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Former Robben Island Prisoner Situnda Turns 101 Years

By Risco Lumamezi

A former Robben Island prisoner and war veteran, Mr. Zakaria Kutazo Situnda has turned 101 years of birth on May 14,2021.

He is the oldest senior citizen in the Zambezi region, and he hails from Kapani some 87 kilometers South of Zambezi.

Mr. Zakaria Kutazo Situnda(101) , former Robben Island Prisoner and Veteran

Mr. Situnda was born on May 14,1920 in Linyanti Village, He is the first born in the family of twelve (12), His 4 siblings have passed on, and eight (8) are still alive. His father is Joan Situnda and the mother is Mbile Simanga, both of his parents have passed on.

Situnda was captured at Sesheke by the South African Defence Force soldiers in 1968, and was later taken to Linyanti where they invaded his house for his involvement of the liberation struggle in selling SWAPO Party membership tickets, and for his role in mobilising Caprivians to join forces in liberating the then South West Africa/Namibia, (SWA/Namibia).

According to Him, he remembers the likes of the late Solomon Puzeli , late Society Limbo, former Ngambela of the Mafwe Royal Establishment  and him as compatriots who were lucky to be released from the Robben Island Maximum Prison in 1975.

When asked to share his opinion on the current political situation compared to the previous years during his youthful times, “we hear political convictions of today though they are not matching with ideologies and differences with the past, because the life has changed in opinions and the way of life because that time we were colonized, and from what I see today in recent times… We are sort of like going in a colony, and our leaders they are making mistakes somehow”

He is the last surviving war veteran among Caprivians who were charged for high treason by the then South African apartheid regime.

Zakaria was granted a Veteran status by the Ministry of Veterans Affairs in 2010, and he received a N$ 50,000 including his monthly subvention of N$2000.

He however, confirmed that he did not receive any benefits such as a house and other package granted by all veterans in Namibia.

His burning ambition at heart is to open and manage the butchery business once his project proposal is approved.

“I want all what they have promised me, such as electricity, tractor and a butchery, I have submitted my project proposal long ago” he quashed.

Veteran Situnda is still worried about the lack of birthday wishes from the government as a veteran who fought for the liberation struggle.

He added that the current 2018 boundary treaty between Namibia and Botswana has also negatively affected his ploughing fields, and he is ploughing at his late father’s graveyard next to his residency.

He is surviving with his 20 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, three (3) living children plus 2 boys(servants) who looks after him.

His grandson, Sitali Muyumbano (31) who stays with him said that “there was nothing we did on his 101 birthdays”

Situnda also recalled that former Linyanti Constituency Councillor Mr. Cletius Sipapela, also a village member of Kapani now ambassador of Namibia to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) promised that they will construct his house after measuring the floor plan of his house in 2013, but all to no avail.

He said that the powerline for electricity is just passing through his field at his village but there is no electricity in his house.

His blood second born Son Mr. Casius Kutazo (59) told Caprivi Vision that his father was tortured with electrical buttons in all of his body which makes him to be not fit.

“I still remember the year he was arrested by the South African Soldiers when I was in STD 1(grade 3) in 1968, they were many convoys of vehicles, they entered my father’s house in stampede and they took the trunk of my father because they were tipped by informers, since they took him until they returned him with the late Puzeli and late Limbo by a helicopter in 1975”

Situnda’s Son also expressed concerns on the delayment of his other benefits “I feel that the office is weak because I saw that they came to measure the house plan in 2013”

He further requested that “Government should assist my father because we saw those others, they were given tractors, houses with electricity and cattle, and my father was not given anything apart from the N$50,000, I feel that this is discrimination”

Mr. Barry Malumo, the Community Liaison Officer in the Office of the President’s Veteran Affairs for Zambezi described Mr. Situnda as “he is a last survivor of the Pretoria high treason trial in the early 70s and was granted veteran status somewhere around 2010”

However, Mr. Edson Haufiku, Public Relations Officer for Veterans Affairs said that he will look into the request of Mr. Situnda as he is currently working from his home and will respond in due course.

 

 

 

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