|1967 (aged 34–35)
|Years of service
|Commander of People's Liberation Army of Namibia
|Namibian War of Independence †
Tobias Hainyeko (1932–1967) was a Namibian guerrilla fighter who served as the first commander of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) during the Namibian War of Independence from the 1960s through to the 1980s.
Hainyeko was born in northern Namibia in 1932.
In the early 1950s, Hainyeko arrived in Cape Town, South Africa just after the Ovamboland People's Congress (OPC) was formed. He immediately integrated with the group and became one of its prominent members. Hainyeko spent valuable years working in Cape Town, sharing political experiences with the likes of Andimba Toivo ya Toivo and Andreas Shipanga. In 1959, just before the Old Location Massacre, he returned to Namibia, but left the country again in 1960 following Sam Nujoma to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. After meeting Nujoma in Tanzania, he learned that SWAPO was preparing for arm struggle and became one of the first SWAPO members to volunteer for military training. He then went for military training, first in Algeria, then in the Soviet Union. He returned to Tanzania and helped set up a military training centre in Kongwa for new recruits. It was from there that Hainyeko brought all trained cadres together and moved to establish the first guerrilla force for an armed insurgency. In 1962, Hainyeko was appointed First Deputy Army Commander of the South West Africa Liberation Army (SWALA), the predecessor of PLAN.
In 1965 Hainyeko, together with Peter Nanyemba and John Nankudhu, led the first group of SWALA combatants from their military camp in Kongwa, Tanzania via Nakonde, Zambia to the Namibian border at Sesheke to commence the armed liberation struggle in Namibia. Through careful planning under his leadership, SWAPO established a guerrilla training base at Omugulugwombashe in northern Namibia. It was from the Omugulugwombashe base that SWALA guerrillas launched its armed struggle against the South African administration on 26 August 1966, this would mark the beginning of the Namibian War of Independence which lasted until 1989.
On May 18, 1967, while on combat mission to improve communications between his operational headquarters in Tanzania and PLAN's guerrilla units in Namibia, he shot and seriously wounded two South African policemen patrolling the Kwando river.Later that day he was killed in action as he was intending to cross the Kwando river. He was replaced as SWALA commander by his deputy Dimo Hamaambo.
Hainyeko went to meet a colleague from Namibia at Sesheke village, which straddles the Namibia-Zambian border. SWAPO reported that he was betrayed to the South Africans by the local manager of Caltex, who ran barges along the Zambezi from Katima Mulilo. Other allegations indicated that he was betrayed by some SWAPO leaders in fear of his bravery and good leadership qualities.
The news of Hainyeko's death only reached SWAPO's provisional headquarters in Dar-es-Salaam two days later.In 1977, PLAN established the Tobias Hainyeko Training Centre (THTC) in Lubango and named it after him.
Tobias Hainyeko constituency in Windhoek is named after him, as are a street and a primary school in the city.
Samuel Shafiishuna Daniel Nujoma, is a Namibian revolutionary, anti-apartheid activist and politician who served three terms as the first President of Namibia, from 1990 to 2005. Nujoma was a founding member and the first president of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) in 1960. Prior to 1960, SWAPO was known as the Ovambo People's Organisation (OPO). He played an important role as leader of the national liberation movement in campaigning for Namibia's political independence from South African rule. He established the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) in 1962 and launched a guerrilla war against the apartheid government of South Africa in August 1966 at Omungulugwombashe, beginning after the United Nations withdrew the mandate for South Africa to govern the territory. Nujoma led SWAPO during the lengthy Namibian War of Independence, which lasted from 1966 to 1989.
Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba is a Namibian politician who served as the second president of Namibia from 21 March 2005 to 21 March 2015. He won the 2004 presidential election overwhelmingly as the candidate of SWAPO, and was reelected in 2009. Pohamba was the president of SWAPO from 2007 until his retirement in 2015. He is a recipient of the Ibrahim Prize.
Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo was a Namibian anti-apartheid activist, politician and political prisoner. Ya Toivo was active in the pre-independence movement, and is one of the co-founders of the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) in 1960, and before that, its predecessor the Ovamboland People's Organization (OPO) in 1959.
The South African Border War, also known as the Namibian War of Independence, and sometimes denoted in South Africa as the Angolan Bush War, was a largely asymmetric conflict that occurred in Namibia, Zambia, and Angola from 26 August 1966 to 21 March 1990. It was fought between the South African Defence Force (SADF) and the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), an armed wing of the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO). The South African Border War was closely intertwined with the Angolan Civil War.
The South West Africa National Union (SWANU) is a Namibian political party founded in 1959. Most of its members came from the Herero people, while fellow independence movement SWAPO was mostly an Ovambo party. The party's president is Evilastus Kaaronda.
The Ovamboland People's Organization (OPO) was a nationalist organization that existed between 1959 and 1960 in South West Africa. The aim of the organization was to end the South African colonial administration, and the placement of South West Africa under the United Nations Trusteeship system. Andimba Toivo ya Toivo had founded its predecessor, the Ovamboland People's Congress, in 1957 in Cape Town, South Africa. In 1959, Sam Nujoma and Jacob Kuhangua established the Ovamboland People's Organization (OPO) at the Old Location in Windhoek. Sam Nujoma was the president of OPO until its transformation into the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) a year later and remained president until Namibia gained independence in 1990.
The People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) was the military wing of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO). It fought against the South African Defence Force (SADF) and South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) during the South African Border War. Throughout its history, PLAN had both irregular insurgent and semi-conventional units, as well as an extensive recruitment network in rural South West Africa (Namibia). During the war most of its domestic activities consisted of mine warfare and acts of sabotage. PLAN initially lacked any standing units, and the bulk of operations were carried out by political exiles who spent cyclical periods residing in refugee camps in neighbouring states before launching raids inside South West Africa itself. By the end of the war, PLAN had 32,000 militants under arms, including three battalions of semi-conventional troops equipped with heavy weapons.
Heroes' Day is a national public holiday in Namibia. It is recognized by the United Nations as Namibia Day. Celebrated annually on 26 August, the day commemorates the Namibian War of Independence which began on 26 August 1966 at Omugulugwombashe.
Lieutenant General Mweukefina Kulaumone Jerobeam Dimo Hamaambo was a Namibian military commander in both the Namibian War of Independence as a SWAPO member and in independent Namibia as the Chief of Defence in the Namibia Defence Force. He became the second commander of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) in 1967 after the death of Tobias Hainyeko and held the position until independence was gained in 1990.
Omugulugwombashe is a settlement in the Tsandi electoral constituency in the Omusati Region of northern Namibia. The settlement features a clinic and a primary school. In 1966, the first battle of the South African Border War was fought in Omugulugwombashe. The government of Namibia erected a monument on the 30th anniversary of the battle in 1996.
Peter Mweshihange was a Namibian revolutionary and guerrilla leader, and after Namibian independence, a politician and diplomat. He was the Namibia's first Minister of Defence from 1990 to 1995, and first ambassador to the People's Republic of China from 1996 until his death.
Lieutenant General Martin Shalli is a former Namibian diplomat and military commander. In 2005, he was appointed as Namibia's High Commissioner to Zambia by President Sam Nujoma, but he was recalled in October 2006 by Nujoma's successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba, and appointed as Chief of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF). He replaced controversial NDF commander Solomon Huwala, and he was replaced as High Commissioner to Zambia by regional councillor Solomon Witbooi.
Julius Shaambeni Shilongo Mnyika was a Namibian guerrilla with the South West African Liberation Army (SWALA), forerunner to the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN).
John ya Otto Nankudhu was a Namibian guerrilla, army officer and politician. He was the commander of the forces of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) at Omugulugwombashe when the armed struggle for independence began there on 26 August 1966 and was later jailed for 17 years at Robben Island. He is a National Hero of Namibia for his contributions to the independence of the country.
Peter Eneas Nanyemba,, (1935–1983) was a commander of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) during the South African Border War. Nanyemba worked as a diplomat, representing SWAPO in Botswana and Tanzania, before he was elected as the party Secretary of Defence in 1970. He played an important role as the chief organizer of PLAN during the beginning stages of the war of independence. Nanyemba is considered a national hero in Namibia.
Ephraim Kamati Andjengo Kapolo (1924–1967) was a Namibian activist who participated in the pre-independence movement. He was one of the early members of the Ovamboland People's Organization. Kapolo was an active and founding member of the South West Africa Liberation Army (SWALA), the forerunner of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), at the beginning of the Namibian War of Independence.
Simeon Linekela Kambo Shixungileni, was a Namibian guerrilla, army officer and politician. He was the second commander in -charge of the forces of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) at Omugulugwombashe when the armed struggle for independence began there on 26 August 1966 and was later jailed at Robben Island. He is a National Hero of Namibia for his contributions to the independence of the country.
Mukwanangombe Auguste Mukwahepo Immanuel affectionately known as Meekulu Mukwahepo, was a Namibian guerrilla, notable for being the first woman recruit of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia. Mukwahepo committed her life looking after children during the South African Border War, moving from one camp to another whenever the need arose.
Gaus Shikomba was a South West Africa Liberation Army (Swala) intelligence officer who was imprisoned on Robben Island from 1966 to 1984.