25 May 2015
As part of celebrating Africa Day, the Department of Military Veterans is today (25th May 2015) hosting the first ever two-day Workshop at the University of the Limpopo, Turfloop on the Wankie /Sipolilo Campaign of 1967.
The two day workshop is going to be attended by amongst others the Premier of Limpopo, Stan Mathabathe, the Director General of the Department of Military Veterans, Mr Tsepe Motumi, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Limpopo Mr Mogalong, the survivors of the Wankie / Sipolilo Campaign from Zimbabwe as well as former MK, including Veteran Mr Ike Maphoto, who was in that year arrested and sentenced to death.
Ike “Bra Ike” Maphoto, who recently launched his biographical book entitled the “Life of a Commander”, survived twice from being hanged by the then Rhodesian regime due to international solidarity.
The Wankie/Sipolilo Campaign was an armed struggle campaign that saw Umkhonto we Sizwe cadres and the Zimbabwean African People’s Revolutionary Forces joined hands in between August and September in 1967 in fighting the then, Rhodesian and the South Defence Forces as part of an effort to liberate Rhodesia, (now Zimbabwe) and to enable the then MK cadres to proceed to wage the armed struggle in South Africa.
The Director General (DG) of the Department of Military Veterans, (DMV) Mr. Tsepe Motumi has called on the entire military veterans’ community to join the nation, Africa and the world in celebrating the 25th May as Africa Day.
“As the Department of Military Veterans, we join the country, Africa and the world in celebrating this monumental occasion in the history of the African continent. This historic two day workshop on the Wankie/ Sipolilo Campaign constitutes and integral part of that effort. Africa Day changed the course of Africa’s history. It gave impetus to the struggle for liberation in the continent that was to culminate in amongst others the ushering of freedom and democracy from colonial rule in Mozambique and Angola in 1974, Zimbabwe in 1980 and indeed that of South Africa on 27th April 1994. That support included amongst others giving refuge to thousands many who are now part of the military veterans community” said the Director-General
“Africa Day therefore constitutes an important milestone in the calendar not only of the African continent but indeed the world which the military veterans’ community must celebrate and support at all times, by joining hands with all sectors of society.
This Day must therefore serve as the reminder that we are free today because on the immense sacrifices and contributions made by African countries and their people to the country’s 21 years of freedom and democracy that we now all enjoy. This is the moment for all of us to say no to attacks on foreign nationals in general and those from Africa in particular. We are Africa” said the Director General.
It was on this day 53 years ago that African leaders converged in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, to form the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which was a precursor to the formation of the African Union.
The OAU played a significant role in mobilising for the support of the struggle for liberation, including the provision of refuge and shelter, food, clothing and many other forms of support to many who fought for liberation and are now part of the military veteran’s community in South Africa.
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