Nujoma, Samuel Shafiishuna
President of Namibia
Sam Nujoma was a political organizer in colonial NAMIBIA (then known as South West Africa), who became the country's first president. As a young man, Nujoma worked for the railway but was fired from his job for attempting to organize a union. In 1958 he founded and became president of the Ovamboland People's Organization. His goal was to end an arrangement of the League of Nations that placed Namibia under the control of South Africa. Forced to flee the country in 1960 because of his political activities, he formed the South West African Peoples Organization (SWAPO).
Nujoma returned to Namibia but was deported. He then established SWAPO headquarters in TANZANIA. Under his leadership, SWAPO waged an armed struggle against South African rule. After nearly 30 years of fighting, his country won its freedom and took the name Namibia. In 1990, Nujoma was elected president of Namibia and was reelected again in 1994 and 1998. World leaders have praised Nujoma for his steady rule and commitment to democracy. (See also Colonialism in Africa, Independence Movements.)