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Namibian War of Independence

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Title: Namibian War of Independence  
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Subject: Namibia, Omugulugwombashe, History of Namibia, South African Border War, Water supply and sanitation in Namibia
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Namibian War of Independence

Namibian War of Independence
Part of the Cold War and the South African Border War

Geopolitical situation, 1978. States friendly to the nationalist guerrillas are denoted in red, and Namibia itself presented in a maturing pink.
Date 26 August 1966 – 21 March 1990
(23 years, 6 months, 3 weeks and 2 days)
Location South-West Africa (Namibia)

Strategic SWAPO victory

South-West Africa gains independence from South Africa as Republic of Namibia.

Anti-communist forces:  South Africa

Supported by:



Commanders and leaders
Gerrit Viljoen
Willie van Niekerk
Louis Pienaar
BJ Vorster
Pieter Willem Botha
Cornelius Njoba
Peter Kalangula
Jonas Savimbi
Sam Nujoma
Andimba Toivo ya Toivo
Dimo Hamaambo
Julius Shaambeni Shilongo Mnyika
Peter Mweshihange

~71,000 (1989)[1][17]
South Africa:
30,743 SADF troops
10,000 irregulars
South-West Africa:
22,000 SWATF troops

8,300 SWAPOL police


32,000 guerrillas
Casualties and losses
2,038[19] – 2,500[20] 11,335[21]

The Namibian War of Independence, which lasted from 1966 to 1990, was a the apartheid government of South Africa. It was closely intertwined with the South African Border War.

South Africa had administered what was then still known as South West Africa since it captured the German territory during World War I and subsequently received a League of Nations mandate to administer the territory. In 1966 the United Nations General Assembly, successor to the League of Nations, revoked South Africa's mandate to govern South-West African territory and declared that it was under direct UN administration. South Africa refused to recognise this resolution and continued to administer the territory de facto.[22]

On 26 August 1966, SWAPO guerrilla forces launched an attack against the South African Defence Force at Omugulugwombashe. It was the first armed battle in the Namibian struggle for independence.[23] In commemoration of the day, 26 August is a public holiday in Namibia. It is recognised by the United Nations as Namibia Day[24] but Namibians refer to it as Heroes' Day.

The war ended with the New York Accords signed on 22 December 1988, which also ended direct involvement of foreign troops in the Angolan Civil War. Independence came to Namibia on 21 March 1990 following elections which saw SWAPO win 55 of 72 seats in the National Assembly of Namibia, enabling them to form a national government.[25]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Cuba Annual Report: 1986, 1986. Page 538-539.
  3. ^ Land Mines in Angola, 1993. Page 6.
  4. ^ The Soviet Union and Revolutionary Warfare: Principles, Practices, and Regional Comparisons, 1988. Page 140-147
  5. ^ Namibia: the road to self-government, 1979. Page 41.
  6. ^ The foreign policy of Yugoslavia, 1973–1980, 1980. Page 125
  7. ^ Yugoslavia in the 1980s, 1985. Page 265.
  8. ^ Interparliamentary Union Conference, Sofia, Bulgaria: Report of the United States Delegation to the 64th Conference of the Interparliamentary Union, Held at Sofia, Bulgaria, 21–30 September 1977. Page 42
  9. ^ Record of Proceedings -International Labour Conference 6, 1982. Page 4.
  10. ^ Tanzania: A Political Economy, 2013. Page 355.
  11. ^ SWAPO and the struggle for national self-determination in Namibia, 1980. Page 33.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Imagery and Ideology in U.S. Policy Toward Libya 1969–1982, 1988. Page 70.
  14. ^ SWAPO Information Bulletin, 1983. Page 37.
  15. ^ AAPSO Presidium Committee on Africa held in Algeria, 17–18 February 1985, 1985. Page 26.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ United Nations Conferences and Observances
  25. ^ "Namibian Voters Deny Total Power to SWAPO," by Michael Johns, The Wall Street Journal, 19 November 1989..

External links

  • Onwar Armed Conflict Events Data: Namibian War of Independence 1966–1988
  • CIA, the World Factbook: Namibia
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