racism and arrogance. His anti colonial ideas began when he protested against the inequality of pay between black and white nurses, while performing the same tasks. But he was being watched and warned by the portuguese political police not to continue being spoken. He flew to Dar Es Salaam and joined FRELIMO, The Mozambique Liberation Front founded by Edouardo Monoplane to liberate Mozambique from the Portuguese colonialism. He became one of the best guerrilla and was sent to Algeria for further trainings. In 1966, he became the first commander after the death of Filipe Samuel Magaia. Machel identified himself with Marxism-Leninism of nationalizing institutions.

By 1970, FRELIMO started by establishing liberated zones in the countryside, making its way to the main settler’s positions. The movement grew in strength and capacity during the decade long of war, but it was unable to gain control of the urban centre. They had suffered heavy damage from the Portugal’s army which was about 60,000 soldiers with about 7000 of FRELIMO. Machel also had a special colleague and partner in the name of Josiane Muthemba Mache, his first wife. She was assigned to organize the political education within the women’s unit of liberation. She unfortunately passed away in 1971 due to deteriorating health conditions. He later on married Graça Machel, who would re-marry Nelson Mandela in 1998, becoming the first woman to be a first lady of two countries.

African heroes

He remained strong in his approach imposing economic sanctions over the Rhodesian government even though it caused negative consequences to the Mozambican economy. In 1974, the government of Lisbon was overthrown in a coup organized by the Portuguese officers tired of the wars in Africa. However with the new president of Portugal refusing to let Mozambique be free. Discussions between FRELIMO and the Portuguese government started and Machel refused to give a ceasefire as long as an agreement was not made.

On September 7, 1974, they reached an agreement in Lusaka which agreed full transfer of power to FRELIMO and the independence day declared to be June 25, 1975. On that day, Machel proclaimed “the total and complete independence of Mozambique and its constitution into the People’s Republic of Mozambique. A law was passed by FRELIMO leaders, ordering the Portuguese to leave the country within 24 hours with only 20 kgs of luggage. Unable to sell their assets, many of them returned home penniless.

 

In 1986, Samora Machel was returning to Mozambique from Zambia, when his plane crashed in South Africa killing him and 39 of his passengers. The circumstances surrounding that crash are still not elucidated, however his widow Graça Machel presented evidence to the South African government that the crash was conspired by a minority of South African leaders but the South African state has always denied any connection.  Mozambique’s journey to recovery has not been easy, with Civil War that bursted in 1977 until 1992 between the opposition forces of anti-communist Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) and the FRELIMO regime. Mozambique held its first elections in 1994 and started a democratic era.

Today, We remember the great Samora Machel, his struggles were not in vain. His legacy lives on.

“Of all the things we have done, the most important—the one that history will record as the principal contribution of our generation—is that we understand how to turn the armed struggle into a Revolution; that we realized that it was essential to create a new mentality to build a new society.” Samora Machel

http://www.sahistory.org.za/people/samora-machel

 

9) Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi

1942 – 20 October 2011 – Libya

Commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi, he was born in Sirte, Lybia in 1942. He joined the Royal military Academy in Benghazi. Within the military, he founded a revolutionary cell to overthrow King Idris. While the King was in Turkey for medical treatment, Gaddafi organized a coup in 1969 to seize control of Libya. Having taken power, he converted Libya into a republic.  At age 27, a Charismatic and talented Gaddafi became the commander in chief of the armed forces and chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Libya’s new party. He strengthened ties with the Arab nationalist governments especially Egypt of Gamel Abdel Nasser. Gaddafi transformed Libya into a new socialist state called “Jamahiriya” State of the masses. By 1999, the colonel had rejected the Arab socialism he had previously imposed and promoted economic privatization, collaboration with the West and Pan-Africanism. He was chairman of the African Union from 2009-2010.

We all know how it went down in Libya and how Gaddafi died when his convoy was attacked by NATO bombers, destroying and killing at least 53 people.

According to African Exponent*, Here are a few facts about Libya in Gaddafi’s era: You can also read links below for more juicy stories on Gaddafi/Libya.

1) Education and medical treatment were free.

2) Newlyweds received $50.000 from the government to buy a home.

3) Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project to provide water to the whole country.

4) Libya had no external debts

5) The price of petrol was $0.14/l.

6) People had enough food with the FAO confirming that undernourishment was less than 5%.

Today, we remember Colonel Gaddafi and his contributions towards a better Africa.

“Nations whose nationalism is destroyed are subject to ruin”.

Muammar al-Gaddafi

http://www.liberation.fr/france/2017/10/20/kadhafi-sarkozy-avec-les-compliments-du-guide-une-enquete-solide_1604482

* https://www.africanexponent.com/post/ten-reasons-libya-under-gaddafi-was-a-great-place-to-live-2746

*https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/sep/01/libya-oil

 

10) Hendrik Witbooi 

1830 – 29 October 1905 – Namibia

Considered as one of Namibia national heroes, captain Hendrik Witbooi was born in 1830 in Pella, Cape colony, part of South Africa today. A member of the Nama people (Namibia) whose chief was Moses Witbooi, Hendrik’s father. He was educated by German missionary and was fluent in many languages. He earned his position as a national hero for his unquenchable fighting spirit for his people’s freedom. According to the Namibian journal*: “ He was a master of strategy, his small, under supplied force successfully challenged the military superpower of the white, earning him the title of ǃNanseb gaib ǀGâbemab: the captain who disappears in the grass, a reference to his war tactics.

In extensive communication with other African leaders and European representatives, he was aware of what was occurring across the continent and warned many of his fellow Chiefs to not surrender their land to Whites. In one of his letters to the Herero Chief, though they were not in great term, he warned him:” You will eternally regret that you have given your land and your rule into the hands of white men, for this war between us is not nearly as heavy a burden as you seem to have thought when you did this momentous thing.”.

In another letter to General Leutwein, a German forcing him to surrender and sign a peace treaty, he replied: “I have never met the Emperor and therefore cannot have offended him by word or deed. God has given us different realms on Earth, and through that I know and believe that it is neither a sin nor crime for me to want to remain an independent chief of my country and people. If you want to kill me for this without any fault of mine, there is no harm done, nor is it a disgrace: I shall die honestly for that which is my own.”

Witbooi was killed during a fight with the German rule on Oct 29, 1905. He died a hero, and still convinced that God had guided him to fight for their freedom. His letters and personal diaries are housed at the Namibian Archive, and are a great record of that epoch, impersonating the sharp mind and warrior Captain Hendrik Witboii was. Furthermore, today, his face is portrayed on Namibian dollar bills as their national hero who resisted colonial expansion with zeal and tenacity.

https://www.namibian.com.na/index.php?id=124894&page=archive-read

Let us remember those who came before us, and let their blood not be shed in vain.

By Winnie Mills 

 

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

Ads

You May Also Like

Elect Your Dreams, Not Your Leaders

So an election day is approaching. I cringe, being so far away. And my ...

The Responsibility of Knowledge!

With knowledge comes responsibility, for how then can you explain the very popular saying ...

HONORING A KING… #MLK

HONORING A KING… #MLK How, do you Honor a King! Not a monarchy but ...