SABC2 will be screening the 52-minute documentary tonight at 9 PM. The trailer can be viewed here on YouTube.
The Namibian premiere of the documentary took place on 26 November 2011. Although I have not seen the film before, I strongly suspect that it will be splendidly and delicately flavoured with the usual propaganda. According to this source the film chronicles the first meeting between Van der Mescht and Ashipala in 2009, and explores their respective experiences.
|The reunion, on 2 December 2009, between Van der Mescht en Ashipala at the Elundu waterhole, located in the Ohangwena area on the border between Namibia and Angola. It was at this spot where van der Mescht was ‘captured’, 31 years earlier, before daybreak on Sunday 19 February 1978, and taken prisoner by SWAPO. |
Picture credit: Beeld.com
Although it may be premature for me to deliver criticism on a film I have not seen yet, one does not have to be a genius to figure out that it will, most definitely, be a one-sided affair with the politically correct central theme focusing more on the big ‘hero’ and liberation fighter, Danger Ashipala. (More about the film can be viewed on the website of the National Film and Video Foundation.)
This posting will explore a few lesser known truths, with links to other external sources.
Johan van der Mescht
|This photograph is from the book, Where Others Wavered by Dr. Sam Nujoma. The picture was taken by Swedish journalist, Per Sandén, while van der Mescht was being held prisoner in 1978.|
Picture sourced from: www.republikein.com
I do not know much about Johan van der Mescht or any of the finer details concerning his capture, except that he was not a soldier in the true sense of the word, but a Sapper (private) in the South African Army and temporary stationed, on his final call-of-duty, at the Elundu base on the border of Namibia/Angola, when he was captured in 1978.
He was held as a Prisoner of War in the Sao Paulo Prison in Luanda, Angola, for four and a half years before he, together with eight Western intelligence agents who had been jailed in the Soviet Bloc (behind the Iron Curtain, obviously), were exchanged for a Russian spy known as, “Aleksei Koslov”. The exchanged apparently took place at an undisclosed location in Europe. Former SA Prime Minister PW Botha announced the nine-for-one trade during May 1982. - Click here to view the original news report, as reported by the Los Angeles Times and published in the “Daily News” newspaper.
In van der Mescht’s own words, according to a news report published in Beeld - dated 14 December 2009, he states, “I was just a normal guy whose job was to keep the water clean. I had no rank. The infantry had to safeguard the waterhole. I didn’t even know who they were. Every week there was a different contingent of troops. Don’t ask me who the commander was that night. I don’t know. It was my last border-camp. Cheryl and I were just married; Chantal was only seven months old…”
“Ek was maar net ’n doodgewone ou wat die water moes skoonmaak. Geen rang gehad nie. Die infanterie moes die watergat oppas. Ek het hulle nie eens geken nie. Elke week was hier ’n ander seksie. Moet my nie vra wie die bevelvoerder daardie nag was nie. Ek weet nie. Dit was my laaste Grenskamp. Ek en Cheryl was pasgetroud; Chantal maar sewe maande oud...”
A very interesting aspect of the 2009 Beeld report is the disclosure by Ashipala that they also killed (murdered) another prisoner of war that same day, whom the report describes as “’n Groot Boer” (a great Boer)... In Ashipala’s own words: “We caught another one. A great Boer. But he would not (or could not) walk. So we killed him.”
“Ons het nóg een gevang. ’n Groot Boer. Maar hy wou nie loop nie. Toe maak ons hom dood.”
(Click here to view the entire Afrikaans report in Beeld, dated 14 December 2009. The same article, with more photographs of the reunion, can also be viewed on the website of Republikein.)
Who was “the Boer” they murdered in the incident?
The Boer’s name was Johan Lemmer Caparus Ferreira.
This fact came to light when Ferreira’s brother, Dawid, responded in writing to the December 2009 Beeld report.
Dawid Ferreira’s letter to Beeld was written in Afrikaans, and can be read here. An English translation of Dawid’s letter was discovered on a posting on the blog - I Luv SA.
I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing the English translation – copy/pasted exactly as it appears on the I Luv SA posting:
by Dawid Ferreira
My brother was the so-called Great Boer referred to in the article "Friends after more than 31 years" in Beeld December 15, 2009 in which Johan van der Mescht met the Swapo member who caught him.
My brother's name was Johan Lemmer Caparus Ferreira. And yes, he was a Great Afrikaans Boerseun!
I want to express my dismay on the matter strongly, and in very clear terms.
Firstly, Johan van der Mescht was never given a mandate by any person who was involved in the situation to "make peace" with the murderers of my brother!
While Danger Ashipilla, the "hero" in their story, referred to my brother as the "Great Boer" I'll definitely refer to him as "the terrorist-killer." They had my brother, who was supposed to be a prisoner of war, murdered in the cruelest way imaginable, by shooting him from head to toe, on automatic, with an AK47, and then stabbing him 42 times with a bayonet!
It is striking in the article that Danger Ashipilla has no guilt whatsoever, nor does apologize for the incident!
Why then shake hands? It strongly resembles the farm murders of the last 15 years. The word "vryheidsvegters (freedom fighters)" comes to mind.
Ashipilla and his band of terrorists, attacked, orchestrated from, and hid in Angola; a neighbouring country.
I thank God that my mother and my father are no longer alive to witness this.
The R14 000 that was paid to my parents as "compensation", will never compensate for me losing my buddy, or my brother, for losing his life.
I feel now, after 31 years, the urge to curse and swear at someone - those who call themselves “vryheidsvegters (freedom fighters)" and o yes: PW Botha, FW de Klerk and Roelf Meyer as well!
English translation sourced from: The blog: I Luv SA
Ruben Danger Ashipala
|Picture source: www.swapoparty.org|
Ruben Danger Ashipala joined SWAPO’s armed wing - People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) in the 1970’s. He received his training in the former Soviet Union as a reconnaissance officer and a Commander. He died at the age of 62… (Click here to see the news report of former PLAN fighters paying their last respect to Ashipala.)
Ashipala's Special Field Force (SFF)
Ashipala is recognized for creating a Namibian paramilitary police unit in 1995, known as the “Special Field Force (SFF)”. Ashipala of course pulled all sorts of strings to enlist hordes of uneducated murderous thugs into the unit. It thus comes as no surprise that the SFF was made up primarily of combatants from the former People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) and South West African Territorial Force (SWATF). [Source]
SFF have been implicated in the intimidation, assault, torture and also murder of civilians in the secessionist uprisings in Namibia's Caprivi Strip in 1998 and 1999. [Source]
Details of some of SFF’s most recent acts of barbarism are as follows:
- 2002 - in May officers of the Special Field Force detained and assaulted Namibian men suspected of being gay. [Source]
- 2003 - in October nine minors were arrested on suspicion of housebreaking. Several police officers wearing SFF uniforms, as well as plain-clothes detectives, reportedly beat and tortured them with whips and electric shocks. [Source]
- 2006 - on February 17, two off duty members of the Okahao Police's Special Field Force, constables Amadhila and Kamanya, allegedly led a mob in the assault of two women accused of witchcraft. [Source]
- 2006 - March 2, members of the SFF police unit and the Namibian Defence Force (NDF), who were sent to Mariental to maintain law and order after a flood, randomly assaulted residents of the town. [Source]
- 2007 - on June 5, SFF executed an unprovoked attack on demonstrating war veterans. [Source]
Take Note: The above occurrences took place during peacetime. Imagine what atrocities these so-called “freedom fighters” committed under cover of the fog of war back in the 1970's!
I’ll watch the documentary tonight on SABC2 and report my opinion in the comment section of this posting.