I SHOULD begin by commending Matthew //Gowaseb for sharing his research results on 'Profiles of Political Heroes of Namibia', with the Namibian reading public and look forward to reading his forthcoming book on the subject. His contribution on Brendan Simbwaye, however (March 08, 2007) has factual errors which should be corrected to enhance the quality of his book in this regard. If the book is already in print, it is unfortunate.
1. Brendan Simbwaye's other name is Kangongolo and not Kongongolu as it appeared in the newspaper article.
2. The information quoted from Sam Nujoma's book, Where others wavered (2001:36) that Simbwaye was chained in a baobab tree-hole should also be used with caution because there is no evidence of such. Instead Simbwaye was kept in a small prison not far from the baobab tree referred, commonly identified as the toilet tree. Also, there is no evidence to support the assertion made in the above book that Simbwaye was taken to Outjo. Instead, he was kept at Halt Farm No. 379 near Welwitschia (now Khorixas), which of course fell in the Outjo Magisterial District. Note the difference. In fact he was first taken to Ohopoho (now Opuwo), then Warmbad, to Welwitschia before being permitted to visit Caprivi in 1972.
3. Simbwaye was not arrested in 1965 but in 1964.
4. He was never elected SWAPO Vice-President in 1964 but appointed to that position as a result of the merger between SWAPO and CANU. Whether this position was meant to remain in CANU as per 'merger agreement' is a matter of historical debate. Whether SWAPO scraped the merger with CANU in 1980 with the expulsion of Muyongo is also unresolved in historical discourse. What is known is that the majority of people from Caprivi remained in SWAPO and only returned in 1989. What is known also is that Simbwaye held the position for a very long time, in absentia, and with his deputy Albert Mishake Muyongo acting in his place.
3. It is incorrect to state that Simbwaye was arrested when he organized a SWAPO meeting. It was in fact a CANU meeting, the first ever CANU public rally which he did not even address. At that time, CANU and SWAPO had not yet 'merged' even though Simbwaye had already made contact with SWAPO in Lusaka.
4. If there is evidence that Simbwaye was killed at Opuwo, as stated in your article, is groundbreaking in terms of research. Evidence favors the theory that he was killed in the Caprivi during his visit in 1972.
Lastly, research on Simbwaye is being carried out and therefore it is no longer 'scraps of information'. Part of it was made available in New Era of 25th August 2006, to coincide with Heroes Day celebrations which significantly were held at Katima Mulilo, a few metres from the place where Simbwaye was arrested in 1964. I have deposited tape recordings of oral interviews and a transcript in the National Archives of Namibia, that contains information on Brendan Kangongolo Simbwaye. This information is available to the members of the public.