The youthful crew of the motor launch "Antelope" have been working hard this month preparing the boat at Gosport in Hampshire, U.
The youthful crew of the motor launch "Antelope" have been working hard this month preparing the boat at Gosport in Hampshire, U.K., for a voyage to South West Africa -- known as Namibia -- which is due to begin next month. The Antelope will be carrying a rather unusual cargo -- books.
The trip has been organised by an organisation called Operating Namibia, which claims that the books are desperately needed by Namibians. But many of the books have been banned by the South African Government, which still continues to administer the territory.
The United Nations General Assembly and U.N. Security Council, as well as the International Court of Justice, have demanded that South Africa should unconditionally withdraw from Namibia -- a land rich in minerals which it has occupied for more than 50 years.
It is hoped that the South African authorities will not interfere with the voyage of the Antelope, and the aim of the international crew -- which is made up of young people from Holland, New Zealand and Britain -- is to deliver the books openly into the hands of the Namibians. A library is already being set up to receive them.
Antelope's journey to Namibia will take about two months. It will stop at various European and African ports -- picking up additional ???oks. Progress reports will be transmitted regularly from the boat by short-wave radio. Support groups are ready to respond with immediate action of South Africa tries to stop the boat reaching Namibia. Although the crew is committed to non-violence, they are prepared to make continued efforts to get into the country with their cargo.
The organisation claims that the project combines practical aid with direct action. The organisers say the books are a valuable and unpatronising tool for Namibians, who have been deprived by the South Africans of free access to knowledge of economics, politics, agriculture and their own history.
Supporters of Operation Namibia include the Americ an Friends Service Committee, the A.J. Muste Foundation, the Movement for a New Society (USA), and the United Nations Commissioner for Namibia, Mr. Sean McBride, in his personal capacity.