Cape Town – 26 November 2016

Fidel Castro,the longest serving head of state.has died.The revolutionary Cuban leader died at the age of 90,in the Cuban capital of Havana.

South Africans have a special affection for Fidel Castro.Cuba was one our most steadfast partners in the struggle to liberate South Africa from the oppressive apartheid regime. The Cuban army did battle with the South African military force in Angola where the apartheid army suffered one of its most humiliating defeats at the Battle of Cuito Cuanavale.

The defeat of the South African forces at Cuito Cuanavale not only set the stage for the independence of Namibia (then known as South West Africa),it also formed a backdrop for the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa.Despite western opposition,Nelson Mandela declared his loyalty to Fidel Castro and Cuba,after his release.Mandela,on numerous occasions thanked Castro and the Cubans for their support in fighting the evil apartheid regime,who excused their military incursions into Angola,as preventative measure against the spread of communism in Southern Africa.

Castro stepped down as Cuban head of state in 2008 and was replaced by his brother,Raul,who along with legendary revolutionary Che Guevara and other rebels,helped overthrow the Batista regime.

Castro set a world record for the longest ever speech at the United Nations,lasting more than 6 hours.His defiance of American power,led to revolutions in other South American countries and other nations around the world.

By Wesley Fester

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