In Namibia, Heroes Day is a recognized public holiday. It is acknowledged as Namibia Day by the United Nations. The day, which is observed every year on August 26, honors the beginning of the Namibian War of Independence in Omugulugwombashe on that date in 1966.
South Africa’s mandate over South West African territory was removed by the UN General Assembly in 1966, and the region was put under direct UN control. They also declined to accept this decision.
South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) at that time also prepared for armed resistance and founded its armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) in 1962. Many of its erstwhile commanders were also in exile but PLAN began to infiltrate the north of Namibia to establish training camps. Omugulugwombashe was one such training camp, established in June 1966 by PLAN commander John Ya Otto Nankudhu.
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The group under Nankudhu had just started to build defensive structures and also planned to train about 90 soldiers there.
On 26 August 1966, eight helicopters of the South African Defence Force attacked the guerrilla fighters at Omugulugwombashe. At the time of attack there were only 17 soldiers in the camp.
It was the first armed battle of the War.
Omugulugwombashe is also declared as one of the Heroes Acre in Namibia, and it is a settlement in the Tsandi electoral constituency in the Omusati Region of northern Namibia.
In commemoration of the day, 26 August is a public holiday in Namibia. It is also recognized by the United Nations as Namibia Day but Namibians refer to it as Heroes’ Day.