Chileka airport Blantyre.
On 30 April 1975: we traveled to Lourenco Marques from Dar es Salaam by an East African Airways plane, which had to land at the Malawian airport of Blantyre.
All transit passengers were requested to proceed to the air terminal and there a young police or immigration officer almost jumped in excitement when, after approaching various passengers, he finally saw Soviet passports.
Most probably the Malawian authorities were informed in advance about our trip and his task was to “detect” us. It took several hours to settle the dispute. The Malawian authorities insisted that we illegally arrived in Malawi and should be deported to Dar es Salaam by the next flight;* _they even took our luggage off the plane.
A local representative of the airlines, a white man, probably from Rhodesia, declined to help and even accused us of violating the Warsaw Convention of 1929. The Malawian authorities insisted that we illegally arrived in Malawi and should be deported to Dar es Salaam by the next flight; they even took our luggage off the plane.
A local representative of the airlines, a white man, probably from Rhodesia, declined to help and even accused us of violating the Warsaw Convention of 1929. But we flatly refused to stay in Malawi, and our position was supported by the Norwegian captain of the aircraft, who refused to leave without us and, as we heard later, even phoned the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country to let us go.
Our luggage was put aboard again, and the captain apologised for the delay *“due to immigration problems”. However, when we landed in Lourenco Marques we found that one of the film cameras we were bringing to FRELIMO was missing. It was clear that Pretoria was shocked by the developments in Mozambique even though it tried to put on a brave face.
When I switched on Radio South Africa on 1 May 1975, there were three main news items:
1. “the communists captured Saigon”, 2 . A top-ranking delegation came from Moscow to Lourenco Marques, 3. And a South African sportswoman was refused the right to participate in a competition somewhere in Latin America.
Switching over to the local Mozambican radio brought a further surprise: the “Internationale” in Russian!
..Mozambican comrades were worried by the incident in Blantyre and since we had to go back to Dar es Salaam by the same route, they took appropriate measures. When we were leaving, Guebuza, hugging me, said “Don’t worry about Blantyre.” Indeed, this time all the passengers were “kindly requested to remain aboard” and the same lieutenant, walking along the passage, pretended that he did not know us.
We came back from Mozambique in a very cheerful mood. We could see that most of the country was intact because the guerrilla war took place mostly in the remote northern provinces. The victory of the liberation movement in Mozambique opened new prospects for its friends in neighboring countries. “Three more years for Zimbabwe and ten for South Africa”
Excerpt From: Vladmir shubin: The Hot cold War.
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