Why war veterans decided to register a trust named after Peter Eneas Nanyemba

Dear Editor,

COMRADE Peter Eneas Nanyemba, famously known as Ndilimani Womukunda wa-Amupolo, was born in 1935 in the current Oshikoto Region of Namibia. He like many of his age, left the northern area to seek employment opportunities at a young age at Walvis Bay.

In 1958, Comrade Nanyemba joined the Ovamboland People’s Organisation (OPO).

When OPO was transformed into Swapo in 1960, Nanyemba became the first Swapo branch secretary for Walvis Bay Urban. Some of his key responsibilities were to lobby and organise Swapo members and recruit new ones.

Others were to raise funds for the organisation by collecting membership fees, and to supervise and coordinate the activities within the branch and report to the Branch Conference.

Nanyemba was arrested and detained for political activities in 1961, and subsequently deported back to the so-called Ovamboland presently northern Namibia. He escaped from then South West Africa into exile and arrived in the United Republic of Tanzania in 1962 where he joined other comrades including the president of the South West Africa People’s Organisation Shafiishuna Nujoma and many others.

He was than assigned to join other comrades such as Maxton M’tongolume in Botswana in 1963.

In 1964, Nanyemba was promoted to Swapo representative in East Africa based in Tanzania.

During the Swapo Tanga Consultative Conference held in December 1969 to January 1970, Nanyemba was elected by the congress delegates for a position of Swapo secretary for defence.

With the defeat of Portuguese colonial occupation regime in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, hundreds of thousands of young Namibians including Nkrumah Mushelenga took the opportunity and escape into exile via Angola into the Republic of Zambia. Most of the 1973-74 young stars, became members of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) the military wing of Swapo.

As an elected secretary for defence, Nanyemba played an instrumental role in arranging the most advanced military training and securing sophisticated military equipment for PLAN members.


With the assistance of Soviet Union military specialists in 1977, Nanyemba established the Tobias Hainyeko Training Centre (HTC) in Lubango, the capital city of Huila province of Angola. The centre was named after the first PLAN Commander, Comrade Tobias Hainyeko.

Hainyeko died in action in 1967.

Nanyemba was also the architect of PLAN military regional fronts at places such as Eastern Regional, in the western province of Zambia; Northern Eastern Region, Northern Region; and Northern Western Region fronts in the Cunene province of Angola, bordering Namibia.

In addition to the establishment of Tobias Hainyeko Training Centre and the subsequent PLAN military regional fronts, Nanyemba in 1978, decided to establish another military training centre in the west of Lubango, called Jumbo Training Centre (JTC and a defence headquarters, with an operation commanding unit to serve and supervise all PLAN military operations.

inspirational commander

The reasons why PLAN combatant veterans designated the name Nanyemba after their unique veterans’ trust, is because Cde Peter Nanyemba was the first Swapo elected defence secretary, a charismatic secretary for defence, inspirational commander, military architect, innovative creative and action-oriented war veteran; military strategist and a motivational commander of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN).

Other records speak for themselves. And most importantly, to devote our consciousness to his liberation struggle ideals for which Nanyemba and others dedicated their lives for national independence and economic prosperity for all Namibians.

Nanyemba was the Swapo secretary for defence since the Tanga Consultative Conference in January 1970. He died in action on the 1st of April 1983 in Huila Province, Southern Angola.

PLAN heroically fulfilled the first objective of SWAPO that of achieving national independence on the 21st of March 1990.

Equally, we are asking permission from Nanyemba and other martyrs of the struggle, to pay spiritual homage to resting places of combatant veterans who died in the line of duty on the 1st of April 1983 and the many unknown who died under the nose of the United Nations Transition Assistant Group (UNTAG) on the 1st April 1990.

We vow to accomplish within a dedicated timeframe the goal for which Cde Nanyemba and other combatants scarified their lives for – economic prosperity for all.

‘Their blood, tears, sweat and time waters our freedom’.

*Nkrumah Mushelenga: Rt. Commissioner for Refugees and founder and chairperson P.N.P.C.V.T.