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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Remember Cassinga?': an exhibition of photographs and histories
Author:Williams, Christian A.ISNI
Periodical:Kronos: Journal of Cape History (ISSN 0259-0190)
Geographic terms:Namibia
South Africa
Subjects:military intervention
national liberation struggles
Abstract:Since May 4, 1978, the day it was attacked by the South African Defence Force, Cassinga (Angola) has been a key site in the national history of Namibia. Within days of the assault, news spread through the exile community and around the world about the attack on SWAPO's refugee camp at Cassinga, which had left at least 600 dead and hundreds more wounded. In the years that followed, Namibians have narrated a history of Cassinga that highlights the brutality of the South African apartheid regime, the bravery of those who resisted it, and the magnanimity of those who reconciled with their former oppressors. But when we invoke Cassinga's history, do we actually remember Cassinga? The assembler of the exhibition - hosted by the Library of the University of the Western Cape (UWC) from April 12 to April 23, 2010, and the National Archives of Namibia from April 29 to May 13, 2010 -, who is also the author of this paper, argues that the dominant story of the 'refugee camp' does not begin to describe the collection of people, offices and practices that formed in and around Cassinga. At the same time, the apartheid government's claim that Cassinga was a 'military camp' is also misleading, obscuring salient qualities of this community. The exhibition presents histories of the SWAPO camp at Cassinga and of photographs which have shaped perceptions of it since the South African attack. Notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]