Forgive but Never Forget – Cassinga May 4, 1978

It was a horrific massacre; more than 600 of innocent Namibian men, women, and children were brutally killed by the South African Apartheid government on May 4, 1978 in Cassinga, Angola. They were massacred not because of any wrong doing but because of their audacity of apartheid, racism, and discrimination intolerance in Namibia.

It was in the morning hours when innocent men, women and children were in the Cassinga camp inside Angola, a place of refugee that they called their home away from Namibia due to severe racial discrimination in Namibia by the South African Administration which only ended on March 21, 1990.

On that day, more than 600 men, women and children were busy with their daily chores and school activities as usual, but then they heard a sound of airplanes, that they all ran outside to glare at the sky thinking and hoping that the planes were coming to deliver bags of food (as usual); they then stood glaring and staring at the morning blue sky as they watched tiny dark objects falling from the planes towards them, but unfortuneately, they were no bags of food but bombs and more bombs delivering an unsuspected and horrific death.

When the tiny dark objects hit and blasted below their feet, they had no were to run and hide but watched as the hatred blaze of fire and bullets hitting and combing through every place of the whole Cassinga camp area, delivering harsh, brutal and hatred death in an instant of a moment.

More than 600 innocent people; women, children, and men died on that day, specifically for me, so that today I’m free to walk at anytime, anywhere in Namibia without being discriminated against because of the color of my skin, race, national origin or political party affiliation. That today, my children and future grandchildren will be able to attend any school of their own choice in Namibia without being subjected to harsh discrimination because of the color of their skin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or creed.

Those men, women and children, who died on that day, contributed immensely to the independence of Namibia but without ever tasting the fruits of their labor that Namibians are indiscriminately and lavishly enjoying today. Their blood that shed on that day, have brought me my personal liberty and freedom that enable me to travel in and out of Namibia without being subjected to harassment and severe punishment simply because I am black.

Today, I gladly honor and celebrate this day in sadness that, being black in Namibia, that I now have a voice; my civil and human rights to air and voice my personal views without being subjected to censorship and harassment. Today, I am who I am because those men, women and children who died on May 4, 1978 in that horrific and brutal hatred death of an unsuspected instant, just because of their race, skin color, and political belief; today I am doing what I love doing, and it’s because of them; those heroes and heroines, who died on that day in Cassinga and those who survived to witness and tell their stories today.

On that day, it could have been my brother, Daniel Jacob Kapenda, who as a SWAPO Plan fighter died in Katima for the love of Namibia.

May 4, 1978 is the day that should never be forgotten by any Namibian and friends of Namibia, regardless of his or her political party affiliation, religion, race, creed, color of skin, sexual orientation, or gender.

That day, May 4, 1978, is the day that will forever live in infamy. Yes, forgive but never forget!

The only absence of war is peace; let peace prevails!

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One thought on “Forgive but Never Forget – Cassinga May 4, 1978

  1. Simon, thanks for writing about this terrible day in such a warm and sincere manner. Its a very good reminder to the people of Namibia to appreciate the sacrifices that were made. Thank you

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