TODAY IN HISTORY: Namibia gains independence from South Africa

By Drum Digital
22 December 2014

South Africa, Cuba and Angola sign formal peace agreement, allowing Namibian independence from South Africa.

The agreement was the culmination of months of intense diplomatic efforts brokered by the United States. South African President P.W. Botha proclaimed, "A new era has begun.... We want to be accepted by our African brothers. We need each other."

During the 1960s, as the European powers granted independence to their colonies and trust territories in Africa, pressure mounted on South Africa to do the same in Namibia.  South Africa steadfastly refused despite a 1966 United Nations resolution that terminated South Africa's mandate over the former German colony. Decades of "bush war" followed between South African Defense Forces and SWAPO guerrillas.

Finally, on December 22, 1988, South Africa signed the agreement linking its withdrawal from the territory to an end to Soviet and Cuban involvement in the long civil war in neighboring Angola.  The agreement paved the way for formal Namibian independence in 1990.


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