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Eliaser Tuhadeleni (1 January 1918 - 1997) also known as Kaxumba Kandola was a Namibian anti-apartheid activist, guerrilla fighter and political prisoner. He was one of the co-founders of the Ovamboland People's Congress in Cape Town, South Africa in 1957 and became one of the first participants of the Namibian liberation struggle.[1] Kaxumba Kandola took part in the battle of Omugulugwombashe which was the first battle of the Namibian War of Independence on 26 August 1966. He evaded arrest but was eventually caught and sent to Pretoria Central Prison where he was charged under the Terrorism Act of 1976. He was tried with other Namibians in the Pretoria Terrorism Trial from September 1967 to February 1968. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island but was eventually released in 1985. Kaxumba Kandola was born at Omatangela village in northern Namibia, one year after the British-South African forces conquered Oukwanyama kingdom. His father, Lyaalala ya Tuhadeleni, was one of the senior headman of Oukwanyama King Mandume Ya Ndemufayo.

Political career

Kaxumba Kandola became involved in political activities in 1943 as a member of the Mandume Movement. He was involved in workers strike at the Krantzberg Mine, near Omaruru. Kaxumba was working closely to the Anglican Priest, The Reverend Theophilus Hamutumbangela, writing petitions and sending them to the colonial administration and to the United Nations, complaining about the ill-treatments the migrant workers were receiving.

In the mid 1950s Kaxumba left Namibia to South Africa and was one of the first Namibians to work in Cape Town through the contract labour system. He became a member of the Barber Shop crew which was instrumental in forming the Ovamboland People's Congress (OPC) in 1957. In 1958 the leader of OPC, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, send a petition to the United Nations through Mburumba Kerina and Michael Scott, who were based in the United States, complaining about the human rights abuses of the contract labour system and the unlawful occupation of South West Africa by the apartheid government of South Africa. This led to a mass deportation of Namibian contract workers in Cape Town. Kaxumba was one of those who would later be deported from Cape Town.

In 1959, the OPC was formally constituted into the Ovamboland People's Organization (OPO), Kaxumba became one of its leaders in Ovamboland where he held meetings with local people known as Oyoongi ya Kaxumba - "Kaxumba's rallies", he used these meetings to mobilize and educate them about colonial resistance. Following the transformation of OPO into the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) in 1960 many of its leadership went into exile to lobby support from the international community and to pursue the arms liberation struggle. Kaxumba remained in the country as one of the main leaders, his house was raided a couple of times and was used to hold important SWAPO meetings by the internal leaders. He eventually went into exile in 1965 to take part in the preparation of the arms liberation struggle with the newly created People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN). In 1966 when one of the first of PLAN guerrilla units arrived in Ovamboland they stayed at Kaxumba's home for several months before moving off to set up a camp at Omgulugombashe.[2] After the attack on Omugulugwombashe, the South African regime arrested SWAPO leaders including Andimba Toivo ya Toivo and other members of the Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia, they searched for Kaxumba for months before they were able to capture him.[3] He was eventually arrested and taken to Pretoria. He then became Accused No. 1 in the trial, The State v. Tuhadeleni and 36 Others, under South Africa's Terrorism Act of 21 June 1967. Ephraim Kapolo died during the trial in Pretoria while Kaxumba and twenty nine other Namibians were sentenced to Robben Island. He was one of those who received a life sentence. When Kaxumba spoke at his trial just before being sentenced to a life term on Robin Island he remained defiant and unbroken.[4] Addressing the court he said: "David slew Goliath because he had right on his side, and we Namibians have faith that we, too, have right on our side."

Tuhadeleni remained in prison until his eventual release in 1985 spending 18 years of his life in prison. Namibia gained independence on 21 March 1990.

Death

Kaxumba lived to see the fruits of his labour and the independence of his country that he sacrificed so much for. He died in November 1997 in Windhoek.

References

  1. "BIOGRAPHIES OF NAMIBIAN PERSONALITIESin alphabetical order". Klausdierks.com. http://www.klausdierks.com/Biographies/Biographies_T.htm. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  2. "Namibia: Eliaser Tuhadeleni - the Fierce Music Man (1918 to 1997)". Allafrica.com. http://allafrica.com/stories/200911030608.html. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  3. Ellen Ndeshi Namhila (2005) Kaxumba Kandola; Man and the myth: The biography of a barefoot soldier ,Windhoek: Basler Afrika Bibliographien
  4. "110-1968". https://www.klausdierks.com/Chronology/110.htm. 

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