1978 The Western Contact Group determines 31.12.1978 as the final date for Namibia’s independence, and UN-supervised elections for a Constituent Assembly are to take place in June 1978.
The Action Front for the Retention of Turnhalle Principles (ACTUR) is formed by the NP under the chairmanship of AH du Plessis as an election front supporting the original Turnhalle principles. ACTUR becomes dormant in 1983.
Katuutire Kaura returns from exile and becomes actively involved in NUDO which he joined in 1975.
The Namibia Christian Democratic Party (NCDP) is founded in the Kavango. Hans Röhr is its leader and Wolfgang Adam its Honorary President.
The Bushman Alliance (BA) is formed to join the DTA.
The Liberal Party is founded by Andrew Kloppers after the LP splits and Kloppers leaves. The Liberal Party joins ACTUR but withdraws in 1979. The LP remains in the DTA under the leadership of Joey Julius.
The Damara Christian Democratic Party (DCDP) is formed under Theophelus Arend. The DCDP joins ACTUR under the name Damara Action Group (DAG), but withdraws in 1979. It joins the Namibia People’s Liberation Front (NPLF) and withdraws in 1986.
The Rehoboth Action Group (RAG) is formed to join ACTUR. RAG becomes defunct in 1980.
The Kavango Action Group (KAG) is formed to join ACTUR. KAG becomes defunct in 1989.
The Namibia Patriotic Coalition (NPC) is formed by Mburumba Kerina to join a short-lived alliance with the Rehoboth Liberation Front (LF) and the Liberal Party.
The Namibia People’s Liberation Front (NPLF) is founded as an alliance between the Voice of the People Party under Kephes Conradie, the DEC under Fritz Gariseb and the Bondelswarts Council under Chieftainess Anna Christian, shortly before these parties break away from the NNF.
Danny Tjongarero becomes SWAPO’s Deputy National Chairman in Namibia.
January 1978
Billy Marais, DTA Secretary-General, reports later (03.09.1997) that the funds of the DTA are exhausted. Then a bag full with money comes in which leads to the vast "slush fund" of the DTA in the years to come. Marais tells the story: "We had borrowed two men from Anton Rupert for the DTA, ... and André Diedericks, who was then our account. ... And Theo [Theo Mey from the SA Defence Force] came and put down a suitcase next to my table. I said to him. ‘And this?’ Then he said: ‘No, do not ask questions'. ... We were then upstairs in Hans-Erik Staby’s old architect’s office and Standard Bank was just below. ... We want to count money ... R 300 000 [US $ 450 000 in 1978], the first of much, much money from the same source." This "DTA-slush fund" leads over the years to hundreds of millions of Rand which are paid over by South Africa to the DTA, although the existence of such a "slush fund" is vehemently denied by Dirk Mudge. The Interessengemeinschaft Deutschsprachiger Südwester (IG) also mobilises funds for the DTA. Parts of the funds are channelled via the German Hanns-Seidel-Foundation (representative in Windhoek: Klaus Wolff) of the Christlich Soziale Union (CSU) under the leadership of the conservative Bavarian Prime Minister Franz-Joseph Strauss. Diether Lauenstein from Germany uses these opportunities (by transactions which were never established to date) and buys the publishing house John Meinert in order to establish a conservative course at the Allgemeine Zeitung and The Windhoek Advertiser. Kurt Dahlmann from the Allgemeine Zeitung and Hannes Smith from the Windhoek Advertiser have to leave.
February PLAN attacks under the command of Kakuwa Kembale and Immanuel Noshingulu the SA army base at Elundu in the Ohangwena area. During the operation the South African Johan van der Mescht is taken prisoner.
07.02. The Ovambo Minister of Health, Toivo Shiyagaya, is assassinated in Okahao during a DTA rally. The assailant, Mathias Mauni, is shot by the Ovambo Home Guard, a South African Defence Force sponsored paramilitary unit, at the same occasion.
March Andreas Shipanga is with the aid of Amnesty International and the International Red Cross released from prison in Keko/Tanzania.
Unrest commences in Katutura between different Namibian population groups. Julius Kambirongo, a close aide of Clemence Kapuuo, is killed, after he fires on a group of SWAPO supporters.

Clemence Kapuuo is, in the presence of Gerson Hoveka, the Ovaherero Chief of the Epukiro Reserve, and other friends, assassinated in Katutura. Clashes between Ovambo and Ovaherero follow in Katutura/Windhoek and Okakarara. Quickly the South African Administration accuses SWAPO of the murder, although nobody is ever formally charged with the killing. The killing is never clarified. If the question is asked who benefits from the murder, the scenario becomes clearer. The SWAPO activist Axel Johannes is charged by the South African security forces with the murder, tortured and mock executed, although he could prove that he was not in Windhoek during the incident. The killing, and the accusation which is levelled against SWAPO, is used to justify the crackdown by the South African Defence Forces on SWAPO followers inside Namibia and on SWAPO bases outside Namibia, thus efficiently and effectively derailing the United Nations peace process. Finally it leads to the fall of the Vorster government and the advent of PW Botha's government of "securocrats".

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Grave of Clemence (Clemens) Kapuuo in Okahandja, who is killed on 27.03.1978 in Windhoek (Katutura): The Grave is next to the Grave of Hosea Kutako: Otjozondjupa Region: August 2003
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

06.04. A new weekly newspaper, The Windhoek Observer, is launched. Its first editor is Hannes Smith.
10.04. The five Western countries in the UN Security Council negotiate with SA and SWAPO. Their proposals are submitted to the Security Council (S/12363). These include: elections for a Constituent Assembly, supervised by the UN in conjunction with the SA-appointed Administrator-General, by 31.12.1978; a cease-fire; a reduction of SA troops and their confinement to base in Grootfontein or Oshivelo or both; the restriction of SWAPO soldiers to a specified number of locations in southern Angola; the disbanding of local commandos and tribal forces in Namibia, with all of these to come under UN supervision; amnesty for political detainees on both sides; and granting Namibians in exile the right to return.
25.04. After an unpublished clarification of matters submitted by the "Western Five" (as these countries came to be known), SA accepts these proposals.
Nine executive members of SWAPO are arrested in Namibia.
May After a five year construction period (since May 1973) the Ruacana Hydro Power Station is commissioned. The power station is situated at the Ruacana Waterfalls in the Kunene River. After a southbound run from Angola, the river makes a right turn to flow directly in the Atlantic Ocean, creating a natural setting for the underground Ruacana hydroelectric scheme. From here, Namibia draws most of its electric power. To accommodate the three 80 Megawatt turbine generators, as well as the transformers, the switchgear, and the entry and discharge tunnels, more than 400 thousand cubic metres of rock had to be removed from the underground caverns. Water from the Kunene River is regulated by a series of dams in Angola, most importantly the Matala and Gove dams on the Angolan highlands, and a diversion weir at Calueque (completed in 1976), to channel part of the flow to a surge head bay on top of the mountain. The water drops almost 134 m down vertical shafts into the heart of the mountain, where it drives the three Francis Turbines before rejoining the Kunene River from a tailrace tunnel near the Hippo Pool. When in full operation, the turbines can generate about 240 Megawatts, which is fed into the Namibian power grid at 330 000 Volts. The underground power station consists of three parallel caverns, draft tubes, interconnecting galleries and ducts.

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The Ruacana Falls in the Kunene River during the Dry Season in the Omusati Region, October 2002: With the Calueque Control Weir (in Angola) to Regulate the Inflow into the Ruacana Power Station in the Background
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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View from the Top of the Ruacana Power Station (Surge Headbay) to the West: In the Direction of the Kaokoveld and the Lower Kunene River
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Ruacana Power Station: Overview: Situated 130 m Deep inside the Hill South of the Palmwash Ravine: Southwest of the Ruacana Falls: The Power House Consists of Three Long Parallel Running Caverns: Turbines/Generator Tunnel; Transformator Tunnel and Tailrace Tunnel 
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Ruacana Power Station: Turbines/Generator Tunnel: Three Francis Turbines: 80 MW Each: Provision is Made for a Fourth One 
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Ruacana Power Station: Turbine/Generator No. 1: Is Currently Under Maintenance: October 2002
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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Aerial View of the Landscape Southeast of Ruacana Town: October 2002: Omusati Region
Copyright of Photos: Dr. Klaus Dierks

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04.05. SA invades Angola and attacks Cassinga (Operation Reindeer), a SWAPO camp, leaving between 600 and 1 200 casualties on the SWAPO side. Those who are taken prisoner are brought to the notorious prison camp at Kaiganachab, west of Mariental.
SWAPO breaks off all negotiations, but with some reservations accepts (mid-July) the Western Five proposals, which the Security Council then ratifies in SC Resolution 431. A UN Special Representative for Namibia, Martti Ahtisaari, is nominated to prepare for the UN-supervised elections. Hendrik Witbooi is detained following SA’s raid on Cassinga and the subsequent SWAPO attack on the Guruchab Bridge on the highway between Keetmanshoop and Grünau. PLAN also attacks a railway bridge between Karibib and Usakos. After that some SWAPO activists are arrested: Peter Nangolo Iilonga, John Alfons Pandeni and Wilhelm Biwa. They are charged in terms of the Terrorism Act, No. 83 of 1967 and sentenced to prison terms between 18 (Pandeni) and six years (Biwa).
10.06. The SWAPO Democrats (SWAPO-D) party is founded by dissident SWAPO members in Sweden, namely Andreas Shipanga supported by, inter alia, Philemon Moongo, Phil Ya Nangoloh, Solomon Mifima, Ottiliè Abrahams and Kenneth Abrahams. SWAPO-D joins the NNF but later withdraws.
21.06. The Caprivi Strip is reintegrated into the territory.
03.07. Chief Minister of the Ovambo Government, Ndjoba, becomes the new DTA President, Ben Africa becomes Vice-President and Dirk Mudge remains Chairman.
Kuaima Riruako becomes the new Chief of the Ovaherero and leader of NUDO.
Mid July SWAPO accepts, with some minor adjustments, the proposals of the Western Contact Group which consequently is ratified by the UN Security Council.
27.07. The UN Security Council in SC Resolution 431 notes the proposals for the settlement of the Namibia situation and requests the appointment of a UN Special Representative "to ensure the early independence of Namibia through free elections under the supervision and control of the United Nations". Ahtisaari’s assistants are: The Force Commander, Lt. General Dewan Prem Chand from India; the Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Steven Fanning from Ireland; the Director of Elections, Hisham Omayad from Ghana; the Director of Administration, Abdou Ciss from Senegal; and the Director of the Special Representative’s Office, Cedric Thornberry.
The Security Council declares in SC Resolution 432 that the territorial integrity and unity of Namibia must be assured through the reintegration of Walvis Bay into the territory, and that pending the attainment of this objective, SA must not use Walvis Bay in any manner prejudicial to Namibia’s independence or the viability of its economy.
July SA is dissatisfied with SC Resolution 432 and warns that as a consequence of it, SC Resolution 431 for independence is in jeopardy. The UN condemns this stance. The major issues of contention between Pretoria and SWAPO are still the number and positioning of SA troops in Namibia, the composition and number of members of the proposed United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG), and the timing of elections for a Constituent Assembly.
The Roman-Catholic priest Heinz Hunke is, due to his resistance against the racial policy of the South Africans, expelled from the country.
29./30.07. After the death of Witbooi Nama Chief Hendrik Samuel Witboo (18.01.1978), Hendrik Witbooi becomes the new Witbooi chief in Gibeon while still in South African detention.

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Graves of the Witbooi Dynasty at the Gibeon Cemetery: Tombstone for Hendrik Samuel Witbooi
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

05./22.08. The UN Special Representative for Namibia, Martti Ahtisaari, visits Namibia to start preparing for UN-supervised elections for a Constituent Assembly.
23.08. Nine SADF soldiers and 16 PLAN soldiers are killed during a PLAN attack on Katima Mulilo.
30.08. In the deteriorating situation of intensified war actions and pervasive mistrust, the Special Representative’s proposals are reiterated in the "Waldheim Plan", which further advises postponing the date for independence and deploying 7 500 military personnel and 360 policemen under UN control during an interim period (S/12827).
20.09. SA rejects the "Waldheim Plan", while SWAPO (08.09.) and the UN Security Council adopt it. The stalemate can be interpreted as an "approach-avoidance" tactic adopted by Pretoria on its international negotiating track so as to make time for its internal track to develop. Vorster announces his resignation as of 28.09., and that internal elections in Namibia will take place in December 1978.
28.09. S/12869 clarifies the Secretary-General’s report of 28.08. and addresses concerns expressed by SA. It also explains the UN policy of equitable representation, and clarifies the composition and costs of UNTAG as well as the details of the electoral process.
29.09. SC Resolution 435 is passed by the Security Council, replacing SC Resolutions 385 (1976), 431 (1978) and 432 (1978). Based on the "Waldheim Plan", Resolution 435 demands free elections to pave the way to Namibia’s independence. The internal elections are declared "null and void". SWAPO’s Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Peter Mweshihange, as well as Theo-Ben Gurirab and Ernest Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, give input into Resolution 435 on behalf of SWAPO.
October Arthur Surén takes over the Allgemeine Zeitung.
14.10. The Western Five try to prevent the internal elections envisaged by SA ("Jacaranda Summit" in Pretoria). They also pay attention to certain aspects of the "Waldheim Plan" which are considered not to be in accordance with the earlier Western Five proposals of April 1978.
21.10. In S/12903 the Secretary-General reports on the implementation of Resolution 435 and notes the assurances of full co-operation given by the neighbouring states of Angola, Botswana and Zambia.
November The Roman-Catholic priest Hermann Klein-Hitpass is expelled from the country, because he opposes the internal elections.
07.11. Pieter Willem Botha succeeds Vorster as SA Prime Minister after Vorster’s resignation.
13.11. Despite a compromise offer, the UN fails to prevent the holding of internal elections, which are then declared illegal in SC Resolution 439.
24.11. In S/12938 the Secretary-General reports on the progress of Resolution 435, and summarises discussions held with SA (Pik Botha and Fourie Brand), during which SA requests that the elections it intends to supervise in Namibia in December should not be cancelled.
02.12. In S/12950 the Secretary-General reports on discussions with the SA Minister of Foreign Affairs.
04./08.12. Internal elections are held with the exclusion of SWAPO, the NNF and SWAPO-D. The DTA wins 82,1% of the seats, ACTUR 11,9%, the NCDP 2,8%, the HNP 1,8% and the Rehoboth Liberation Front (LF) 1,4%. SWAPO’s rejection of these internal elections is backed up by various violent actions and land-mine explosions, particularly in Ovamboland. The strong presence of the SADF – particularly in the "operational area" in the north where a non-vote has been deemed a positive vote for SWAPO – is a source of psychological coercion and explains why a high percentage (78,4%) of voters in Ovamboland go to the polls. The high DTA victory can be explained by the secret funds which were put to the disposal by the SA Defence Force. Canvassing for DTA election meetings was enormously facilitated by the jamboree atmosphere that prevailed throughout. Spectators were induced to come forward by the DTA organisers with brass bands and the liberal free issues of barbeque steaks and boerewors (sausage). Over 400 DTA organisers were put into the field, 132 vehicles were purchased for the election campaign, 36 party offices were opened while supporters were collected from all corners of Namibia and bussed free of charge to the rallies. The outcome can be analysed as a "protest vote" against the apartheid-past of ACTUR, which in the absence of SWAPO, was given to the DTA as the second best.
20.12. In terms of Proclamation AG63 of 1978 the newly-elected Constituent Assembly meets and elects Johannes Skrywer as its first President.
22.12. The Constituent Assembly supports internationally-supervised independence for Namibia in terms of SC Resolution 435, with some harsh DTA-stipulated conditions for continued co-operation and participation in the UN’s proposed transitional plan for Namibia.
30.12. A bomb explodes in the Putensen bakery in Swakopmund.

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Children in Katutura (Windhoek)
Namibia State Archive

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