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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Europeans in Namibia

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Date(s) Item
1883 - 1884 South West Africa (later Namibia) is colonized by Germany. It is annexed as a protectorate in 1884.
1904 - 1907 German wars against the Herero people result in the killing of 75% of their population.
Jul 1915 South African forces invade South West Africa and annex it.
May 1919 South West Africa is allocated to South Africa by the Allied and Associated Powers.
1925 Limited autonomy for South West Africa is granted by the South African parliament.
Dec 1946 U.N. General Assembly Resolution 65(I) rejects South Africa's proposal to incorporate South West Africa into South Africa, but requests South Africa to conclude a trusteeship agreement for the territory. South Africa rejects this.
1957 The Ovamboland Peoples Congress, the forerunner of SWAPO (South West Africa Peoples Organization), is formed in Cape Town.
1960 SWAPO is formed.
May 1964 The South African government's Odendall Commission recommends the establishment of "homelands" in South West Africa and proposes a five-year economic and social plan for the territory.
1966 SWAPO's militant wing begins an armed independence struggle against South Africa. In October, the U.N. General Assembly adopts resolution 2145(XXI) revoking South Africa's mandate over South West Africa.
1968 - 1969 South Africa establishes "homelands" in South West Africa, including "Bushmanland" in the Northeast. The U.N. renames the country Namibia in 1968.
Mar 1969 The U.N. Security Council recognizes the General Assembly's revocation of South Africa's mandate by adopting resolution number 264 of 1969.
Jun 1971 The International Court of Justice rules that South Africa's continued presence in Namibia is illegal. South Africa rejects this opinion.
1974 The Portuguese empire in Southern Africa collapses allowing SWAPO to re-base in Angola and guerrilla attacks intensify. In December, the U.N. Security Council calls for compliance by South Africa with previous U.N. resolutions and the 1971 ICJ ruling.
Jan 1976 The U.N. Security Council adopts resolution 385 of 1976 calling for South Africa to transfer power to the Namibian people and to allow free and fair elections under U.N. supervision.
1977 DTA (Democratic Turnhalle Alliance), a coalition of ethnic groups, is founded.
1977 - 1979 Five Western countries get talks started and South Africa agrees in principle to Namibian independence. The U.N. adopts resolution 435 providing for internationally supervised elections. Ten days later, more than 600 Namibian exiles in Angola are killed by South African troops.
1978 Some 30,000 whites leave Namibia after a U.N. sponsored plan for Namibian independence is first accepted by South Africa. South Africa later backed out of the agreement.
1988 Talks between Angola, Cuba, South Africa and supervised by the U.S. set a timetable for the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola and Namibian independence.
Apr 1, 1989 As the U.N. independence plan begins, SWAPO invades from Angola. South African forces attack and kill several hundred guerrillas.
Nov 1989 SWAPO wins 41 of 72 seats in the constituent assembly but does not secure the two-thirds majority necessary to form a new constitution without consulting other parties. Whites overwhelmingly supported the DTA in the elections. In a survey conducted by German pollers, 74% of whites support DTA while 80% of blacks support SWAPO. In the same survey, more whites declared they were optimistic about the future than blacks (73% and 57%, respectively). Elections are declared free and fair by independent U.N. observers.
Nov 13, 1989 Whites in the mineral town of Tsumeb are arming themselves prior to election in fear of a SWAPO victory and retaliation against them.
Mar 21, 1990 Namibia achieves independence from South Africa. At independence, 60% of Namibia is white-owned or commercial land; 15% is set aside for nature conservation; 25% is black-owned. Blacks make up 80% of the population and the San have no access to their land.
Jun 28 - Jul 6, 1991 National Conference on Land Reform held. Recommendations include a ban on foreigners owning as opposed to leasing land, expropriation of underutilized land, measures to end exploitation of black farm workers by commercial farmers, and limits on absentee landlords. Sixty percent of all land in Namibia is commercial land owned by mostly white farmers; 15% is government-owned nature reserves; 25% is communal land most of which is in the north where 70% of the population depends for their livelihoods on subsistence farming.
Jul 20, 1991 Prime Minister Hage Geingob warned whites that the "slightest hint of racism" would invoke the harshest punishment after an incident at a Outjo hotel in which the Deputy Minister of Wildlife, Conservation and Tourism and his driver were refused admission for racial reasons.
Apr 1992 The government decided to expropriate all farms owned by absentee landlords without offering compensation. The ruling party is also recommending that all white farms be reduced to a certain size and under-utilized land be given to people who can use it.
Jul 1993 Hundreds of white farmers protested against proposed increases in cattle taxes by marching to the state house in Windhoek, disrupting traffic along the way. President Sam Nujoma accepted their petition and thanked them for their concern.
Oct 1994 A controversial Land Reform Bill was passed in parliament. The Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU), a mostly white organization, says the legislation is unconstitutional and will lead to socio-economic chaos, record unemployment and reduced earnings. Under the legislation, the government would be able to purchase any land on the market first and at any price determined by the Minister of Land, Resettlement, and Rehabilitation in disregard of the market-related price another buyer is willing to pay. The bill gives the government the right to force farmers to give up land, but only if they are not fully utilizing it or have extensive numbers of farms.
Dec 1, 1994 - Dec 31, 1944 Parliamentary election results give SWAPO over 70% of the total seats.
May 2, 1995 DTA co-founder Dirk Mudge stepped down as chairman, a position he has held since its origin in 1977. He was the first white politician in power to advocate a black majority government.
Apr 1997 Whites still control the economy. In the eastern town of Gobabis, a black Telecom employee was told to leave a newly rented flat after her white neighbors complained of her presence. Many white Namibians are still cocooned within a white world where relationships with blacks are paternalistic and oppressive. (African News Service (ANS), 4/16/1997)
Apr 1997 Namibia was in the midst of public debate focused on whether the constitution should be altered to allow President Nujoma to stand for a third term in the 1999 elections. SWAPO hold s two-thirds majority in parliament, so amending the constitution would be easily accomplished. The DTA is the main opposition party and apposed to altering the constitution. (Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA), 5/21/1997)
Sep 1997 Affirmative Action legislation was being debated. The bill targets blacks, women and people with disabilities for special consideration in hiring. All employers would be required to file an affirmative action report every 12 months. Trade union leader Arthur Pickering said he was uncomfortable with some of the bill's provisions. (ANS, 9/3/1997)
Nov 1997 Tension was mounting between white farmers and black residents at Aranos. The farmers, complaining of poaching, have set up illegal roadblocks around their farms and harassed residents. They complain that the police have been unable to end the thefts of animals. (ANS, 11/6/1997)
Dec 2, 1997 A hotel owner, Andre Minders, was charged with racial discrimination and grievous bodily harm against a member of the police special field force in Aranos. The black officer entered Minders' hotel and was told to leave, then assaulted and subjected to racial slurs. Minders was the fifth white man to appear in court in Aranos in connection with ongoing racial tension between white farmers and black residents. (ANS)
Dec 4, 1997 Andre Minders failed to show up for his hearing and an arrest warrant was issued. But, it was later canceled and his case was postponed until February. Residents said there was a double standard for blacks and whites accused of crime with lenience granted to whites. (ANS)
Mar 1998 A white engineer at the Windhoek Municipality was suspended after driving into his black subordinate and then taking him out on a job before taking him to the hospital. When the subordinate complained of not feel well, the engineer reportedly insulted him with racial slurs. The man had unspecified broken bones from the incident. (ANS, 3/27/1998)
Jun 23, 1998 Caprivi governor John Mabuku said that government ministers were responsible for stirring up ethnic tensions in the region and not "white foreigners" as claimed by President Nujoma. DTA president Mishake Muyongo said that Nujoma was damaging the country's peace and stability through his racist and divisive comments about whites and foreigners. In a recent speech, Nujoma threatened to "deport," "get rid of," or "deal with" any foreign nationals who "disturb the peace" in Namibia. He accused unnamed "Europeans" and "whites" of thinking they could divide Namibia along ethnic lines. Nujoma also lashed out at the Legal Assistance Center for providing assistance to the Himba people opposed to a dam construction on their land. (ANS)
Jul 1998 The National Assembly passed the Affirmative Action (Employment) Bill. It is aimed at compelling employers, especially those in the private sector, to apply affirmative action and employ people from disadvantaged communities. (ANS, 7/17/1998)
Aug 1998 The Republican Party was planning to reactivate after years of hibernation. It became dormant in 1993 when its members joined the DTA. (ANS, 8/28/1998)
Nov 9, 1998 Jerry Ekandjo, Minister of Home Affairs, said his Ministry planned to draft anti-homosexuality legislation that would induce heavy penalties against gays and lesbians. Last year, President Nujoma vowed to "uproot" homosexuality from Namibian society. He accused gays and lesbians of being "Europeans" destroying Namibian culture by imposing "gayism." (ANS)
Feb 1999 A commission was to be appointed to probe allegations of mismanagement and discrimination at the Rosh Pinah zinc mine following demonstrations by about 200 workers. The workers claimed that whites were promoted over blacks and that the management employed other discriminatory practices. (ANS, 2/22/1999)
Apr 13, 1999 Students at the Polytechnic of Namibia boycotted classes to demand the removal of a white lecturer whom they accused of racism. Students said the instructor gave higher marks to white students and made racist remarks during classes. (ANS, 4/14/1999)
Aug 1999 The Namibian Agricultural Union sought the advice of Prime Minister Hage Geingob to aid in addressing the deteriorating relationship between commercial farmers and communities in the Omahehe region. (ANS, 8/10/1999)
2004 After a dispute on a European-owned farm, a worker pulled out a knife and threatened the owner. He and five others were fired and evicted. (LaFranier, Sharon, 12/25/2004, "Tensions Simmer as Namibia Divides Its Farmland," The New York Times)
May 12, 2004 The Namibian government announced that it will transfer the land of some European-owned farms to Africans to help correct land inequities. (Beaubien, Jason, 05/12/2004, "Namibia to Seize Land Held by Whites," National Public Radio)


© 2004 - 2022 • Minorities At Risk Project

Information current as of July 16, 2010