South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO) is founded to oppose South African rule



Tuesday, 19 April 1960

The South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) was founded in Windhoek, South West Africa (presently Namibia) on 19 April 1960 by Herman Toivo Ya Toivo. The party was originally formed to advocated immediate Namibian independence from South Africa and became the country's leading party following independence in 1990.

SWAPO, led by one of its co-founders Sam Nujoma, began attacking the South African regime. It was essentially a military organisation, using guerrilla tactics to fight the South African forces. In 1966 SWAPO was recognised by the United Nations as the legitimate government of Namibia. SWAPO won the first independent election in 1989 and Sam Nujoma became the first president of Namibia.

• Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.
•  Encyclopedia Britannica, (2013), 'South West Africa People's Organization', from Encyclopedia Britannica, 04 April [online], Available at [Accessed: 22 May 2014]

Last updated : 22-May-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011