Namibia's Liberation Struggle: The Two-Edged Sword

Namibia's Liberation Struggle: The Two-Edged Sword

Namibia's Liberation Struggle: The Two-Edged Sword

Namibia's Liberation Struggle: The Two-Edged Sword

Excerpt

This book is the product of a research project conceived in August 1989 during Namibia's transition to independence. It was clear then that the fact that Namibians had been forced to fight a 23-year war in order to achieve their independence had marked profoundly both the country's main liberation movement, the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO), and the emerging Namibian polity as a whole. It seemed important, while memories of the struggle were still fresh, to try to register what had been involved in this crucially formative experience, especially in relation to its impact on post-independent development. Accordingly, this book is not a history of Namibia's independence struggle in all its many facets. It is, rather, a study -- and a preliminary one at that -- of the way the war affected both the liberation movement itself and the political culture bequeathed to the country at independence.

The project drew together a group of researchers which included, besides the authors in this volume, Somadoda Fikeni of Queen's University and the University of the Transkei. We were also fortunate in being able to enlist the involvement of a group of Namibian law students, under the direction of Andrew Corbett at the Legal Assistance Centre in Windhoek. We sought, in addition, to find colleagues who could contribute detailed studies of the roles of such actors in civil society as women and the labour movement, but without success (the major studies of the labour movement by Pekka Peltola of the University of Helsinki and Gretchen Bauer of the University of Wisconsin were unfortunately still in progress when this project had to be finalized). In seeking to examine the changing role of the state in war and peace, it would have been as relevant to look at the military or the civil service as at policing (studied in Chapter 7). These important subjects are, however, touched upon in the chapters which follow (notably, aspects of the politics of both women and workers in Chapters 3 to 5).

Funding was provided by a research grant from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, for which we are much indebted. We are also grateful for financial support from Atkinson College, York University, and Queen's University, Kingston. In addition . . .

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