The territory now known as the Caprivi was originally known as Linyanti
until the 19th Century. During David Livingstone's transcontinental
trips which brought him to Southern Africa during 1853-6 Caprivi was still known as Linyanti under the Barosteland protectorate. The Germans had plans during the scramble for Africa to find a conduit or passage between German South West Africa and German East Africa known then as Tanganyika. It was during this period that a German called Captain Von Caprivi named the territory called Linyanti after himself. With the political fever sweeping across Southern Africa in the 1900s Caprivian people were not left behind in the liberation struggle for their mother land. It was during the wave of the liberation struggle in No them and Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, South West Africa and Angola that Caprivians joined the wind of change for the liberation of Caprivi from apartheid South Africa. Caprivians then went under ground and started organising and later formed a political party known as the Caprivi African National Union (CANU) under the leadership of the late Brendan Simbwaye as its president and Mishake Muyongo as its vice president. The apartheid regime later discovered these under ground political activities to which harsh action was taken forcing the leadership to flee. The Eastern Caprivi Zipfel into Zambia. From 1940 to 1981, while the territory was administered by South Africa from Pretoria, Caprivians knew nothing and had no political connections with South West Africa. While in Zambia CANU and SWAPO leadership met and later agreed on a MERGER.

After the MERGER CANU's Brendan Simbwaye became the vice president of the
MEW organization. After Simbwaye’s arrest arid permanent disappearance
from the political scene, Mishake Muyongo became the NEW organisation's vice president. " The Union between CANU and SWAPO was never perfect."
........ from the book: "The Devils are among us." by D.Herstein and J. Evenson Page 59.


As far as SWAPO was concerned, Caprivi was just a stepping stone on the tortuous route from Tanzania to vamboland. The then President of Zambia . Kenneth Kaunda Urged CANU and SWAPO to merge since they were fighting one common enemy- the apartheid regime; and since Angola was still under Portuguese colony, Caprivi was the only and only route for SWAPO to Ovamboland. As stated above that the MERGER was never perfect, Caprivi's importance for SWAPO WANED with Angolan independence. (H. Herbstein Page 59.) The independence of Angola provided SWAPO noy only with logistical support but with a wide range of entry routes into South West Africa. As a further weakness of the MERGER, in 1980 SWAPO expelled Mishake Muyongo for reviving CANU. ( D. Herbstein and J Evenson P 59. ) The MERGER between SWAPO and CANU facilitated the first stage of the passage of SWAPO organisers enroute to Ovamboland with the aim of preparing for military activities which resulted in the establishment of a guerrilla training camp at Ongulumbashe. While these developments were taking place externally, at home the Eastern Caprivi Zipfel was still administered from Pretoria. The MERGER therefore served as the first ever political contact with the people of South West Africa through the SWAPO leadership.


Given the above scenario the people of Caprivi feel that the SWAPO Government has to a great degree sidelined their interests as per MERGER. Since the Caprivians were signatory to the MERGER through the CANU leadership,they have the right to determine their own future as per MERGER. This should not be construed as treason but rather as a right to self determination as per MERGER.
" Knowing how the Caprivi was in the first instance incorporated into South West Africa, breaking away is definitely a choice they must be given as an alternative to the SWAPO misrule." by Emil Appolus, Windhoeh Observer 22 August 1998.
The SWAPO Government should not therefore resort to political harassment and intimidation i.e. such as treason charges, when the Caprivians are exercising their right as per merger. The writer of this article is aware of sinister plans underway to eliminate some of their leaders who were co-signatories to the MERGER with the aim of robbing the Caprivians of this vital information and leadership.
Reviewing the present and previous policy of fear within the membership of SWAPO in exile and inside after independence, Caprivian feared for their lives to talk about this subject, while the SWAPO leadership on the other hand managed to nurse the MERGER issue thus making Caprivi, a kept secret.


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