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Cuito Cuanavale epitomizes Southern Africa heritage - President

Cuito Cuanavale, ANGOLA, March 23 - Angolan head of state João Lourenço described the locality of Cuito Cuanavale, south-east Cuando Cubango province, as historical heritage of the peoples of the Southern Africa.,

Cuito Cuanaval Battle -  1987 – 1988 – paved the way for the fall of the Apartheid (racial segregation regime) in South Africa and, therefore, the independence of Namibia.

Addressing a ceremony that marks the Southern Africa Liberation Day on March 23, the President João Lourenço said that the battle broke the myth of the invincibility of the army of the former racial segregation regime in South Africa.

In the presence of his counterparts from Namibia, Congo, Zimbabwe and DR Congo, João Lourenço spoke of the liberation of Nelson Mandela by the apartheid regime, as well as the consequences of the historic battle.  

In his speech, he highlighted the contribution made by the governments of Cuba and Russia in the battle.

He said that it was necessary to face the dangers of Apartheid's militarist and expansionist policy to ensure the progress and well-being of the region.

It was in this context, the President went on, that the front-line countries decided to create the Southern African Coordination and Development Conference on 1 April 1980 in Zambia.  

The organisation was tasked with harmonising the economic policies of Southern African countries (SADCC) to reduce their dependence on the Apartheid regime, which advocated racial supremacy.

The statesman stressed that it was in this spirit that SADCC evolved into the Southern African Development Community (SADC).  

According to President, it is within this framework of brotherhood and solidarity that March 23rd must be celebrated by present and future generations.

In his speech, João Lourenço noted that the common victory of the peoples of the region against Apartheid dates back to the 1960s, when Tanzania and Zambia welcomed the MPLA (Angola), Frelimo (Mozambique) and ZANU (Zimbabwe).  

From Tanzanian territory, he added, the former liberation movements trained their fighters and organised the armed struggle that led to the independence of these countries in the 70's.  

Addressed the ceremony, were also the President of Namibia, who is also the president-in-office of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Hage Geingob.

The event marks the end of the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale, one of the heaviest battles the country has ever experienced. The date is a regional holiday in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Prior to the ceremony,  the presidents of Angola, Congo, Namibia, Zambia, DR Congo, as well as representatives of the south africa, Cuba, Russia and Mozambique placed wreath on monuments of heroes of the Battle of  Cuito Cuanavale.