The Gender Politics of the Namibian Liberation Struggle

  • Language: English
  • 250 pages
  • Illustrations, maps, index
  • Vol. 13
  • ISSN: 2234-9561
  • ISBN:
  • Print: 978-3-905758-26-9
  • PDF: 978-3-905758-50-4
Martha Akawa

The Gender Politics of the Namibian Liberation Struggle


Women’s contributions against apartheid under the auspices of the Namibian liberation movement SWAPO and their personal experiences in exile take center stage in this study. Male and female leadership structures in exile are analysed whilst the sexual politics in the refugee camps and the public imagery of female representation in SWAPO’s nationalism receive special attention. The party’s public pronouncements of women empowerment and gender equality are compared to the actual implementations of gender politics during and after the liberation struggle.

Martha Akawa obtained her PhD from the University of Basel (Switzerland) for the thesis which comprises this book. She is the Head of the Department of Geography, History and Environmental Studies at the University of Namibia in Windhoek.

Preface by Advocate Bience Gawanas
Researching gender politics
Methodology and notes on sources
Themes and debates
1. “There can be no national liberation without the full participation of women”
2. Idealised struggle? Public and Visual Representations of Women
3. Women and the SWAPO Refugee Camps
4. Sexual Politics in the Camps
5. Education and Training
6. “All has not been won. Not everything has been lost”: Women in post-independent Namibia

“It is my contention that unless we rewrite history from a woman’s perspective and by ourselves, we will not have a complete recollection of our past and be in a position to negotiate a space on the independence agenda. Martha Akawa has made us aware of this responsibility and asks of us what legacy we as women who fought in the liberation struggles will leave to future generations of women?”

Advocate Bience Gawanas, Windhoek

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