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May 10

Written by: Dino Estevao
2013/05/10 02:53 PM  RssIcon


My journey through the border war: In Search for a home
One day as I limped around the hospital, I stopped at the door of the tent that was also a ward. I heard somebody calling me, when I went in I saw a group of men sitting around on the beds. They were also patient like me, the silence and the expression on their faces made me think that something was amiss.  They offered me a seat, “Dino, you must not go back to Namacunde.” One of the man said, “you were lucky to have survived… next time you might not be so lucky.”  This were men that I did not know from a bar of soap but the way they addressed their concern, even my ten years old could not disagree. Beside I did not know if my parent survived the massacre at Chiede. After a long debate between these men, different scenarios and possibilities were put before me, but there was of small details could not be overlooked. I was a ten years old with physical disability in a country unknown and no family or clue how to survive. The only persons that I knew here were the medics and suster venter who was a kind, caring woman. In her I found a motherly comfort, she nursed my legs and we would sat outside teaching me Afrikaans. But the idea of staying with her was overruled for reasons beyond my understanding. “Dino, you must come with us.” said one of the man in Portuguese. “at Buffalo you will be able to go to school and there are many children at your age. You will have many friends.” Soon this group of men were divided into two, the Oshiwambos of which Kwanyama tribe is part off and  my own tribe and the 32 battalion who identified with me by the virtue of being Angolan and spoke portuguese. The first group’s concern was what time of treatment was I going to encounter there. What if I became, “ophika.” And the latter insisted that I was well off at Buffalo.
Whatever the circumstances was, the time will soon come when I must be released from the hospital. “we need to find a home for this boy.” The group of strangers that I do not know from Adams cried. The matter was brought before the hospital superintendent.
The time for me to leave the hospital came one afternoon, I packed all that I had in a paper bag. Amongst my possession was a bible in Oshikwanyama. Most of other patients and medical staff came to bit me farewell. (A buffel, a military vehicle crawled into the hospital yard and came to a stop. Here was my ride, one man that was tasked to travel with me was lance corporal Tito Apolinario and one lieutenant that I do not know his name but he came to see me one evening in Buffalo to enquire on my well being after a year or so.) We climbed into the vehicle and he assisted me with the seatbelt, but before sitting I took glimpse of the sister waving goodbye, standing at the steps of the hospital. The vehicle crawled out of the hospital and what was beyond was the road with many twists and turns… each more sharp and slippery. So the search for a home continues.    

2 comment(s) so far...


Re: My journey through the border war: In Search for a home

Amazing story, Dino. Can you tell us about why and how you came to be at Oshakati hospital. You mentioned being wounded as a ten-year old during an SADF attack on Chiede... what year was that?

By Johan Schoeman on   2013/05/10 04:53 PM

Re: My journey through the border war: In Search for a home

What i have posted is a condensed part of the chapter. In search for a home is divided into chapters and phases. The massecre at Chiede happened in April or May 1980. This was merely on civilians, i will post this chapter soon. The exact date is unknown to me, but i am trying to get the records from the Angolan government. According to the Angolan news agency the number of people killed was 79. I was shot in both legs and have to undergo about four operations to Grootfontein to reconstruct. I wish i could get the SADF records.

By Dino Estevao on   2013/05/10 05:41 PM

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Re: An SADF Conscript Remembers the Early 70s – Part One
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