Full Text

SWAPO (South West African People's Organization)

Tilman Dedering

Subject History » Political History
Social History » Labor History

Place Africa » Southern Africa

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics apartheid, labor movements, migration, nationalism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01427.x


The South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) was formed in the 1950s in contemporary Namibia among a group of about 200 Ovambo workers who had maneuvered their way through the bureaucratic maze of the migrant labor system to reach Cape Town where they faced the constant danger of falling foul of the repressive South African pass laws. Under the leadership of Andimba Toivo ya Toivo , this group established connections with white and black members of left and liberal South African opposition groups, such as the African National Congress , the Communist Party , the Liberal Party, the Congress of Democrats, and the South African Coloured People's Organization. In 1957 the South African government removed Toivo to Ovamboland, where he continued campaigning for political independence and petitioning the United Nations. The Ovambo People's Organization (OPO) emerged from this set of connections between Namibian and South African activists and against the background of the increasing internationalization of anti-colonial resistance in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1960 it was transformed into SWAPO. Unlike other emerging leaders of the independence movement, such as Sam Nujoma , Toivo did not go into exile. In 1966 the apartheid government sentenced Toivo to 20 years in prison. He was released in 1984 and joined SWAPO in exile, which in the meantime had been recognized as the sole ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top