Part 3_ .
And again, if you search (or Google) *Battle of Quito Cuanavale* of 1988.
This was a fierce battle that was fought in Angola between troops from the Apartheid regime against Angolan army (with support of the Cuban military).
It ended in March 1988 with a humiliating defeat of the Apartheid troops.
This defeat contributed positively to the struggle for independence of Namibia exactly a year later.
Nelson Mandela later commended Cuba for its military support for Angola to win this decisive battle that was a turning point for the struggle against Apartheid in both Namibia and South Africa.
After this humiliating defeat at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale in March 1988, the writing was now clear on the wall that apartheid regime was crumbling and would soon be dislodged to pave way for a black-led government.
That is when Malawi under Dr Kamuzu Banda started to re-position herself in preparation for a possible take over of government in South Africa by freedom fighters.
It was after this that Malawi under Dr Kamuzu Banda was seen to be strategically drifting away from Apartheid regime towards fraternising with the liberation movements fighting against the apartheid regime.
For example, there are archival records from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Malawi) that:
1. In 1989, Malawi under Dr Kamuzu Banda donated huge sums of money to Sam Nujoma led SWAPO (a political party fighting for independence) to assist them in their struggle against apartheid regime.
2. In the same year (1989), Malawi under Dr Banda also donated huge sums to ANC.
3. Soon after the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in February 1990, Malawi under Kamuzu Banda also made another donation of funds to Nelson Mandela to assist him to settle down after prison life.
But other analysts have lamented that while this support by Malawi under Kamuzu to ANC and SWAPO should be appreciated, it was rather *TOO LITTLE TOO LATE!*
Nevertheless, if a question is asked to say did Malawi under Dr Kamuzu Banda ever financially supported liberation movements in Southern Africa fighting against apartheid?
The answer is Yes , but this must be qualified within a proper context as alluded above.
Perhaps, before we clap hands to Dr Kamuzu Banda for the above-mentioned support to ANC, we should first of all recognize and give credit to many other Malawians for the more significant roles they played in the struggle against apartheid when the ANC needed that support more than ever before :
1. *Dr Attati Mpakati* and his party *LESOMA* for they stood for the exact cause that is identified with ANC. LESOMA and ANC were allies in the struggle who mobilised resources from the same sources and benefitted enormous support from same partners to advance their common cause in Southern Africa.
2. *Yatuta Chisiza* and his 16 lieutenants that infiltrated Malawi in October 1967 to topple Dr Kamuzu Banda. They shared exactly same ideals and aspirations with ANC so much so that ANC led by Oliver Tambo didn’t hesitate to grant financial support to these Malawians in their mission to militarily dislodge Dr Kamuzu Banda from power (More details in the Video documentary on Mwanza War coming out soon) .
3. *James Chirwa* who was among the first recruits into the ANC /SACP armed wing called uMkhontho we Sizwe (MK) under the command of Nelson Mandela. He was arrested and tried by apartheid regime and sentenced in mid 1960s to serve at Robben Island for treason where the likes of Mandela, Sisulu, Mbeki, Zuma, Katrada etc were imprisoned. Only to be rearrested by Dr Kamuzu Banda in 1975 (and thrown into Mikuyu Prison) upon arrival at Chileka Airport as a freed man from Robben Island.
4. *Dan Mhango* who served as an organiser for ANC in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg in the 1980s during a difficult era when ANC was still banned in South Africa under the label of being a terrorist organisation. Him too, was abducted from Johannesburg by special branch and brought to Malawi to be locked at Mikuyu Prison under orders from Dr Kamuzu Banda.
Hopefully, this helps a great deal to put into proper context Dr Kamuzu Banda’s support to the liberation struggle in Southern Africa.
_TO BE CONTINUED…_
Compiled by Paliani Chinguwo.