South Africa commemorates the anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale

Pretoria, March 23, 2024.- Representatives of South African parties and associations, Cubans present in the country and diplomatic personnel from various African nations celebrated today the 36th anniversary of the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, in Angola.

The commemoration on 23 March of that epopee is recognised as Liberation Day by the nations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in remembrance of the victory of Cuban, Angolan and Namibian forces over those of the Apartheid regime.

At the ceremony for the date, held in Freedom Park, Enrique Orta González, Cuban Ambassador to South Africa, stressed how the commemoration not only recognises the historical importance of the event, but also helps the younger generations to understand the sacrifices made to finally achieve freedom on the African continent. He also recalled how that battle, the largest in Africa since World War II, became a symbol of resistance and courage, forcing the apartheid regime to back down and sit at the negotiating table to sign peace. The decisive defeat of the racist forces was a victory for the whole of Africa, which made it possible for Angola to enjoy peace and establish its own sovereignty, the independence of Namibia, as well as laying the foundations for the end of the Apartheid regime, Orta González explained.

One of the most important pages in the history of solidarity between peoples was written in Cuito Cuanavale. That event, he said, is proof of how much can be achieved through international solidarity and how united the peoples of Africa and Cuba are.

Representatives of the African National Congress (ANC), the South African Communist Party (SACP), Angola, Namibia, Tanzania, among others, were also present at the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Andre Nzapayeke, dean of the diplomatic corps in South Africa and ambassador of the Central African Republic, emphasised how the peoples of Africa will always be grateful to Cuba on the basis of their shared history. Cuba's solidarity with the nations of the continent did not end in Cuito Cuanavale, but continues today in other fields, with the presence of Cuban doctors, for example.

For his part, Thulas Nxesi, deputy national chairperson of the SACP, said that the example of the Cubans in Cuito Cuanavale should be taught in South African schools so that young people who did not live through that moment know that part of history. In his speech, he spoke out against the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed against Cuba by the United States, and demanded its immediate end, the return to the island of the illegal US base at Guantanamo Bay, as well as calling for even closer bilateral cooperation.

Expressions of thanks to Cuba for its participation in the liberation struggles in African lands, exemplified in Cuito Cuanavale, were also made public on the occasion by representatives of Angola, Namibia, the South African War Veterans Association (in the words of retired General Keith Mokoape).

During the celebration, diplomats laid wreaths at the Wall of Names, where the names of more than two thousand Cubans who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of African nations are engraved.

(Cuban Embassy in South Africa-PL)

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