Namibia: Political Parties Material

Scope and Content

Constitutions, manifestos, leaflets, pamphlets, press statements, letters, programmes, conference reports, posters, badges, rosettes and miscellaneous election materials from 1965 onwards, issued by the Congress of Democrats, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (Namibia), the Directorate of Elections (Namibia), the Independence Celebration Committee (Namibia), the Namibian National Democratic Party, the National Patriotic Front of Namibia, the South West Africa National Union, SWAPO, the SWAPO-Democrats and the United Democratic Front of Namibia.

Administrative / Biographical History

Namibia (South West Africa) was administered by South Africa under a League of Nations mandate from 1920 to 1946, but as the apartheid regime consolidated itself so the idea of the mandate as something to be eventually relinquished faded, with South Africa refusing to convert the mandate into a UN trusteeship arrangement. The history of Namibia until 1990 was therefore characterised by increasing international disapproval of South African occupation (as shown by the withdrawal of the mandate in 1966 and the International Court of Justice ruling in 1971 that the South African presence was illegal), attempts by the Pretoria regime to give this occupation some legitimacy and the growth of organisations opposed to it. The largest of these were the South West Africa National Union (SWANU) and the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO). The recognition of the latter by the UN in 1976 as the sole representative of the will of the Namibian people demonstrated how international events affected organisations resisting the occupation as well as those enforcing it. After the 1978 elections the South-African backed Democratic Turnhalle Alliance formed the territory's government in defiance of UN Resolution 435 and was boycotted by SWAPO among others. Bound as ever to political developments in its more powerful neighbour, Namibia achieved its independence in 1990 following a transitional period overseen by the UN, and has been governed by SWAPO ever since.


Alphabetically by group, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT).

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Separated Material

See also Namibia: Pressure Groups Material (PG.SX), as well as Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-61, with special emphasis being placed then, as now, on "primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos." (ICS, Twelfth Annual Report 1960-1961). Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Geographical Names