The Aftermath of the Cassinga Massacre
Survivors, Deniers and Injustices
Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha
Introduction by Ellen Ndeshi Namhila
Basel Namibia Studies Series 17, March 2017
It took the former South African Defence Force (SADF) less than four hours to kill more than eight
hundred Namibian refugees at Cassinga on May 4, 1978. Thousands of survivors were left with
irreparable physical and emotional injuries. The unhealed trauma of Cassinga, a Namibian civilian
camp in southern Angola before the massacre, is beyond the worst that the victims of the attack
experienced on the ground. Unacceptable layers of pain and suffering continue to grow and multiply
as the victims’ grievances and other issues arising out of the aftermath of the massacre have
been ignored, particularly following Namibia’s political independence.
In this book, the afterlife of the victims’ traumatic memories and their aspiration for justice vis-à-vis
the perpetrators’ enjoyment of blanket impunity from prosecution, in spite of their ongoing denial
of killing and maiming innocent civilians at Cassinga, are explored with the aim to create public
awareness about the unfortunate circumstances of the Cassinga victims.
Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha obtained his PhD from the University of the Western Cape in Cape
Town for this study. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Namibia in Windhoek.