South West Africa to Namibia 3
Barend F. van Zijl
Olimpiad Pulishers 2018
White Contenders forms part of a four-part series of books under the theme: ‘South West Africa to Namibia’. This particular volume, engages descriptively and analytically with white political parties and politics over the period pre-1948 to the advent of independence in March 1990. After a brief theoretical framing of the construct of a ‘political party’, the book traverses a historical and more contemporary terrain that goes back to the formation of white political parties in the country in 1915.
In outline, the historical background is sketched with commendable brevity, while at the same time the author focuses on the genesis, evolution, internal organization and chemistry of white political parties, politics, replete with a discussion of Afrikaans/German relations and their leadership. Well-grounded and informed case studies introduce the reader to the former National Party of South West Africa (NPSWA), the United South West Party (UNSWP), and their alliances with their white South African counterparts. The role of personalities and political turning points bring to life the split between the former National Party of South West Africa and Republican Party (RP) against the wider canvas of political changes inside South Africa and international attempts to structure the independence of Namibia; attempts within which the United Nations and the wider International Community, amongst others, were to play a formative role.
The author writes with commendable insight and considerable knowledge on political party organization, replete with a wide-ranging discussion of issues germane to political parties, such as membership, nomination processes, party resolutions and the very fabric of party structures and operations. The book culminates in a comparative assessment of the two dominant white political parties and their relations to other interest organizations and is accompanied by a comprehensive bibliography that could point any researcher into avenues for further research. Since the study of Namibian political parties is relatively underdeveloped, this study makes a welcome and valuable contribution to this field of inquiry. The author has produced a work of insight and substance on the topic.