Namibia under South African Government

League of Nations makes Namibia mandatory territory of the South African Union

In 1920, the League of Nations made Namibia mandatory territory of the South African Union. The mandate came with some conditions: South Africa was not allowed to erect military bases in the country or to recruit natives into military service. They also were bound to support the economic and social development of the country.

However, South Africa seamlessly continued the German habits and considered Namibia a colony. The black population was repelled further into reservations. There, they received no help at all to develop or prosper. The Black population’s right to own cattle was limited, their access to pastures was made difficult. White settlers from the Cape were coaxed to move there with economic enticements and they came and claimed huge areas of it.

Resistance formed first in the south of Namibia. In 1922, the South Africans defeated an insurgence of the Bondelwarts who had been “resettled” in a waterless reservation and were about to starve to death. More than a hundred people died in the insurgence, among them women and children.

In 1924, the Rehoboter Baster reclaimed the fairly extensive autonomy they had had under the Germans. 600 people were taken into custody, the autonomous government of Rehoboth was removed.

By 1926 the white population had almost doubled.

In 1933, about 10 000 Germans lived in Namibia. At the beginning of World War II, 12% of the German population of South Africa were taken in custody. South Africa was an Ally of Britain in this war, as well.

South Africa calls for an incorporation of Namibia as fifth province

In 1946, South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts called for an incorporation of Namibia as the fifth South African province. The UN rejected this demand and pointed out that South Africa only held Namibia in trust. In response, South Africa denied to acknowledge the UN as the rightful successor of the League of Nations, which had mandated South Africa, the administration of Namibia in 1920. Even a sentence of the International Court of Justice did not change South Africa’s opinion on this subject.

In 1951, South Africa enforced its politics of racial discrimination by expanding South African Apartheid laws to Namibia.

Resistance against South Africa