Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

25 March 2022

Freedom Park commemorated the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale on Wednesday, 23 March 2022 at Pretoria Freedom Park.

March 23rd, 2022 marks the 34th Anniversary of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, where African patriots, Cuban and Russian internationalists who laid down their lives for the liberation of Africa and Southern Africa, in particular, were honoured and celebrated.

The day was considered a day of reflection on the liberation struggle history and the event included a wreath-laying ceremony.

The significance of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale encourages an appreciation of the importance that global solidarity played in the emancipation of Southern Africa and Africa.

The commemoration of this Battle was to pay homage to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for South Africa’s liberation.   

The Battle of Cuito Cuanavale was the climax of the war that took place in Angola instigated by the apartheid regime, from 1987-to 1988.

According to Arts, Sport, and Culture Minister, Nathi Mthethwa, the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale has paved the way for the liberation of Southern Africa.

Mthethwa was the keynote speaker.

“The battle of Cuito Cuanavale marked the decisive defeat of the SADF and apartheid, the success obtained in the battle constituted a historic turning point in the struggle for the total liberation of the region from racist rule and aggression.

“Our own South African international icon, OR Tambo, remarked: ‘Pretoria’s attempt to inflict a decisive defeat on the Angolan government forces at Cuito Cuanavale ended in the humiliation of the SADF’,” Mthethwa said.

The triumph of the revolutionary forces against their reactionary foes on the 23rd March 1988 represented a watershed for the liberation struggle in Southern Africa.

“President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela recalled: ‘Cuito Cuanavale marks the turn in the struggle to liberate the continent and our country from apartheid; the defeat of the racist army in Cuito Cuanavale allowed the people of Namibia to reach their liberation’.

“Fidel Castro, whose Cuban forces were instrumental in assisting the Angolan government, stated that: ‘the history of Africa will come to be written as before and after Cuito Cuanavale’,” said Mthethwa.

The People’s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola, People’s liberation Army of Namibia, Umkhondo weSizwe, the military wing of the ANC supported by the Cuban armed forces and the Soviet/Russian combatants were amongst the revolutionary forces who were in attendance.