About Friends of Namibia Society (UK)
Friends of Namibia Society, diaspora in UK Friends of Namibia Society (UK) Background: Trade union blockades of uranium shipments at Liverpool, collections outside supermarkets across UK for medical kits and toiletries for SWAPO centres in Angola and Zambia, pickets, conferences, books, and relentless UN campaigns and advocacy were all remembered in 2012 when supporters of Namibia celebrated achievements of over 50 years of UK solidarity with the struggles of the Namibian people. Key UK figures from the early days included Rev Michael Scott, who visited regularly and campaigned tirelessly to put Namibia and its people?s rights on the agenda at the United Nations, and Randolph Vigne, who fled to UK from South Africa. Vigne later worked with SWAPO?s then representative, the Hon Peter Katjavivi, in 1969 to set up Friends of Namibia, which helped SWAPO and other organizations grow international support for Namibia?s independence. In 1974 the friends evolved into the Namibia Support Committee, more geared to widen and strengthen support for Namibia?s growing war and international lobbying. NSC ran a campaign to block British and international illegal trade in Namibian minerals, including uranium. The NSC Health Collective and the Namibian Women?s Solidarity Campaign supplied tens of thousands of pounds worth of medical supplies, literacy packs and other aid to SWAPO Health and Welfare Centres in Angola and Zambia and other SWAPO organizations. The NSC sought to counter South African, US and UK propaganda and to provide research and other support to media publicizing SWAPO?s story. NSC raised the Namibian cause and brought SWAPO speakers to UK Foreign Secretaries, parliamentarians, trades unions, political party conferences, women?s groups, pickets and peace camps. The NSC wound up in 1993, after independence. Vigne said: ?We never expected any thanks. The best thanks was when we got a request to form the new Friends of Namibia?. The current Friends of Namibia started in 1997. It draws together UK groups, such as a civic link between Chesterfield and Tsumeb, a school link with the ACS International School in Surrey, a diocesan link with Manchester and the Anglican Diocese of Namibia, charities including the Catherine Bullen Foundation and Sustainable African Framework for Education for prisoner education, together with researchers, writers and photographers. ?I hope that it may long continue,? said Vigne.
Share this page