UNAM Archives

Collection PA 1 - Katjavivi collection

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Identity area

Reference code

PA 1


Katjavivi collection


  • 1965 - 1988 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

ExtentThe collection consists of 81 boxes or 20 cubic feet of paper documents.

Context area

Name of creator

(1941 -)

Biographical history

Professor Peter Katjavivi was born on 12 May 1941 in Okahandja, Namibia. He travelled into exile in 1966 and was part of the Dar es Salaam exiles that helped transform SWAPO into an international force in the struggle for the liberation of Namibia. Until 1979 he was a fulltime SWAPO activist running the London office and holding the movement’s Information and Publicity post. From the 1980s, he pursued his academic career which saw him gaining a Masters degree in 1980 from the University of Warwick, UK and a Doctor of Philosophy in1986 from St Anthony’s College, University of Oxford. In 1989, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly and served as National Assembly member until 1991. In 1992 he was named the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of Namibia, a post he held for eleven years. He was appointed as Professor in History by the UNAM Academic Council Staff Appointments Committee in 1994. He was given a diplomatic posting in 2003. Peter Katjavivi has also been very active as SWAPO’s documenter of the liberation struggle. His book, ‘A History of Resistance in Namibia’ (James Currey, 1988) is still widely referred to in academic works on recent Namibian history. Currently, he is the Director-General of the National Planning Commission.


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Donated by Prof. Katjavivi in 1999.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection, covering the period 1965 to 1988 (but also holding some documents from as far back as 1915) consists mainly of SWAPO documents on activities in and outside Namibia during the time for the struggle for the liberation of Namibia (See summary of classes below). Among other things, the collection richly covers background information on Namibia, and the history of the struggle, including the general struggle for liberation in the southern African region. The collection also gives insight to the diverse ethnic groups in Namibia and the varying cultural differences which also influenced the way the struggle was carried out. The issues of the education system in Namibia, and the role of women in the struggle are also covered in this collection. The role of the church during the war is also widely covered, as well as conflicts within the SWAPO party. The impact of Germany occupation is widely covered. The collection also holds a lot of SWAPO publicity and campaign material and press statements during the war and at the time of transition to independence. The role of the United Nations in Namibia’s liberation is also widely covered. The collection also holds a lot of SWAPO reports, and those of commissions of inquiry as well as other reports from other bodies and individuals on Namibia. Cuttings from various newspapers on events in Namibia or relating to Namibia especially during the 1970s and 1980s form a significant part of this collection. The collection also contains various other publications some by SWAPO but others by other organizations reporting on the struggle for the liberation of Namibia. Theses relating to Namibia are also part of the collection. The collection consists of 81 boxes or 20 cubic feet of documents.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Most of the documents in this collection were filed according to subjects, and an attempt has been made during the formulation of this catalogue to try to classify them. Also, the classes given reflect the majority of items contained in a single file, but does not mean that the file contains only that type of class. For instance, a file with reports would contain mostly reports but also a few other documents which are not reports, but may be related to the subject of the file. In cases where a file contains other important documents which are not covered in the general description, the archivist would mention these specifically where the description says ‘includes also’. Note, however, that this does not cover everything in the file except those which the archivist deemed to require special mention because of their importance. However, there is also a substantive amount of files in this collection that have been classified as miscellaneous as they could not fit in any of the classes given. Thus, most of the files classified as ‘miscellaneous’ contain a mixture of documents with none dominating to warrant a single classification. This is to be expected from a collection which was more of an individual/private collection and not an official collection from a formal administrative office where one would expect to find a formal filing system.

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Unrestricted access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Can duplicate a maximum of a third of a file. The material duplicated may not be published without permission of copyright owner.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Finding aid available on digital objects here.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used

Fonds and series level descriptions based on Rules for Archival Description (Fonds)


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion


  • English



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