Eliaser Tuhadeleni

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Eliaser Tuhadeleni (popularly known as 'Kaxumba Kandola') is one of the fathers of the Namibian liberation struggle.[1] He was born in 1918 in Omatangela village in Northern Namibia, one year after the British-South African forces conquered Oukwanyama kingdom. His father Lyaalala ya Tuhadeleni had been one of the senior headman of King Mandume Ya Ndemufayo of the Oukwanyama-speaking people in Northern Namibia.

Political career[edit]

Kaxumba Kandola left Namibia in 1965 together with former prime Minister of Namibia Nahas Angula, Nangolo Mbumba and many other prominent comrades.

He was a charitable man who helped his fellow country men without expecting anything in return, many Namibia who went to Cape Town stayed with him or went to get free meals from him.[2] He was also a community activist who was not afraid to challenge injustice even when it meant, literally, standing up against authority, by standing up in meetings and arguing directly with colonial officials and also, sometimes, the traditional authorities, when he felt that they were not doing their duty and defending their people. Kaxumba’s political activities can be dated back as far as 1943 when he was already involved in a workers’ strike at the Krantzberg Mine, near Omaruru.

A decade later Kaxumba was working with the Anglican Priest, The Reverend Theophilus Hamutumbangela, writing petitions and sending them to the colonial administration and, even to the United Nations, to complain about the ill-treatments the migrant workers were receiving. By the 1960s Kaxumba was active in the mobilization of support for a new political party, the early meetings of OPO (which was transformed to SWAPO on 19 April 1960) were even known as Oyoongi ya Kaxumba (Kaxumba's rallies). In 1966 when one of the first of SWAPO trained guerrilla units arrived in northern Namibia it stayed at Kaxumba’s home for several months before moving off to set up camp.

After the attack on Omugulu gwombashe (now Ongulumbashe), the South Africans searched for Kaxumba for months before they were able to capture him.[3] He then became 'Accused Number One' in what the South Africans called `The Terrorism Trial’ which led to Kaxumba and twenty nine other Namibians being sent to Robben Island. He was one of those who received a life sentence and from his arrest in 1967. When Kaxumba spoke at his trial just before being sentenced to a life term on Robben Island he remained defiant and unbroken. Ephraim Kamati Andjengo Kapolo dies during the trial in Pretoria.[4]

Addressing the court he said: " David slew Goliath because he had right on his side, and we Namibians have faith that we, too, have right on our side."


Tuhadeleni remained in prison until his eventual release in 1985 along with SWAPO stalwart Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo – spending 18 years of his life in prison. Kaxumba lived to see the fruits of his labour and the independence of his country that he sacrificed so much for.

He died in November 1997 in Windhoek.


  1. ^ "BIOGRAPHIES OF NAMIBIAN PERSONALITIESin alphabetical order". Klausdierks.com. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  2. ^ "Namibia: Eliaser Tuhadeleni - the Fierce Music Man (1918 to 1997)". Allafrica.com. Retrieved 2013-09-06. 
  3. ^ Ellen Ndeshi Namhila (2005) Kaxumba Kandola; Man and the myth: The biography of a barefoot soldier ,Windhoek: Basler Afrika Bibliographien
  4. ^ Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo: SWAPO Leader: August 2003