Waking the dead: Civilian casualties in the Namibian liberation struggle

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University of Namibia Press
One day in early January 1984, an old Ford truck set out from Ruacana. Twenty-five workers stood crowded in the back. After travelling just five kilometres from the small town the truck drove over a double landmine. The explosion left a huge crater in the ground and immediately killed ten of the people in the truck, whilst another six were severely injured, losing hands, arms and legs. None of the names of those who had died were provided in the press coverage of the incident. On 23 January 1988, four young people were driving a Toyota Hilux van near their home when a unit of the Koevoet paramilitary police unit opened fire on their vehicle riddling it with bullets and totally destroying it. Cornelius Nghipukuula, aged 27, was killed immediately and two of the other occupants were wounded. The three survivors were told to report to the police station the next day to pay a R100 fine as an ‘admission of guilt’ for driving during a curfew. These were just two incidents amongst many that occurred during the Namibian war of independence in which the casualties were not soldiers, but civilians. Yet the absence of the names of those killed in one of the largest landmine explosions that took place during the war seems symptomatic of the way in which civilian victims of the war remain unrecognised in accounts of the liberation struggle.
Civilian casualties, Namibian liberation struggle
Silverter, J., & Akawa, M. (2015). Waking the dead: civilian casualties in the Namibian liberation struggle. In J. Silvester (Ed.), Re-Viewing Resistance in Namibian History (pp. 192-206). Windhoek: UNAM Press.