Norway and National Liberation in Southern Africa

Norway and National Liberation in Southern Africa

Norway and National Liberation in Southern Africa

Norway and National Liberation in Southern Africa


This book documents and analyses the involvement of Norway in the liberation struggle in Southern Africa. Apart from focussing on the formulation of official policies and the extensive cooperation with the liberation movements in the field of humanitarian assistance, mainly based on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs records, the study highlights the popular involvement and commitment to the struggle. Separate chapters are concerned with the churches, trade unions and solidarity movements, such as the Norwegian Council for Southern Africa and the Namibia Committee. The book also includes a case study on the battle for sanctions.The Study forms part of the Nordic Africa Institute's research and documentation project -National Liberation in Southern Africa: The Role of the Nordic Countries-.


Tore Linné Eriksen

Although the period from 1960 to 1975 only covers fifteen years, it is a period which is marked by great changes in the Norwegian political attitude towards Southern Africa. in the course of these years the Norwegian antiapartheid movement emerged and saw to it that Southern Africa had its place on the political agenda. It is also in this period that the liberation movements made their first bonds with the Norwegian solidarity organisations and the official authorities in Norway (in that order). the result of this was that in the early 1970s the more sporadic forms of aid extended to refugees and “victims of apartheid” developed into a regular and organised form of support and co-operation. Even though in financial terms the amount of the aid given in this period should not be exaggerated, and although the support given to the liberation movements in Namibia and South Africa in the main belong to the period after 1975, there is no other Western country—apart from Sweden—which had such close relations to the struggle for liberation in Southern Africa. However, in other fields such as the question of economic sanctions, a long period of time was yet to pass before the calls of the liberation movements were complied with. and even then, as we shall see in chapter 5, the sanctions law adopted in 1987 had its loopholes.

The aim of this chapter is to give a sketch of the main features both of the Norwegian official policy and that of the development in the general climate of opinion in Norway. Within the scope of a limited number of pages there will, of course, be many important aspects, actors and nuances which will have to be omitted. Instead of including a little about all sides of

Although the author of this chapter is a historian and therefore attempts to adhere to the methodological principles laid down by his profession, it should also be stated—as a matter of transparency—that he has since the middle of the 1960s been closely involved with the Norwegian Council for Southern Africa and other solidarity organisations supporting the liberation struggle.

See chapters 2 and 3.

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