INTRODUCTION: South Africa and its main opponent over Namibia (South West Africa), the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) will meet at a United Nations conference table in Geneva on Wednesday (7 January) to try to reach an autonomy a settlement for the former German colony.
GV EXT PAN Old Colonial German building in Swakopmund, Namibia
GV & CU Various signs in German (3 shots)
GV Dutch Reformed Church with white family leaving (2 shots)
GV Luxury Hill suburb with castle-style white houses (4 shots)
GV Coloured suburb with Mercedes parked in drive-way (2 shots)
GV Volkswagen Beetle parked outside black shanty in Windhoek (2 shots)
GV Black children playing in playground (2 shots)
SV Delapidated slide on playground
CU ZOOM GV Sign on State-run black and coloured hospital
SV PAN Black family walking to hospital
GV White maternity hospital and sign (2 shots)
GV Whites playing on beach at Swakopmund (5 shots)
Blacks, coloureds and whites on beach promenade
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Background: INTRODUCTION: South Africa and its main opponent over Namibia (South West Africa), the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) will meet at a United Nations conference table in Geneva on Wednesday (7 January) to try to reach an autonomy a settlement for the former German colony. The Geneva talks are scheduled to last week and are aimed at producing a cease-fire in the 14-year-old guerrilla-war SWAPO has waged against South Africa.
SYNOPSIS: The old German colonial influence is still clearly visible. A large German population still lives in Namibia, but the Germans surrendered the territory to South Africa in World War One. Since World War Two, Pretoria and the United Nations have been in dispute over whether South Africa should be the legal administrator in Namibia.
South Africa introduced - but later repealed - apartheid laws. At the Dutch Reformed Church, services are still racially segregated. On the other hand, the Anglican Church has outraged Pretoria with its support for the black population.
Namibia's social divisions run deep. The country's 80,000 whites are divided into Afrikaans, German and English speaking groups. Between them they all but run the economy. The Anglo-American Corporation and the Rio Tinto Zinc mine Namibia's largest exports - diamonds and uranium. A step down the socio-economic ladder, Namibia's coloured population enjoys a relatively comfortable life-style, contrasting sharply with that of the blacks, who make up the majority of the population. But the blacks, too, are divided into 11 ethnic groups.
Among this ethnic fragmentation of Namibia's one million inhabitants, SWAPO has found much support. SWAPO was founded in 1960. 17 years later, the U.N. recognised it as the authentic representative of the Namibian people. This led to South African allegations of a U.N. bias in SWAPO's favour.
Among Namibia's remaining racial segregation laws - different hospitals for blacks and whites are one such remnant - SWAPO found its justification for a bloody guerrilla war, and at the same time earned the distrust of the whites. Most articulate in its criticism of SWAPO is the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), a party born of a multi-racial conference held in Windhoek 5 years ago. The DTA's policies lean towards Pretoria.
South Africa, SWAPO and the DTA are the main participants in the Geneva conference. Their task is to agree on an autonomy plan similar to the one worked out for Zimbabwe, and to lead Namibia to racial harmony. It's an ambitious task, but the general view of delegates is one of guarded optimism.