5. THE COLONIAL PERIOD: SOUTH AFRICAN RULE RULE
5.3 SOUTH WEST AFRICA BECOMES A UNITED NATIONS TRUSTEESHIP AREA: 1946-1956
|1946||Concrete steps are taken by the
South African Government to incorporate South West Africa into the Union of South Africa.
After 1945 the major lines of cleavage in "white" politics relate more to ideology than anything else, and language is no longer a major issue of contention.
This years census finds a combined total of 269 569 "blacks" and "coloureds" living in SWA, and 38 020 "whites".
SA tables a report to the UN regarding the administration of the territory.
Simon "Mzee" Kaukungua joins the South West Africa Railway Police.
Andrew Kloppers moves from the South African Cape to Namibia. He has already in the Cape been involved in the Kleurling Ouer-Onderwyser Vereniging (KOOV) in "Coloured" politics. He works together with EL Cloete and Mr Olivier from the Baster community.
There are strikes of Ovambo contract labourers at diamond mines at Lüderitz and Bogenfels.
||Some Witbooi Nama members of the
Rhenish Mission Society, inter alia Petrus Jod (born around 1900) who has been missionary
Spellmeyers understudy since 1905, and Rev. Markus Witbooi, father of Hendrik
Witbooi, gather at Keetmanshoop to adopt a paper summing up a number of serious grievances
against the Rhenish mission. This is the starting point for a development that results in
the establishment of the first church in Namibia led by indigenes.
Graves of the Witbooi Dynasty at the Gibeon Cemetery: Tomb Stone
for Markus Witbooi
|17.01.||British delegation leader at the UN, Bevin, declares that Great Britain is placing her mandates under UN trusteeship.|
|March||War-related petrol rationing and mail censoring is lifted.|
|April||South Africa conducts a
referendum in SWA. Namibians are tricked by asking them whether they would like to join
the Chinese, the Russians or the British. Many indigenes clearly do not understand the
political implications of the referendum, which results in a majority in favour of
incorporation, especially in Ovamboland and the Kavango. The vote result is 208 850 in
favour of incorporation and 33 520 against, while 56 700 people are not consulted. The
groups voting against are the Nama, Dama and Ovaherero, i.e. the groups that suffered by
far the most under German colonial rule. The UN General Assembly does not allow itself to
be fooled by this "referendum".
Opposition to incorporation comes from various quarters. Hosea Kutako (together with Nikanor Hoveka) of SWA is the first to petition the United Nations. Kutako favours being placed under British trusteeship. He is, however, refused a passport by the SA authorities. He contacts Frederick Maharero in Bechuanaland to assist him in sending the petition. Maharero again contacts Thekedi Khama of Bechuanaland to help the Namibians in their plight. It is through Khama that the Anglican priest Michael Scott becomes involved as petitioner to the UN to oppose incorporation. Rev. Scott is later blacklisted by the South Africans and criticised by the Anglican Church and other ecclesiastical circles. Kutakos petition is signed by Festus Kandjou. It is remarkable that this petition is sent on the fateful date of 26.08.1946 (for the Ovaherero: 26.08.1923)(20 years later, on 26.08.1966, SWAPO begins the armed struggle against SA).
Another petitioner is David Witbooi and later, after his death in 1955, Hendrik Samuel Witbooi from the Witbooi Nama.
Nama members (33%) of the Rhenish Mission leave this church because of the apartheid attitudes of German missionaries. They join the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC), a black church from the USA linked with Ethiopianised Christianity in southern Africa. Wide-ranging political demands for the spiritual and physical upliftment of Namibian indigenes are made, especially by Petrus Jod. The successor to Rhenish missionary Spellmeyer at Gibeon, Fritz Mayer, calls AMEC "communist propaganda".
Rhenish missionary Theo Sundermeier later analyses how the Rhenish Mission Board in Germany yields to fresh thoughts and theories on missionary theology which originate from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the World Council of Churches (WCC). In the light of these new developments, the mission is required to establish independent, indigenous churches. Liberation movements are to be seen within the "black" Christians own cultural context, namely as an attempt to attain freedom from the twofold menace of South African Apartheid and missionary paternalism.
The OMEG-Tsumeb mine is put up for sale by the Custodian of Enemy Property.
|18.04.||The League of Nations voluntarily dissolves.|
|23.10.||The South African Communist Party (SACP) urges full participation by "blacks" in the politics of SWA and requests that the territory be placed under UN trusteeship on the road to independence.|
|November||The African Improvement Society
(AIS) is founded as a kind of secretariat for the Herero Chiefs Council by students
and teachers such as Clemence Kapuuo. Its functions are mainly cultural and educational.
It soon begins to compete in importance with the semi-official Bantu Welfare Club (founded
at the beginning of the 1930s; "black" committee members 1937: AE Mogale, AS
Mungunda, AS Shipena) operating in the "Old Location" in Windhoek. Prominent
members are Bartholomeus Gerhardt Karuaera (President), Berthold Himumuine (Secretary),
Clemence Kapuuo and David Meroro. Himumuine is the first Namibian "black" to
The AIS runs a small café in the Windhoek "Old Location" as a meeting point. The first administrator is Ananius Munoko, followed by David Meroro.
Tendencies within the Ovaherero parishes of the Rhenish Missionary Society begin to liberate these congregations from the mission. This leads eventually to the formation of the Oruuano Church in the 1950s.
The Spitzkoppe Mountain is climbed for the first time by Hans Wongtschowski and Jan de Villiers Graaff.
|14.12.||SAs petition to incorporate the territory as an integral part of that country (07.05.) is rejected by the UN General Assembly (proposed by the Indian delegate Sir Maharaj Singh). This formal request by SA is taken by some international lawyers to imply that the UN, as far as the mandates are concerned, is the lawful successor of the League of Nations.|
Namibia State Archive