Message to the Grass Roots: Celebrating Namibia’s Independence

An episode of Message to the Grass Roots, a cable access talk show produced & hosted by Michael Zinzun from 1988-1998 at Pasadena Community Access Corporation, which is now Pasadena Media.

00:56Copy video clip URL Slate

01:07Copy video clip URL Title

01:48Copy video clip URL Open to the set where guest host Nancy Buchanan introduces the program’s co-host Sipho Nyawo, secretary general to the South African International Student’s Congress, along with guests from the LA 435 Committee Mabie Settlage and James Simmons.

02:20Copy video clip URL Settlage introduces the LA 435 Committee and their anti-apartheid partners.

03:56Copy video clip URL Simmons discusses Namibia’s history of colonization and transition to independence, and explains the symbolic meaning of the new Namibian national flag. Simmons also talks about the United State’s involvement in the Angolan Civil War, funding the anti-communist National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which effectively impeded Namibia’s own independence.

09:58Copy video clip URL Settlage describes Namibian geography, terrain, and climate. March 21, 1990, the day of the show’s airing, marks the day Namibia gained independence.

12:03Copy video clip URL Buchanan introduces a video segment of a speech by Namibia’s first president Sam Nujoma, founder and leader of SWAPO, the South West African People’s Organisation. Footage of Namibia’s celebration of independence. History of SWAPO’s formation and movement for independence as it gained recognition from the international community. Germany and South Africa’s history of colonization, exploitation, and oppression of Namibia’s indigenous population.

13:51Copy video clip URL Footage from the demobilization of SWAPO’s army and speech by Nujoma on the cease-fire agreement under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 435.

15:01Copy video clip URL Rev. Allan Boesak speaks on Namibian independence at a public rally in California.

15:48Copy video clip URL SWAPO Delegate Dr. Peter Katjavivi speaks about Namibia’s struggle for independence.

16:13Copy video clip URL Return to the set. Nyawo invites Settlage to talk about Namibia’s new election process and her visit to Namibia. Settlage shows the SWAPO Election Manifesto, which documents the organization’s election platform. Settlage describes the political organizing she observed by the SWAPO organization and the process of introducing and teaching Namibia’s citizens how to engage in the election process and how to vote.

19:28Copy video clip URL Nyawo asks Simmons about the unique situation of Namibia’s various political factions coming together for the first time in order to draw the country’s first constitution. Simmons describes the process of gathering together Namibia’s first constitutional assembly.

22:32Copy video clip URL Nyawo asks Settlage about Namibia’s process of social reconciliation. Settlage describes her observations of SWAPO’s leadership in promoting the means of political reconciliation. Simmons points out the varying portrayals of SWAPO’s movement.

27:06Copy video clip URL Second video segment from Buchanan’s video footage of Namibia. Voting officials show sample ballots. SWAPO activists tell stories of opposition and intimidation they faced when attempting to organize their campaign around the new elections.

29:16Copy video clip URL Discussion about the world’s attention on Namibia’s independence as well as Namibia’s strategic geopolitical significance. Simmons mentions various world political leaders who plan to make an appearance at Namibia’s independence celebrations.

30:58Copy video clip URL Commercial break.

31:01Copy video clip URL Station identification.

31:19Copy video clip URL Ad for the United Negro College Fund

31:48Copy video clip URL Ad for the American Red Cross featuring Ahmad Rashad

32:35Copy video clip URL Ad for the Peace Corps

33:05Copy video clip URL Show return. Nyawo considers the challenges facing Namibians as they look to build an independent country. Simmons talks about the needs of uniting divided racial and ethnic groups in Namibia, economic inequalities, and the obstacles confronting Namibian social goods and infrastructure.

37:06Copy video clip URL Buchanan introduces another video segment.

37:31Copy video clip URL Third video segment from Buchanan’s footage from Namibia. Documenting the role of religious organizations and church leadership in Namibia’s transition period. Disparities and discrimination in housing between whites and blacks in Namibia.

41:55Copy video clip URL Rev. Peter Lamoela, head of the Congregational Churches in Southern Africa, denounces the exploitation of Namibian’s dignity through their image as beggars.

43:48Copy video clip URL Return to the studio. Nyawo raises the question of international solidarity with Namibia and South Africa’s intimidating presence through military power and apartheid.

46:05Copy video clip URL Settlage argues for responsible engagement from the international community. She reads a State Department memo on funding from the Washington office on Africa.

48:36Copy video clip URL Fourth video segment from Buchanan’s footage from Namibia. Footage of Namibian celebration following the election results.

51:15Copy video clip URL Studio return. Simmons comments on the American presence in Namibia’s celebrations. Settlage plugs the Southern Africa Support Committee. Nyawo raises final possibilities for future assistance and solidarity with the Namibian people and awareness of South Africa’s continuing apartheid regime.

57:13Copy video clip URL Final comment on the movement to cease the United States’ funding of UNITA.

58:31Copy video clip URL Closing credits.

59:39Copy video clip URL Buchanan asks for viewer support.

60:17Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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