5. THE COLONIAL PERIOD: SOUTH AFRICAN RULE RULE

5.5 THE INDEPENDENCE PROCESS: PERIOD OF INTERIM ADMINISTRATIONS: 1975-1987

1975 The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany declares that Germany’s policy on Namibia has changed, and it now recognises that SA occupies Namibia illegally.
The Namibia Democratic Party is founded at Vaalgras by Emil Appolus from the remnants of the defunct SWAUNIO.
The Nama Alliance is formed under DaniŽl Luipert. It later joins the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference.
The Rehoboth Liberation Party is formed under Hans Diergaardt after a split in the Rehoboth Volksparty.
Hifikepunye Pohamba becomes SWAPO’s Secretary for Finance and Administration in Lusaka.
Daniel "Danny" Tjongarero becomes active in SWAPO politics. He and the British lawyer Cedric Thornberry draft a discussion paper on a Constitution for an independent Namibia. Many provisions contained in SWAPO’s Discussion Paper for Independent Namibia resurfaced 14 years later in the SWAPO Election Manifesto, 1989.
A second Swakop River dam, the Swakoppoort Dam, is built 57 km west of Okahandja.
The SA Rand devalues against the US Dollar by 17,3%.
January New elections are held in the Ovambo region. Massive repressive measures ensure that 76% of all voters participate in the north, and that 4% of migrant workers in the centre and south also vote. SWAPO’s attempt to boycott the elections largely fails – although SWAPO Secretary-General Axel Johannes had confidently predicted its success – because the party’s internal wing has been paralysed by the mass exodus of the previous year.
Angolan liberation movements sign the "Alvor Accords" that set 11.11.1975 as the date for Angola’s independence. The period of transitional government begins, the government including members of all three liberation movements: the MPLA, the FNLA and UNITA.
22./23.02. The National Convention (NC), an alliance of the majority of "black" political organisations founded in 1971, experiences a split once the internal wing of SWAPO has left it (December 1974). SWAPO, SWANU and other organisations form the Namibia National Convention (NNC). The NNC uses the original slogan of the NC: "From Divided Doom to United Existence". NAPDO joins the NNC. The NNC is later opposed to the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference and refuses to participate in its deliberations. Danny Tjongarero and Zephania Kameeta are involved in organising the NNC.
A second grouping, mainly of Nama and Dama origin, later forms the Namibia National Council (during the Okahandja National Unity Conference of 1975). But others remain in the original NC under the leadership of Clemence Kapuuo.
The FCPP is renamed the Labour Party (LP), headed by Andrew Kloppers. The LP joins the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference together with its opposition, the National Independence Party (NIP); later (1981) renamed the Namibia Independence Party (NIP)).
28.02. The SA Minister for Coloured, Rehoboth and Nama Relations, Hennie Smit, announces that the "reserve" of the Bondelswarts Nama at Warmbad has been deproclaimed, and 379 Bondelswarts are deported, mainly to Gibeon.
April The Damara Advisory Council proposes elections for all Dama in the territory in order to unite the different Dama factions.
06.04. Joel Stephanus is inaugurated as Chief of the Vaalgras Traditional Authority.
05.05. A symposium takes place in Windhoek to prepare a hand-picked group of "white" bureaucrats for the changes lying ahead. Pik Botha, SA’s Ambassador to the UN, as well as Dirk Mudge and Eben van Zijl, address the symposium and declare that since the days of General Hertzog, SA has had no claim to SWA/Namibia.
20.05. SA Prime Minister Vorster states before the "Afrikaanse Chamber of Commerce" at the Windhoek High School that in his Government’s view, "[It is] for the peoples of SWA to determine their own political and constitutional future ... all options are open ... including that of independence", but SA rejects UN supervision of SWA/Namibia.
June The NNC plans a march through the streets of Windhoek, but the SA authorities prohibit the march.
24.06. The HNP under its leader Albert Hertzog states that "South West Africa constitutes an integral part of South Africa".
Mid-year Members of the SWAPO Youth League enter into a heated argument with the exiled SWAPO leadership during a meeting in Lusaka. They call for a Congress which is already some months overdue in accordance with the principles of the Tanga Congress of December 1969.
July The SA Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, MC Botha, in an attempt to curb the dissension among different Ovaherero factions, and after intense lobbying on the part of Clemence Kapuuo, informs the Ovaherero at Okakarara that they can stay in Aminuis, and that the Aminuis Ovaherero will not be relocated to the Rietfontein Block in Hereroland East. A "homeland" for the Tswana ("Tswanaland") in parts of Aminuis, was originally planned in accordance with the Odendaal Plan. Botha thus dismembers the Odendaal Plan by eliminating Tswanaland as one of its proposed ethnic "homelands". This move influences Kapuuo later to join the Turnhalle Conference.
SWAPO's PLAN takes advantage of the open frontiers between Angola and Namibia and attacks South African troops in Ovamboland and the Calueque Dam (the dam is situated on Angolan territory) near Ruacana. This leads to South African raids on the Angolan MPLA and the permanent guarding of the dam by the SADF.
01.08. During its first session the South West Africa Coloured Council demands virtual economic integration with the "white" minority. The SA Government is also requested to substitute the term "coloured" with "brown". During the Council’s second session delegates express open animosity and disappointment with regard to SA’s apartheid policy.
Dawid Bezuidenhout joins the LP.
16.08. Chief Minister of the tribal Ovambo Executive, Ondonga King Filemon Elifas Shuumbwa, is killed in Onamagongwa in the Ondangwa area. SWAPO National Chairman David Meroro denies that SWAPO is responsible for his death. Many SWAPO supporters, inter alia the leader of SWAPO in Ovamboland, Skinny Hilundwa, are arrested after the killing of Elifas. Many of SA’s subsequent suppression measures are carried out in terms of legislation which has now been made applicable to Namibia, namely the Riotous Assemblies Act of 1956 and the Suppression of Communism Act of 1950, which is later renamed the State Security Act of 1950. Aaron Mushimba, Axel Johannes, Hendrik Shikongo and Victor Nkandi are all arrested together and sentenced to death in the Swakopmund trial. After hearing argument on appeal, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa in Bloemfontein sets aside the conviction and sentences on the ground of irregularities in the court proceedings (March 1977 and 24.10.1977 in the case of Nkandi). All the accused are released and go into exile.
Thousands of SWAPO-members, mainly young people, flee to Zambia. The SWAPO leadership in Zambia is not prepared for such a massive influx of people. This leads later to a serious crisis within SWAPO ( SWAPO crisis of 1976).
26.08. Reverend Cornelius Tuhafeni Ndjoba is elected new Chief Minister of the tribal Ovambo Executive.
01.09. The Turnhalle Constitutional Conference, plans for which had already been announced in November 1974, is constituted along ethnic lines. SWAPO is excluded, and during its inauguration holds demonstrations under the leadership of Danny Tjongarero to protest this SA-initiated conference. The conference is preceded by a wave of arrests of "black" opposition leaders, notably from SWAPO and the NNC. Clemence Kapuuo’s participation in the Turnhalle Conference constitutes an effort to improve the situation of the Ovaherero. Peter Katjavivi, SWAPO’s representative in Western Europe, dismisses the Turnhalle Conference as "puppets in the silence of a political graveyard".
Some Dama parties, such as the DEC, Justus ||GaroŽb’s Damara Council (together with Paulus ||Gowaseb and Simon Immanuel !Gobs) and the DTEC, oppose the Turnhalle Conference, while Engelhardt Christy’s DUF supports it.
The "white" members of the Turnhalle Conference are Dirk Mudge, Eben van Zijl, AH du Plessis and ET Meyer.
The appointment of AH du Plessis, leader of the NP of SWA and SA Minister of Community Development, reflects a deliberate move by Pretoria to tighten its ideological control over the Turnhalle Conference. This appointment exacerbates the growing differences within the NP of SWA on the issues of apartheid and "white" parliamentary representation in SA. This appointment also leads to a split in the NP of SWA, and the establishment of the Republican Party (RP) within the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) under Dirk Mudge. It furthermore exacerbates the growing dissatisfaction among the liberal faction of German-speaking Namibians, and is one of the reasons for the establishment of the Interessengemeinschaft Deutschsprachiger SŁdwester (IG) in 1977.
Other ethnic groups are represented as follows: Ovaherero (Johannes Karuaihe, E Hiiko, Levy Nganjone, G Kanguvi); Coloureds (Dawid Bezuidenhout, Joey Julius, Barney Barnes, Andrew Kloppers), Basters (Ben Africa, Abraham Strauss, Justice Chris Mouton, Piet Junius); Tswana (Gregor Tibinyane, Matheus Lebereki, Gates Mootseng, P Tibinyane); Dama (T Eigab, Johannes G‚seb, Engelhardt Christy, Johannes Skrywer); Ovambo (Immanuel Nghihulifua, Toivo Shiyagaya, Peter Kalangula, T Nakambonde); Caprivi (GabriŽl Siseho, Richard Muhinda Mamili, M Moraliswani, F Mungu); Nama (Cornelius Cloete, Ernst Kuhlmann, Frans Afrikaner, DaniŽl Luipert); Kavango (Alfons Majavero, Josef Kandjimi, Rudolf Ngondo, L Hakusembe); and San (Bushmen) (Geelbooi Kashe, Martin Xaesce). The Conference Secretary is Billy Marais.
SWAPO National Chairman David Meroro goes into exile in Zambia via Botswana.
23.09. The NP of SWA presents the Turnhalle Conference as its own idea, while the HNP rejects it outright (May 1975).
28.09. After the killing of King Omukwaniilwa Elifas, Immanuel Elifas (Kauluma)(1975-present) becomes the 17th Ondonga King. He resides at Onamungundo.
Sept./October UNITA and the FNLA split from the MPLA, and fighting begins in Angola.
14.10. The Federal Party (FP) is constituted when the United Party in SWA (UP) breaks with the United Party in SA. Bryan O’Linn becomes the party leader. Some UP members under Jacques Pierre Niehaus leave to form the SWA Action Group (SWAAG), which later joins the Action Front for the Retention of Turnhalle Principles (ACTUR).
10.11. The Okahandja National Unity Conference takes place in opposition to the Turnhalle Conference. One of the participating groups is the NNC, consisting of SWAPO, SWANU, the Rehoboth Volksparty, the Damara Tribal Executive Committee and NAPDO.Another group of participants mainly comprises parties supported by Nama and Dama, with a small Ovaherero faction which does not want to join forces with the NNC. This second group consists of the Damara Executive Committee (DEC), the Damara Council, the Namibia Progressive Party (Bondelswarts), the Hoachanas community, the Vaalgras community, the Witbooi section of Gibeon, the Democratic Organisation of Namibia, the two Ovaherero factions (Mbanderu Council and the Association for the Preservation of the Tjamuaha-Maharero Royal House), as well as the Voice of the People Party. This group later constitutes itself as the Namibia National Council.
The second session of the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference commences.
11.11. Angola gains its independence. The country’s first President is Agostinho Neto (52), who unilaterally declares independence from Portugal. He requests aid from Cuba, after South African troops in Operation Zulu and the FNLA under Holden Roberto have penetrated deeply into Angola. Zaire supports the SA-led coalition with the military Chipenda Column.  The South African troops conquer Benguela, Lobito and Novo Redondo. The FNLA reach the Caxito River, only 30 km from Luanda.
An estimated 50 000 Cuban troops start arriving in Luanda.
The first Minister of Foreign Affairs is Josť Eduardo dos Santos (33).
December The Cuban troops stop the South African advance at the Queve River, just two hours driving from Luanda.

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Turnhalle Building, 1975
Namibia State Archive

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The Grave of Ondonga King Filemon Elifas Shuumbwa at Olukonda
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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