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Editorial 1989 No 4

“When the history of a free Namibia is written one day, SWAPO will go down as having stood firm where others have wavered, that it sacrificed for the sacred cause of the liberation where others compromised.” — Sam Nujoma, President of SWAPO.

We dedicate this issue of Learn and Teach to the people of Namibia who stand today on the threshold of independence after more than 100 years of struggle against colonialism and oppression.

We honour the thousands of people who gave their lives in the noble cause of freedom. We salute those who have served long sentences in prison, those who spent many painful years in exile and all those who made sacrifices in many other ways so that their country could be free.

And we pay tribute to SWAPO who — for the past 29 years — have fought a bitter struggle that paved the way to liberation in Namibia. It was SWAPO, as Sam Nujoma has said, that sacrificed when others wavered.

We hope that this magazine does justice to the heroic struggle of the Namibian people.

With the election just two months away, now is the time for all freedom-loving people to come out in support of SWAPO and to highlight all that is good and positive about the party. There is indeed much to be positive about.

When we visited Namibia — although we were only there for a short time — we were very much impressed by the SWAPO comrades we met. We were impressed by their discipline. For the cadres, SWAPO’s code of conduct for the election campaign is a living document. It calls for discipline, integrity and committment. And that is what we saw.

We also saw a real desire for peace on the part of SWAPO comrades. They have paid a heavy price for their freedom and there is much to be bitter about — but we saw no sign of a wish for revenge.

Instead, we only heard SWAPO comrades talk of reconciliation and a future free from oppression. They talk of a future that belongs to all Namibians — including whites, and all those who fought against SWAPO in the past.

It was, however, also while we were in Namibia that some negative stories began to emerge about SWAPO — allegations that SWAPO detained some of its members, that some were ill-treated, and that some are missing.

As friends and supporters of SWAPO, let us just say that we are sure that SWAPO comrades themselves are aware of the weaknesses that may exist in their organisation — and that we are confident that SWAPO will attend to these problems in a disciplined and accountable manner.

We hasten to add that when the full history of the Namibian struggle is finally written, it will be KOEVOET and the SADF that will stand accused for atrocities against the Namibian people.

But now is the time to look to the future. We must stand, as always, in solidarity with SWAPO and the Namibian people. We must give them extra support until the scars of war are healed. We must commit ourselves fully to helping our brothers and sisters rebuild their country.

We must always remember that their struggle is our struggle. It will always be so. Finally, we wish to take this opportunity to wish SWAPO every success in the coming election.

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