2020 marks the 30th anniversary of Namibia’s independence on 21st March 1990. To celebrate this, Friends of Namibia had a number of plans which had to be postponed in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, we organised a Webinar, which, being online, meant we were able to involve a Namibian speaker, Ruusa Shipike, with Brian Wood and Vaughan Jones in London. Thirty years on, we looked back at the solidarity campaigns of the Namibia Support Committes and others. What worked best to support Namibians’ anti-racist, liberation struggle? What lessons can activists use today?
You can watch a recording of the event here
Speakers are the former Chairperson of the NSC and a Namibian activist who came to UK as a teenager for a speaking tour months after her release from gaol. The conversation is moderated by the former coordinator of Church Action on Namibia.
The challenge was huge when Namibian people stepped up their struggle for the liberation of their country from racist regime of South Africa. They took on a mighty army, brutal repression and international firms exploiting diamonds, uranium and other resources backed by Western governments. Theirs was a relatively unknown conflict overshadowed by the major struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Independence on 21 March 1990 is a tribute to all Namibians, young and old, women and men, who joined the struggle, often sacrificing their lives.
In Britain, a small group supported the Namibian people. Friends of Namibia organization evolved into the Namibia Support Committee (NSC), which campaigned against uranium exports, and other trade, mobilized British trades unions, campaigned for Namibian women, organized concerts and demonstrations, sent health kits, briefed journalists and lobbied politicians.