Namibia Recent History

The state that is currently called Namibia, since before the First World War, was part of the territory of South West Africa, a former German protectorate.

At the end of the war, in 1920, the League of Nations established that the territory was to be part of the South African Union and as such was subject to a mandate regime. Subsequently, the United Nations asked the South African government to transform this regime into another trusteeship, or to grant the territory independence. And since the South African government refused to adhere to the request, the United Nations decided to seek intervention by the International Court of Justice. This in 1950 ruled that:
1) – the territory subjected to the international mandate assumed by the South African Union had to continue in this partnership to respect the obligations assumed with article 22 of the League of Nations Treaty;
2) – the South African Union was not obliged to meet the demands of the United Nations;
3) – the South African Union, alone, did not have the competence to apply changes to the mandate, but could do so in agreement with the United Nations –

And since the South African Union did not recognize the United Nations as heirs of the League of Nations, it remained in its firm intentions and everything remained unchanged.

According to Abbreviationfinder, in 1953, however, the United Nations, which had not passively accepted this state of affairs, established a “Committee for South West Africa” ​​with the task of demanding detailed reports on the real situation of the territory, drawn up by South Africa or, in the absence of collaboration, to procure them with their own means. And this happened.

In the following years four reports reached the United Nations. They represented the state of political, economic and cultural backwardness in which the region was located; moreover, a serious racial discrimination penalized the natives a lot, and still South Africa wanted to annex the territory.

In 1956, South Africa withdrew its delegation from the United Nations to protest the allegations. In the same year, the United Nations Assembly, to remedy all the inconveniences due to the situation, appointed a “Commission of good offices” which worked very well to resolve the matter, so much so that South Africa returned to the Nations on July 15, 1958. United.

On the following 1st September, the Commission proposed to divide the territory into two parts: the northern one would be placed under the protection regime and the southern one, after a popular referendum, would be annexed to South Africa.

Namibia Recent History

The Assembly rejected this proposal in October and negotiations with South Africa resumed. The territory remained under the administration of the South African Republic until 1966 when it passed under the direct authority of the United Nations and in 1968 officially took the name of Namibia, from the Namib desert.

Under the close surveillance of the United Nations, the apartheid regime gradually diminished until abolition. Then the government of Pretoria favored economic progress; there were numerous multinational investments, which, moreover, were already practiced in South Africa; there was an appreciable development of education with the use of different local languages, so that each ethnic group could preserve its own identity.

Some parties were formed, among which the best known were the “South West African People’s Organization” and the “South West African National Union”.

With them began the phase of nationalist movements against South African politics; at the end of 1971 a general protest strike was proclaimed, followed in 1972/73 by contacts made by the United Nations Secretary General with the representatives of the South African government to discuss the aspirations of the people, naturally aimed at achieving independence. But it was all in vain. The South African government continued its policy, but persistent opposition and protests persisted a constitutional conference which ended in 1977 with the proposal for independence to be proclaimed by 1978; but since the proposal was not followed by any negotiation, the first guerrilla motions soon followed.

Pretoria continued to administer the territory while some western powers formed the so-called “contact group” to settle the matter.

In 1981 the United Nations held a general conference in Geneva, but even here no agreement was reached, also due to a new situation created in the United States after the election of Ronald Reagan. Indeed, the latter had pronounced himself in favor of the principle called “linkage” which linked Namibia’s independence to the withdrawal of Cuban troops present in Angola since 1975.

In 1988 South Africa signed an agreement with Angola and Cuba that provided for the withdrawal of its troops from Angola, Cuba would gradually withdraw its troops and the United Nations would supervise all operations with a special body of “Blue Helmets”, so as to allow free elections. Which occurred in November 1989, finally giving Namibia a Constitution and independence. Namibia’s security guarantees then increased when the South West African People’s Organization also won the 1992 administrative election.

The first government that was formed was in agreement with the oppositions. As the internal political situation in South Africa was regularized, relations between the two countries also improved so that even Walvis Bay, the only important Namibian port, which remained under the dependence of South Africa, in 1994, at the end of some peaceful negotiations, he definitely returned to Namibia.

In the same year, presidential and legislative elections took place in December. Both awarded the victory to the South West Africa People’s Organization, which became the first ruling party while its leader, S. Nujoma, was elected President of the Republic.

The work of the government immediately proved difficult in the economic field because in the meantime unemployment had increased, income was not evenly distributed and therefore the imbalances between the classes aroused some concern and, finally, Namibia received reports from the United Nations of extensive drug trafficking on its territory. Considering also the latent cases of corruption in the public sector, the government in August 1999 was forced to apply the state of emergency, especially in the Caprivi area where, above all, the armed clashes between the police and the police were intense. independentist guerrillas.

In the international arena, after the election as president of Nelson Mandela, relations with South Africa greatly improved, which also canceled the debt that Namibia had contracted precisely towards him: it was February 1997.

Instead, those with Botswana worsened due to repeated disputes in the border areas that had arisen for some time between the two countries.