Sunday 20 June 2021
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Dr Sam Nujoma at 90: a heritage of Namibia People

“I move in the name of our people to declare that Namibia is forever free, sovereign and independent”, thundered Dr Sam Nujoma at the end of his inaugural speech on 21 March 1990.
These words captured the spirit of commitment, dedication and perseverance which are the embodiment of the personality of Dr Sam Nujoma.
In 1950s, Dr Sam Nujoma became aware of the suffering of his people under the yoke of Apartheid colonialism. Racial oppression, exploitation of African labour under the Contract System and the knowledge of independence campaigns across Africa shaped the political outlook of Dr Sam Nujoma. He therefore decided to work together with those who were campaigning against Apartheid South Africa’s rule over the Territory of South West Africa.
He became the co-founder of the Ovamboland People’s Organisation (OPO). In 1957, he resigned from his job at the South Africa Railways in Windhoek and dedicated his entire life to anti-colonial struggle.
He started mobilisation campaigns against the Contract Labour System in particular, and Apartheid colonialism in general.
He was elected the first President of OPO and subsequently of the South West People’s Organisation (SWAPO). The Apartheid regime threatened to deport him to Ovamboland and banish him there under the Traditional Chiefs who were used by the Apartheid regime to suppress political activities.
On 29 February 1960, Sam Nujoma left the country with the aim of mobilising independent African countries and the international community to support the struggle of the people of South West Africa. He proceeded to Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanganyika now Tanzania.
He received support from President Julius Nyerere. He acquired travel documents which enabled him to travel to Accra, Ghana to attend the All Africa People’s Conference which was organized by President Kwame Nkrumah in support of the total liberation of Africa.
In Ghana he met African revolutionaries such as Patrice Lumumba of Congo, Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Frantz Fanon of Algeria and many others.
This was the beginning of the campaigns of solidarity with and support for the struggle of the Namibian people. The Conference further informed Nujoma’s Pan-African outlook.
From Ghana, Dr Nujoma visited Liberia before proceeding to the United Nations in New York where he was invited to address the United Nations Committee on South West Africa. This was the start of Dr Nujoma’s frequent visits to the United Nations for a period of twenty-nine years.
In September 1961, Dr Nujoma attended and represented SWAPO at the founding of the Non-Aligned Movement in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. He further represented SWAPO at the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa on 25 May 1963.
The 1960s were the times of genuine solidary with the oppressed colonial peoples. In this regard, SWAPO was able to mobilise material, political, diplomatic and moral support worldwide.
SWAPO created a network of representations throughout the world. The Organisation received offers of scholarships which enabled young Namibians to study abroad in preparations for the independence of Namibia.
Dr Nujoma’s leadership faced formidable obstacles from the imperialists who supported Apartheid South Africa.
From time to time there were rays of hope for Namibia’s independence only for these hopes to be dashed by Apartheid South Africa and its supporters.
For example, in the middle of 1960s the Namibian people waited for a favourable ruling of the International Court of Justice at the Hague.Preciding Judge Spender of Australia dashed such hopes by casting a vote in favour of South Africa.
Apartheid South Africa’s intransigency frustrated many resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly which were in favour of Namibia’s independence.
It was against this background that in 1962, the SWAPO leadership decided to form the South West African Liberation Army (SWALA), the forerunner to the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN). Due to intensified political repression in the country and South African intransigency, SWAPO launched the armed liberation struggle on 26 August 1966.
As Commander-in-Chief of PLAN, President Nujoma had to mobilise resources for the liberation war. His tenacity earned him respect in the ranks of progressive circles globally. SWAPO received support from progressive forces throughout the world. The struggle was not a tea party.
There were tragedies such as the Cassinga massacre. SWAPO leaders were imprisoned, tortured and killed in cold blood.
However, SWAPO under the leadership of Dr Sam Nujoma persevered. On 19 March 1989, a cease-fire agreement was signed signalling the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 435 which was adopted in September 1978, but its implementation frustrated by President Reagan’s linkage policy which demanded the withdrawal of Cuban Forces from Angola.
After spending 29 years in exile, President Nujoma returned to Namibia on September 1989. He led SWAPO to victory during the United Nations supervised election of 1989.
He was sworn in as the Founding President of the Republic of Namibia on 21 March 1990 in the presence of the United Nations Secretary General Javier Peres de Cuellar and then South African State President Frederik de Klerk.
President Nujoma served as the President of Namibia from 1990 to 2005. He served for 47 years as the President of SWAPO. In appreciation of his commitment to the struggle for Namibia’s independence, his dedication to the cause of liberation and his perseverance in the face of formidable challenges of leading the Namibian people to freedom and independence, the Namibian Nation accorded him the title of Founding President of the Republic of Namibia and Father of the Namibian Nation.
The SWAPO Party honoured him with the titleof Leader of the Namibian Revolution.
President Nujoma received more than 32 honours and recognitions from countries and institutions and 15 honorary doctorates from universities.
Dr Sam Nujoma was born on 12 May 1929 at Etunda, Okahao Area in the Ongandjera Polity in Omusati Region.
He is the first born in the family of eleven children. He was born to the late Kuku Helvi Mpingana Kondombolo and late Tatekulu Daniel Utoni Nujoma. In 1946 he relocated to Walvis Bay. In 1949 he moved to Windhoek where he married Meme Theopoldine Kovambo Nujoma in March 1951. The couple had three boys and two daughters.
The Nation celebrates the ninetieth birth day of the life-long freedom fighter with high respect and appreciation. The Leader of the Namibian Revolution fulfilled his dream of a free and independent Namibia.
The Founder of the Namibian Nation accomplished the task of State Formation successfully. The Father of the Namibian Nation should be the glue that binds the nation together. He is the Heritage of the Namibian people. The Nation wishes him many more happy returns and good health!

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