‘Paths to Freedom’: Chronicles of the Namibian Struggle by Andreas Thomas

Windhoek –Veterans of the Namibian liberation struggle narrate how the two-decade struggle for independence against the South African colonial administration began in a documentary to be launched soon.

The documentary produced by filmmaker, Richard Pakleppa, will be launched at the National Theatre of Namibia, in the capital Windhoek on July 27, 2014.

Film director, Pakleppa, and his production team of local talent spent four years working on the historical documentary, ‘Paths to Freedom’, which covers an important period in Namibia’s history, her path to national consciousness and her formation.

In the documentary, liberation icons, Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba; Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma; Andimba Toivo ya Toivo; Mzee Kaukungwa; Helao Shityuwete; Kambo Shixungileeni; Ben Amathila; Gerson Veii, and many others, tell how they organised the struggle from the beginning of labour struggles and protests, to the launch of the armed struggle at Omugulugwombashe in 1966.

Women, among them Lahya Iyambo and Justina Amalwa, also tell of how, together with their families, they provided crucial support for the freedom fighters.

The film contains rare interviews with struggle heroes, John Nankudhu and Priskilia Tuhadeleni ‑ who passed away during the course of the production, as well as a unique interview with Philemon Shuuya Castro – who was deputy commander of SWAPO’s army in 1966 before being removed from his post in late 1967.

The production team used extensive archive footage and still images found in Namibia, South Africa and Germany as well as recently declassified South African military documents, said Leading Edge Management Consultants in a statement issued on July 5, 2014.

The Windhoek-based consultancy emphasised that ‘Paths to Freedom’ covers many key experiences in the formation of Namibia’s modern history up to 1966.

Such experiences include the degrading experience of contract labourers, the movement of peasants to find work all over Namibia and Southern Africa, the politicising and uniting impact of contract labour, the formation of Owamboland People’s Congress, Owamboland People’s Organisation and SWAPO, the Old Location shooting in 1959, the exodus of SWAPO activists and leaders to Tanganyika, events at the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, the conflicts with South African appointed tribal leaders, the visit of UN Investigator, Carpio, in the early 60’s, the return of the first SWAPO fighters to Namibia in 1965 and 1966, preparations for war and the Battle of Omugulugwombashe on August 26, 1966.

“The film’s fascinating interviews are supported by a poetic visual narration and an original sound track created by Hishishi Papa and Philip Miller. The narrative voice of the film is Tshoopara Johannes Tshoopara,” said Leading Edge Management Consultants, which deals with publicity and distribution of ‘Paths to Freedom’.

About 1 300 copies of the DVD will be distributed for free to schools, museums, multi-purpose centres and education institutions nationwide.

“And the DVDs will be accompanied by a facilitator’s guide, for use of the film for teaching purposes and for discussion and dialogue on the aspects of Namibia’s history that are presented in ‘Paths to Freedom’. Beyond this, the film will be available for sale with half the proceeds of all sales going to the Robben Island Veterans Trust Fund,” said Leading Edge Management Consultants.

The film was produced by On Land Productions, in partnership and with support from various institutions including the National Archives of Namibia and the Ministry of Veteran’s Affairs, the Embassy of Finland, First National Bank of Namibia, Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, the Namibia Film Commission, and the Carl Schlettwein Foundation in Basle, Switzerland.