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June 10, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

Nelson Mandela greets Andimba Toivo ya Toivo at the Robben Island Reunion. February 01, 2005

The South African Communist Party has offered condolences on the death of “one of our exceptional revolutionaries”, co-founder and former leader of the South West African People’s Organisation (Swapo) Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo.

Ya Toivo died in the Namibian capital Windhoek at the age of 93 on Friday. The SACP on Saturday expressed heartfelt condolences to the family of Ya Toivo, the people of Namibia, Southern Africa, and the African continent as whole.

“Africa is not independent yet because of persisting imperialist domination and capitalist exploitation of its resources and people. The masses of our people remain impoverished across the board while a few, both national and foreign exploiters, are becoming rich and richer out of the exploitation.

“The SACP is reiterating its call for African continental unity to continue and deepen the struggle to advance the African revolution in honour of the exceptional founders and leaders of our national liberation movements, of who cde Toivo was one,” the party said in a statement that was signed by its national spokesperson Alex Mashilo.

Ya Toivo fought against apartheid oppression and was arrested and imprisoned on Robben Island in South Africa for 16 years in the same section as former president Nelson Mandela for fighting for freedom and national independence.

After release from prison in 1984 he continued his activism in exile in Lusaka, Zambia as part of Swapo. He returned to Namibia in 1989 and served as a member of parliament and cabinet minister. He retired from active politics in 2006.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) earlier hailed Ya Toivo as a man of strong beliefs and convictions who dedicated his life to the fight against oppression and had rejected apartheid South Africa’s reduction of sovereign Namibia into its colony.

“A Pan Africanist and progressive internationalist, Cde Toivo was a vocal and ardent supporter of the oppressed peoples of the world, leading from the front in, amongst others, the mobilization and call for the release of Africa’s friends - some of whom fought in the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale for Southern Africa’s liberation - the Cuban Five Heroes from American jails,” the ANC said in a statement signed by its national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

“He was also militant workerist who advocated for the rights of African and black mine workers in South Africa and Namibia and was banished from South Africa for smuggling taped testimonies to the United Nations (UN) about the harsh experiences of Black mine workers. Following his release from Robben Island in 1984, Cde Toivo committed himself to the building of a democratic Namibia serving as Secretary General of SWAPO and in various portfolios in Government.

“South Africa has lost a true friend in Comrade Toivo ya Toivo and we send our deepest condolences to our fraternal organization, SWAPO, the people of Namibia and Comrade ya Toivo’s family on his passing. Comrade Toivo has left an indelible mark in the history of our region and the continent. Ours is to emulate his life’s work and continue to fight for the realization of his vision of freedom for oppressed peoples of the world and of a continent at peace with itself,” added the statement. - with SABC

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