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SWAPO Historical Background
Formation of SWAPO PARTY
Cmd. Sam Nujoma Formation of the SWAPO PARTY
At around 1652, the Dutch had already made their mark in search of spheres of influence in the Cape, South Africa. At this time, Namibia, then South West Africa, was largely peaceful and a home to agricultural and pastoral communities mainly the San, Herero, Owambo, Damara and Nama.

When the land hungry Western imperialists at the Berlin Conference in 1884, the so-called scramble for Africa, drew up the colonial borders and Namibia became a German territory through an Anglo-German Treaty of 1890, whilst Walvis Bay remained under Britain through the jurisdiction of the Cape Colony. These moves by the European powers were highly unacceptable and suspiciously regarded by the inhabitants of Namibia then. That marked the beginning of a long and bitter struggle for freedom and emancipation.

Cmd. Sam Nujoma The struggle for the liberation of Namibia was in essence, a burning desire for change. Throughout, the Namibian people wanted change in their lives in order to live in peace and harmony. The Merchants; the Missionaries; the Army Soldiers; the Traders; the Explorers; the Navigators; the Miners and indeed all the other groups and individuals not mentioned here, were regarded as foreign intruders who aimed at serving their own interests and that of their masters.

To this end, Namibians, in all their struggles, wanted to shake off the heavy yoke of colonialism, oppression and exploitation by foreign forces in their different camouflage colonial blankets.

The early resistance of our people was largely uncoordinated and very much spontaneous in its approach and methodology. This state of affairs led to the empowering of the enemy and the weakening of the forces of resistance at the time. SWAPO Party of Namibia was born on April 19, 1960,taking from its forerunner, OPO, (1958) with a full mandate to unite all our people, and to cultivate the spirit of nationalism within the Namibian people, in order to fight the common enemy as a united people. SWAPO PARTY of Namibia, was born out of the realisation that, united we stand, divided we fall. Hence, the revolutionary rallying clarion: One Namibia, One Nation.

To this end, SWAPO had already declared in its policy documents in 1976;
The government of a truly liberated Namibia will, therefore, be called upon to take the following measures:
  • Wage the struggle towards the abolition of all forms of exploitation of man by man and the destructive spirit of individualism and aggrandizement of wealth and power by individuals, groups or classes.
SWAPO PARTY of Namibia is a dynamic. Its structure is that of broad based organization and it is truly a mass movement. In SWAPO we find:

  • All Namibian tribal and indigenous groups
  • Workers
  • Students
  • Women and children
  • People with disabilities
  • Church groups
  • Intellectuals
  • Teachers
  • Peasants
SWAPO PARTY is a home for all Namibians. With this status, no one can by-pass this broad movement . It is too broad to and comprehensive be wished away. It is all over. It vehement the souls of the nation. It is a significant political force on the Namibian landscape.There is no choice but to recognize this undeniable fact.

SWAPO PARTY of Namibia, apart from being the ruling party in the Republic of Namibia, it boasts of lively structures all over the country:

  • Cell
  • Section
  • Branch
  • District
  • Region
  • National
The SWAPO PARTY Extra Ordinary Congress in 2004 notably attracted everybody’s attention. All eyes of the International Community were focused on Namibia. The business people, the investors, the tourists, all were eagerly awaiting the results of the Congress. The Congress had the potential of strengthening or derailing democracy in this country. This demonstrates in no uncertain terms, the political power of the mighty SWAPO PARTY of Namibia. This is not the case with any of the few opposition parties in Namibia. They know that SWAPO is a political force to reckon with. The power of this party lies in the fact that it is deeply rooted in the people, in the masses, including the illiterate. They are SWAPO and they own it.

It is therefore important for all SWAPO mobilisers never to discriminate, but to mobilise all sections, sectors and parts of our motherland. It is their task to show them the way to a greater Namibian home, called SWAPO.

As a Party that is progressive in its approach and political philosophy, SWAPO refuses to be drawn into tribal and sectional politics. For SWAPO, the following are among other enemies of the people:
  • Tribalism
  • Regionalism
  • Apartheid; colonialism; neo-colonialism and imperialism
  • Individualism; egocentricity
  • Favouritism
  • Ethnicity
  • Unpatriotism
  • Reactionary
    Among others, the following are friends of the Namibian people;
  • Altruism
  • Patriotism
  • Pan-Africanism
  • Un-blind nationalism
  • Internationalism
  • Equality and Equity
Only if all these are embodied in an organization can it be regarded as a real driving force for progress and change. Within the Namibian political arena, SWAPO PARTY of Namibia boasts of these values and qualities. The people in SWAPO, the supporters, followers, rank and file members, the leadership, everybody, must of necessity, posses these qualities.

Cmd. Sam Nujoma Through a long, bitter and protracted struggle for national independence and freedom, SWAPO made a name for itself Nationally and Internationally. It became a Political Party of the people. The international Community identified themselves with the struggles of the Namibian people through SWAPO. This became the case because SWAPO was fighting a just cause- to rid the Namibian people of the yoke of apartheid colonialism.

Through the International Community, not by chance or good luck, but by intensified high level Diplomacy, SWAPO won the recognition; Sole and authentic representative of the Namibian people. The international community supported SWAPO in three important fronts:

  • Politically
  • Diplomatically
  • Militarily
Over and above these, SWAPO was supported through provision of centers, food and clothing. Education and other materials relevant to a liberation movement.

International and national pressure mounted on the apartheid regime through the endless efforts of SWAPO from all fronts. The events of Quito Quanavalle through the combined Cuban Internationalists forces and PLAN fighters led directly to the acceleration of the implementation of UN Resolution 435, in 1989 and the subsequent attainment of National independence on 21 March 1990.


SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura