South Africa Struggles to Retain Power over Namibia
Upon the dissolution of the League of Nations in 1946, South Africa refused to accept United Nations authority to replace its mandate with a UN trusteeship. A black Marxist separatist group, the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO), formed in 1960 and began small-scale guerrilla attacks aimed at achieving independence. In 1966, the UN called for South Africa's withdrawal from the territory, and officially renamed it Namibia in 1968. South Africa refused to obey. Under a 1974 Security Council resolution, South Africa was required to begin the transfer of power or face UN action. Prime Minister Balthazar J. Vorster rejected UN supervision, claiming that his government was prepared to negotiate Namibian independence, but not with SWAPO, which the UN had recognized as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Namibian people.