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Namibia is now a free, democratic, sovereign and an independent country. This came as a result of a long, protracted and bitter struggle for independence in which the majority of the people of Namibia vigorously participated over generations and in which many of them sacrificed their own lives for all of us who are still living today. They are no longer, but the Namibian people today are enjoying their full freedom from colonial occupation, exploitation and oppression.

The independence of Namibia came about after a heroic struggle of our fore fathers against colonialism and imperialism that provided this heroic nation an aspiration for SWAPO to carry out a struggle for national liberation through serious sacrifices. We therefore, pay tribute to our fore fathers, the freedom fighters and other heroes and heroines of the land of the brave.

Independence of Namibia and the current achievements should be cherished by all of us as a united and free nation. This was a long cherished dream of the founding leaders of SWAPO that is now realized. The struggle for independence and freedom was not an easy one, but it has ushered in the establishment of a secular and unitary state whose governmental institutions, political processes, procedures and programme were designed to create and establish a democratic society that guarantee individual rights and freedom. It provided for popular participation in public affairs, the right which many nations in the world are being denied to them. We in Namibia enjoys these rights because the Constitution made a provision for them on a permanent basis, and we are proud of ourselves for these rights that serve as an assurance provisions to the nation at large.

The 21 March 1990, the day of Namibia’s independence marked a decisive turning point in the history of Namibia. That day the historic mission of SWAPO was fulfilled as the new nation was born as the founding President of SWAPO and that of the Republic of Namibia, Comrade Dr Sam Nujoma moved to proclaim that Namibia was no longer a colonialised country, but an independent state and a free nation.

SWAPO emerged victorious as a result of organized political, diplomatic, military and mass action force, which stood in vanguard of the struggle for over three decades and whose followers and supporters risked their own lives in anti-colonial, underground, in prisons and concentration camps in exile and at the battle field in fighting against the apartheid instruments of oppression such as the army of occupation SWATF, Koevoet, Police and Secret services. Despite all the tactics and mechanisms of oppression today we are a free nation and the name of SWAPO has and continuously is a symbol of faith, confidence, reconciliation, peace, justice and progress. It is therefore, essential and demanding that Namibia’s young and future generations should learn and understand how difficult it was to bring about independence and freedom. It was a protracted and difficult road indeed, which should not be compromised under no any circumstance.

Important phases of the historical development of SWAPO
The First Phase was the birth of the movement which provided for an organizational expression and national platform to the then spontaneous, scattered and uncoordinated anti-colonial activities which characterized the Namibian society during the latter half of the 1950’s. Those activities took the form of localized labour strikes, student protests and strikes and community protests against imposed, but specific injustices of colonial rule, which ranged from land expropriation, contract labour system and arbitrary township relocations, such as Katutura relocation. These activities prompted the patriotic Namibians to sent petitions to the United Nations against the South African racist oppression in Namibia. The most significant of these anti-colonial activities was the Windhoek uprising of December 1959 during which many people were killed and many others wounded by the South African colonial police in Namibia.

The Second Phase was the formation of SWAPO on 19 April 1960, when it was realized by the nationalist leaders that there was a need to conduct an effective struggle against the ruthless apartheid colonialism through a political organization, which is capable of providing leadership and political direction in order to fight colonial forces. SWAPO was then formed submerging one of the then active anti-colonial groups, namely the Ovamboland People’s Organisation (OPO) and the Caprivi African National Union (CANU). These two organizations came into existence on the initiatives of Andimba Toivo ya Toivo and Brendan Simbwaye respectively, both of whom are contemporaries of Dr Sam Nujoma and therefore, belonging to the region of pioneering leaders of Namibia’s national liberation movement. They were among those who had courage and foresight to respond positively to the demand of the time and who rose to act and unite the people of Namibia to broke the life of political apathy and mistrust of its own ability and strength to shake off the yoke of colonial oppression and exploitation.

The aim of this phase was for SWAPO to try and achieve possible forms of cooperation in the common struggle against foreign domination. Despite serious efforts to achieve this only little concrete results as far as the mounting of joint action was realized. SWAPO had immediately focused its attention on the consolidation of its own organizational structure in the country through the establishment of regional branches and external offices. It also launched a programme of recruitment by which many Namibians were organized and sent abroad for academic education, military and technical training during the first half of the 1960’s. This phase frightened the apartheid regime because of the deepening and broadening dimension of SWAPO liberation activities. The apartheid regime resorted to ever more intensified brutal methods of repression.

In December 1963, the apartheid regime proclaimed that all the public meetings were banned forthwith. SWAPO activists were also subjected to repression in the form of dismissals from jobs and schools, banishment to remote corners of the country and house arrest. The regime also began to use more and cruel notorious colonial strategy of divide and rule in an effort to frustrate the activities of the SWAPO, as a liberation movement. In this regard, the apartheid regime decided to set up the Odendaal Commission in 1964 to draw up a plan for the balkanization of Namibia into, several Bantustans, the so called homelands.

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SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura