After having a twitter account for over 3 years, I sent my first tweet today!!!! YAY!!! Hopefully it will not take another three years to send another. I will not catapult into being a Twitter Maven, but I will be sending tweets from South Africa and Namibia from @sabracelets, so follow me. I’m ending all my tweets with #NotForgotten to let the former political prisoners and their families know that they will never be forgotten. I will also be posting to Facebook. So I am FINALLY dipping my toe in the 21st Century of social media!! OMG – I hope I don’t drown!
In the morning, I spoke with the daughter of one of the SWAPO political prisoners who was sentenced to life on Robben Island. In the evening, I spoke with a program participant who had worn the bracelet of another SWAPO political prisoner and had written to that person 29 years ago!! How incredible is that?!
Gaus Shikombo’s daughter found the Documentation Project website in 2010 and contacted me. We lost touch after a few months, but I reached out to her a month ago saying that I was FINALLY coming to Namibia. She is arranging most of my itinerary in Windhoek, and has even pulled her mother into service. Her mother is the first black Evangelical Lutheran pastor in Namibia and lives in the north. Due to historical reasons, most of the families of the SWAPO prisoners also live in the northern part of the country, near the border of Angola. Amazingly, her mother has agreed to take me around to some of the families of the former life prisoners. I have never met mother or daughter, and I am so humbled by their generosity.
The U.S. program participant wore the bracelet of Rudolph Kadhikwa. She wrote to the family in June 1985, and received a two-page letter from the SWAPO General Secretary, Toivo Ja Toivo!! She also received a copy of the two-page letter he had sent to the Evangelical Lutheran Ovambo-Kavango Church in Ondangwa, Namibia (in the north), requesting that they find the Kadhikwa family and share the letter with them. I probably knew this participant in Ann Arbor, but we had not been in contact for 24+ years. I googled her yesterday morning, sent an e-mail message, and two hours later, she responded. The internet is a wonderful thing!
So yes, yesterday was magical!