Schmidt Petrus Andreas – the Southern Campaigner, Radio Announcer and Vice Secretary for Information and Publicity of the Swapo Party (1953… .)

Despite hailing from the southern part of Namibia, an area in which it was difficult to mobilize the masses to support the liberation struggle, it did not take too long for the likes of Schmidt Petrus Andreas to become politically conscious and to begin to support the liberation struggle.

In his unpublished profile biography Schmidt Petrus Andreas says the Nama Teachers Union took to the streets in 1976 demanding equal salaries and denouncing the inferior Bantu education system. He was one of the people from the south who got revolutionized by the spirit of the strike, such that he decided to join Swapo a year later. “Inspired by the Nama teachers strike and the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa I joined the Swapo Party at Gibeon in 1977,” he says. Schmidt was born on the 6th of November 1953 at Hoachanas in the southern part of Namibia. He is the son of Petrus Schmidt and Louisa Schmidt. Notwithstanding the limited biographical details in the existing files on his childhood upbringing and early education, Schmidt is one of the few fortunate Namibians who managed to reach secondary school under the apartheid administration.

And through education and many encounters with the apartheid administration he became one of the political forces in the southern part of Namibia.

“After the Nama-teachers strike, I was enrolled at the Nama Junior Secondary School in Gibeon under the headmastership of Comrade Hendrik Witbooi. It was a politically conscious school in the south. Through the readership of Captain Hendrik Witbooi, the Nama speaking people heightened their political awareness,” he recalls.

As politically conscious as he was, Schmidt begun to participate in political activities, campaigning for the liberation movement and encouraging fellow Namibians in the south to join the liberation movement. His biography reads he was instrumental in organizing political meetings in the former Namaland, Maltahoumlhe, Mariental, Keetmanshop, Berseba, Aranos, Stampriet and Gochas.

To suppress the mass political uprising in the south, the apartheid administration devised measures to harass and intimidate those spearheading the political campaign.

Among the victims and targets of the apartheid security agents was the late Captain Hendrik Witbooi, who was expelled from the school and replaced with a pro-DTA teacher.

To avoid possible political imprisonment and victimisation Schmidt decided to join fellow Namibians in exile to fight the oppressive apartheid regime. There he underwent military training and was trained in radio communications and ultimately became a radio announcer for the voice of Namibia in Luanda. Recalling his departure for exile and ultimate military training, Schmidt wrote: “Before the arrests continued, I together with Andries Basson and many others left the country on the 14th of May 1978. In Lubango we underwent military training in communication for about four months. At the end of the year we were summoned to Luanda and we were sent for military training to Moscow from 1978 to 1979. At the end of 1978, I was a radio announcer from Luanda at the Voice of Namibia and at the same time I was appointed as Director in the Office of the President.”

In 1980, he was appointed as vice secretary for the party’s information and publicity department in Luanda and in 1982 he was appointed as vice-president for the International Union of Students until he returned from exile in 1989. After Namibia attained independence, Schmidt was elected as Regional Councillor for the Gibeon constituency in 1993.

Source : New Era