The Aftermath of the Cassinga Massacre

Print | eBook

Language: English

170 pages

Illustrations, maps, tables, index.

Vol. 18 , 2017

ISSN: 2234-9561

Print: 978-3-905758-80-1
PDF: 978-3-905758-92-4

Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha , Introduction by Ellen Ndeshi Namhila

The Aftermath of the Cassinga Massacre

Survivors, Deniers and Injustices

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It took the former South African Defence Force (SADF) less than four hours to kill more than eight hundred Namibian refugees at Cassinga on May 4, 1978. Thousands of survivors were left with irreparable physical and emotional injuries. The unhealed trauma of Cassinga, a Namibian civilian camp in southern Angola before the massacre, is beyond the worst that the victims of the attack experienced on the ground. Unacceptable layers of pain and suffering continue to grow and multiply as the victims’ grievances and other issues aris-ing out of the aftermath of the massacre have been ignored, particularly following Namibia’s political independence.

In this book, the afterlife of the victims’ traumatic memo-ries and their aspiration for justice vis-à-vis the perpetrators’ enjoyment of blanket impunity from prosecution, in spite of their ongoing denial of killing and maiming innocent civilians at Cassinga, are explored with the aim to create public awareness about the unfortunate circumstances of the Cassinga victims.


Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha obtained his PhD from the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town for this study. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Namibia in Windhoek.


Foreword by Ellen Namhila



2 Mass Burials: The “Iconic Photograph” and other Witness Accounts

3 The Attackers’ Photographs and the Eyewitness Testimony

4 Memory of the Wounded Body, Oral Testimony and the Other

5 The Aftermath of Cassinga and the Unapologetic Perpetrators: Guilty or Innocent

6 he Aftermath of Violence, Framed Reconciliation, and Injustice

7 The Abandoned Cassinga Mass Graves and Breytenbach’s Visit




“Shigwedha intends to and succeeds in opening a dis-cursive space in which the dominant national versions of the Cassinga massacre that circulate in Namibia, and the too long afterlife of the SADF version of the massa-cre, may be challenged and interrupted so as to allow for more open-ended narratives.”
Ellen Ndeshi Namhila