The Gymnasium Conference

Panel that was authorized by the South African government, worked on the concept of a constitution

As early as 1975, in the so-called Gymnasium Conference, a panel that was authorized by the South African government, worked on the concept of a constitution. This group under the leadership of Dirk Mudge consisted of representatives of the twelve ethnic groups. Political parties like SWAPO were not admitted. The result of this conference was a concept of a constitution that was finished in 1977. December 31st 1978 was named as the date for independence. In resolution 435, the United Nations declared that South Africa was to withdraw its troops from Namibia and free elections had to take place under UN supervision. South Africa accepted the resolution at first, but suddenly withdrew it again. SWAPO boycotted the elections, which were held in December 1978. The winner was the Democratic Gymnasium Alliance (DGA) under Dirk Mudge. The United Nations did not accept these elections. There were many reports of election fraud, intimidation and bribery.

In 1981, the UN tried again to achieve independence for Namibia. Participants in the negotiations were SWAPO, the South African Government and a contact group consisting of the USA, Canada,, England, France and Germany. Negotiations failed since South Africa even denied signing a declaration of intent.

South Africa and the USA took the action of Cuban troops in Angola as an opportunity to make the withdrawal of Cuba from Angola a condition for the withdrawal of South Africa from Namibia. This way, the US wanted to put an end to the spreading of Communism in Africa. France was very upset about this move of the Americans and cancelled its membership in the contact group.

South African Army advances on Angolan territory

Beginning in 1981, the South African Army advanced on Angolan territory. In 1983, South Africa, according to their own account, had gone 200 km into Angola. The south of the country was occupied. The Unites States’ linkage politics prevented South Africa from being stopped. However, PLAN fighters still kept foraying Namibia.

A ceasefire was reached in Angola in 1984. Angola obliged itself not to let SWAPO or Cuban troops enter Namibia. By April 1985, South Africa had fully withdrawn from Angola.

The National Assembly, which had been elected in 1983, was closed after chairman Dirk Smudge had receded. A South African general administrator once again governed Namibia. In 1985, South Africa installed a new government, which was rejected by the contact group as well as the UN.

The Independece