THE CASSINGA MASSACRE OF NAMIBIAN EXILES IN 1978 AND CONFLICTS BETWEEN TESTIMONIES AND SURVIVORS' MEMORIES.
Hall -- Room 537
Heller Hall -- Room 537
During the peak of apartheid evils, the South African Defence Force (SADF) killed close to a thousand Namibian exiles at Cassinga in southern Angola. This happened on May 4 1978. In recent times, Namibia commemorates this day, nationwide, in remembrance of those killed and disappeared following the Cassinga attack. During each Cassinga anniversary, survivors are modelled into living testimonies. Customarily, at every occasion marking this event, a survivor is delegated to unpack, on behalf of other survivors, 'memories' of Cassinga so that the inexperienced audience understands what happened on that day. Interestingly, such presentations are politically constructed as epitomizing Cassinga memories and generating its sense of remembrance against forgetfulness. Drawing from interviews with survivors of the Cassinga Massacre, this paper attempts to deconstruct and problematize, among other issues, the understanding of Cassinga beyond the existing economies of representation as framed by the visual, oral and political discourses of narrating that event.