Walvis marks 20 years of reintegration

Home Erongo Walvis marks 20 years of reintegration

WALVIS BAY – If the harbour town of Walvis Bay had not been returned by the then apartheid South Africa to Namibia serious repercussions could have followed, while the use of Lüderitz would also have been compromised.  

Therefore, Namibians should be thankful to those who were instrumental in negotiating the return of Walvis Bay, which has now blossomed into one of the major economic and employment hubs of the country.

This is according to the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, Jerry Ekandjo, who was addressing various  government officials and residents of Walvis Bay that turned out in large numbers to attend the town’s 20th anniversary celebrations of reintegration into Namibia, held at the Kuisebmond Stadium on Saturday.

Ekandjo said the former president of Namibia Dr Sam Nujoma, the former foreign affairs minister Dr Theo-Ben Guirab, who was the main negotiator with South Africa during the reintegration talks , the former chief executive officer of the joint administration of  Walvis Bay with South Africa, Nangolo Mbumba, the former trade minister Ben Amadhila and Judge President Petrus Damaseb all played their part during the negotiations for Walvis Bay’s reintegration, which took place in 1994.

“Our fallen leaders, Nathaniel Maxuilili and Getrude Kandanga also played an integral part in the return of Walvis Bay.  They are our  heroes and heroines who deserve a  place in our history,” Ekandjo said.

“They laid the foundation during in 1989 through an unprecedented act of patriotism and crafted one of the most acclaimed national constitutions in the world.  Their unwavering determination  today guarantees our people the most fundamental law and basic freedom including the right to equality, freedom of  expression and association,” he said.

Ekandjo said considering the foundation on which Namibia was established it is in the interest of all Namibians to make meaningful contributions toward global peace and security.

According to  Ekandjo, Walvis Bay was the centre of a dispute and its annexure as a town of the territory of South Africa by the apartheid regime was used as a bargaining chip. Walvis Bay was under martial law as part of South Africa.

Following the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, the League of Nations assigned South Africa mandatory powers over South West Africa. In 1922 the town was placed under the administration of the South West African Administration for more than 50 years.

On August 31 1977, the territory’s administration was once again transferred to the Cape Province in an apparent attempt to avoid losing Walvis Bay to a Swapo government.

The United Nations strongly condemned the move and its Resolution 435 of July 1978 called for the reintegration of Walvis Bay into Namibia.

Even when Namibia became independent on March 21 1990, South Africa refused to relinquish control over the area.

Only after increased international and local pressure, Walvis Bay and a string of off-shore islands were finally reintegrated into Namibia at midnight on February 28 1994.

“The Swapo government remained strong and united and never compromised on Namibia relinquishing Walvis Bay as it was part of the country.  Today Walvis Bay plays a critical role in national development and economic growth,” Ekandjo said.

Former joint administrator and current Swapo Party Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba, speaking at the celebrations, said that those who are under the impression that the Swapo government is not united are fooling themselves.  “We are united, only a united country could achieve what we have achieved to build up the country.  Therefore, as Namibians our business should be to unite all, provide education, health and basic necessities to our people. We should be grateful for Walvis Bay’s ‘independence’ and should thank the founding father as without his character and determination we wouldn’t have achieved independence,” Mbumba said.

He added: “Also do not fool yourselves about there being no division in the Swapo Party. We work together, plan together and we are going to the elections together,” said Mbumba.


By Eveline de  Klerk