Nambia’s Stolen Wealth

My solidarity work with southern Africa began when I was a graduate student in New York. Students at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University started a Rhodesia Newsletter in 1965. The white-minority government in Southern Rhodesia had declared itself unilaterally independent from Great Britain to prevent genuine independence and majority rule. The U.S. media hardly covered this important story, prompting us to act. As part of my commitment to this work, I decided to go and work in the region. For two years, 1966 and ’67, I lived in what was then the Northern Transvaal of South Africa.

The Rhodesia Newsletter evolved into Southern Africa Magazine and I continued to be a member of the collective that published it. In 1980, I began working for the American Committee on Africa/ The Africa Fund.

Namibia’s Stolen Wealth, 1982, places South Africa’s occupation and North American investment in the context of the country’s colonial history. The pamphlet includes profiles of foreign corporations extracting Namibia’s mineral wealth before the country gained independence. Like all Africa Fund publications, this was a collaborative effort between Jim Cason who did the corporate research, Richard Knight who supervised production, and me. Namibia’s Stolen Wealth is available at the African Activist Archive of Michigan State University.

The American Committee on Africa/The Africa Fund, supported the non-military endeavors of liberation movements, including the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa and Namibia’s movement SWAPO. My 1984 trip to ANC projects in and around Lusaka, Zambia, and to SWAPO’s educational camp Nyango in western Zambia, brought me up to date on their engagements in these places. Using what I had learned, ACOA mobilized support for the movements in the U.S., including work to change U.S. policy toward the region. My report from that trip, available here as a pdf, is typical of the work that we were doing.