Information in the national liberation struggle: modelling the case of Namibia (1966‐1990)

Information in the national liberation struggle: modelling the case of Namibia (1966‐1990) Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the Namibian liberation struggle, 1966‐1990, as an information war rather than a military conflict, so as to explore the dimensions of information activity under conditions of conflict. This builds on the idea, expressed by participants in earlier struggles of this kind, that the contest for “hearts and minds” is more significant than the armed confrontation that accompanies it. Design/methodology/approach – A model that incorporates information and communication activity by both contestants, at their command centres, in the field and in the media, was elaborated in a previous paper using data from a number of conflicts, mainly in Southern and Central Africa. The present paper focuses on the Namibian struggle so as to examine the capacity of the model to assist in explaining the outcomes of the conflict. Using published sources, printed archive material and oral testimony, the range of information inputs, the incidence of suppression of information and information outputs are set out in the pattern provided by the model. This shows how both sides used covert intelligence gathering, secret communication, propaganda and disinformation accompanied by censorship and the suppression of critical comment by force to further their political/military aims. Findings – Whilst South Africa and its Namibian military structures were generally successful in armed confrontation with the forces of the chief liberation organisation (SWAPO), they were not able to bring the conflict to a successful military conclusion. This was because SWAPO's attention to the diplomatic war, based on strong and consistent information flows, convinced the United Nations and other allies to press for a negotiated solution. Once this was agreed, the success of the liberation movement's news and education campaigns in attaching the people to the cause of liberation was revealed by SWAPO's overwhelming success in free elections in 1989. Originality/value – It is important to establish that the war in Namibia was much more a clash of information‐related activities directed at hearts and minds than it was of guns and bombs. When this is demonstrated, we can perhaps learn from the fact that the contestant most effectively committed to waging war by peaceful means was victorious. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Documentation Emerald Publishing

Information in the national liberation struggle: modelling the case of Namibia (1966‐1990)

Loading next page...
 
/lp/emerald-publishing/information-in-the-national-liberation-struggle-modelling-the-case-of-0QHFCY0fjg
Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0022-0418
DOI
10.1108/00220410510632068
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the Namibian liberation struggle, 1966‐1990, as an information war rather than a military conflict, so as to explore the dimensions of information activity under conditions of conflict. This builds on the idea, expressed by participants in earlier struggles of this kind, that the contest for “hearts and minds” is more significant than the armed confrontation that accompanies it. Design/methodology/approach – A model that incorporates information and communication activity by both contestants, at their command centres, in the field and in the media, was elaborated in a previous paper using data from a number of conflicts, mainly in Southern and Central Africa. The present paper focuses on the Namibian struggle so as to examine the capacity of the model to assist in explaining the outcomes of the conflict. Using published sources, printed archive material and oral testimony, the range of information inputs, the incidence of suppression of information and information outputs are set out in the pattern provided by the model. This shows how both sides used covert intelligence gathering, secret communication, propaganda and disinformation accompanied by censorship and the suppression of critical comment by force to further their political/military aims. Findings – Whilst South Africa and its Namibian military structures were generally successful in armed confrontation with the forces of the chief liberation organisation (SWAPO), they were not able to bring the conflict to a successful military conclusion. This was because SWAPO's attention to the diplomatic war, based on strong and consistent information flows, convinced the United Nations and other allies to press for a negotiated solution. Once this was agreed, the success of the liberation movement's news and education campaigns in attaching the people to the cause of liberation was revealed by SWAPO's overwhelming success in free elections in 1989. Originality/value – It is important to establish that the war in Namibia was much more a clash of information‐related activities directed at hearts and minds than it was of guns and bombs. When this is demonstrated, we can perhaps learn from the fact that the contestant most effectively committed to waging war by peaceful means was victorious.

Journal

Journal of DocumentationEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 1, 2005

Keywords: Information control; Information strategy; Propaganda; Warfare; Namibia

References

  • In Conflict
    Feinstein, A.
  • Information in the national liberation struggle: developing a model
    Sturges, P.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off