Heroes Day 2020 – Fact sheet

Image source: Namibia Fact Check / Canva

Today, 26 August 2020, is Heroes Day in Namibia, which is a public holiday. Following are some facts about the day.

  • Heroes Day is a remembrance of the fighters and the fallen in Namibia’s decades long war of liberation which started with the Battle of Omugulugwombashe on 26 August 1966 and ended in 1989. 
  • Omugulugwombashe is located in the Tsandi Constituency of the north-central Omusati Region. 
  • 1966 was the year the United Nations (UN) revoked apartheid South Africa’s mandate over Namibia (South West Africa), which had been in place for 51 years at that stage. 
  • Omugulugwombashe was to serve as a training base for SWAPO fighters and had only been set up shortly before the skirmish of 26 August 1966. 
  • On this day in August 1966, the small band of armed SWAPO combatants were attacked at their Omugulugwombashe base by a contingent of South African Defence Force (SADF) and police that had been dropped nearby by helicopters.
  • A medal, the Omugulugwombashe Medal for Bravery and Long Service, is named after the battle and is awarded to veterans of the liberation struggle. 
  • John ya Otto Nankudhu was the commander of the SWAPO fighters at Omugulugwombashe and was captured at the battle.
  • 26 August 1966 was a Friday. 
  • The day is recognised as ‘Namibia Day’ by the United Nations (UN).

Other public holidays or commemorations that fall on 26 August:

  • In the US, Women’s Equality Day has been commemorated on 26 August since 1971 to mark the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920, that enshrined womens right to vote.    
  • 26 August is ‘Repentance Day’, a day of prayer, in Papua New Guinea since 2011.