Anton Lubowski, the white SWAPO (1952 to 1989) – by Catherine Sasman

Anton Lubowski, the white SWAPO (1952 to 1989) – by Catherine Sasman

Sourced from

11th Sept 2009

Tags: Anton Lubowski, Catherine Sasman, South Africa, Namibia, heroes

WINDHOEK – Anton Lubowski’s death remains shrouded in mystery, but his life is hailed as that of a human rights lawyer, trade unionist, staunch in his views against racism – a paradox of a man.

On September 12, 1989, bullets flying from a passing car struck Anton Lubowski as he alighted from his vehicle, briefcase in hand, in front of his home on Sanderburg Street, Klein Windhoek.

When he died, Lubowski was 37 years old, leaving behind Garbielle Schuster and his two young children, Almo and Nadia.

Six months after his assassination, author David Beresford wrote that the bullet holes were still in the garden gate where Lubowski died six months after his assassination.

“In a way it would make an appropriate shrine. Not as a saint – Anton was never that – but at least as a man whose death was in a strange way an offering which seems to have satisfied the gods of war, who were particularly hungry when that AK47 started hammering at him from the other side of Sanderberg Street,” Beresford is quoted as saying in a book Lubowski’s mother, Molly, and a South African author wrote on his life.

To this day, Lubowski’s murder remains unresolved, after several inquiries and accusations that the assassination was conducted by leading members of the former South African Government’s intelligence instrument, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB).

But the circumstances of his death have raised some spectacular claims that he was a South African spy, a stooge of the apartheid regime, a secret agent.

Such claims, however, were quelled in various books and publications that came out after his death.

Riaan Labuschagne in his book ‘South Africa’s Secret Service – An undercover agent’s story‘ in early 2000 wrote that Lubowski was not a spy of the South African military intelligence as was alleged by the former South African Minister of Defence, Magnus Malan.

But Labuschagne claimed that Lubowski was a secret agent “deeply cloaked” and a “technical pawn” of the South African Defence Force (SADF).

At a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearing in South Africa, veteran investigative journalist from South Africa, Max du Preez, countered such claims, calling these accusations smear campaigns of the old South African regime.

At home, Lubowski is considered a hero, an unflinching human rights lawyer, larger than life – for his physical size and his propensity for the dramatics, an idealist and enigma, “SWAPO’s white son”.

Lubowski was born on February 23, 1952 at Lüderitz, the second child of Wilfried Franz and Molly. He was the first boy in the fifth generation of the Lubowski family in Namibia.

By the age of 13, Lubowski was sent to Stellenbosch to complete his schooling, which he did in 1970.

After school, Lubowski went into military service as was compulsory for all young, white males at the time. He then went to study law first at the University of Stellenbosch, and then later graduated from the University of Cape Town.

After his studies, he worked as an Articled Clerk in Windhoek and joined the law firm Lorentz and Bone in 1978. He joined the bar in 1980 and elected for the Lüderitz Foundation Regional Committee where he worked for the economic improvement of the town.

It was during this period of his life that he became politically active. During 1979 Lubowski joined the Namibia National Front (NNF), but, according to his father, “he took his first steps towards SWAPO within hours after he had walked into the offices” of the law firm when he was instructed to visit a black client in jail.

Lubowski is said to have felt that the main difference between the NNF and SWAPO was in the economic sphere: He held that the NNF stood for a mixed economy while SWAPO stood for a socialistic economy.

He is quoted as having said: “The NNF will not nationalise except when it is for compensation, or in th
e interest of the people of Namibia. I know it is a broad term, but it won’t be a rule to nationalise.”

According to his parents, Lubowski immediately started writing political articles in local newspapers, with one of his first calling for Namibia’s economic independence and the aspirations and ideas of the youth.

His work brought him in direct contact with SWAPO supporters, and in 1979 he was prepared to travel to Botswana, Angola, and Zambia to look for information concerning one of his political cases.

This trip was a watershed for Lubowski who for the first time met top leaders of SWAPO.

He joined the organisation in 1984.

Shortly thereafter, he was a member of a SWAPO delegation attending Namibian peace talks in Lusaka and was a delegate in London at a conference on 100 years of colonialism.

He then met the French foreign minister in Paris on behalf of SWAPO.

In 1985 he represented the Council for Namibia on the Commission for Human Rights in Geneva, and in 1986 he was a member of a SWAPO delegation to an international conference for the immediate independence of Namibia in Vienna.

He also joined a SWAPO presidential delegation to meet with West German politicians in 1986.

That same year, Lubowski became a member of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), realising the political potential of a strong workers’ front.

He also directed NAMLAW, an organisation initiated in 1987 to draft legislation for possible implementation after independence.

In 1988 he led a delegation of Namibian academics, trade unions, farmers, housewives and business people to meet SWAPO president Sam Nujoma in Stockholm and in Kabwe, Zambia.

Also in 1988, Lubowski received the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Achievements in Human Rights.

His political work meant that he was at loggerheads with the authorities. He is considered the first legal practitioner that has been imprisoned – in 1985. This followed several arrests – six of them, two of which were spent in solitary confinement for protracted periods.

His last public message was: “People must unite in Namibia, irrespective of colour, ethnic origin, sex, race or creed.”

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Shared by craig

The submitter’s new “work” is a story of “ordinary” men and women: heroes, like Rick Turner, David Webster and Anton Lubowski, who made the ultimate sacrifice, yet whose strong sense of justice and decency led to their making their own unique contribution to the liberation of South Africa (and Namibia). The stories in my new work not only shine a light on South Africa’s turbulent and often dark past, but tell us something about the present. Therefore, it is vitally important to understand the mind of a person, the “enemy“. And that is the mindset we are truly going to have to understand to “win this current ‘war against terror’. So, by only looking to history, we always find something, a ray of hope to illuminate the present and the future.”

When people’s hearts are filled with love, the world is full of hope”
– craig

Give us all forgiveness for the past, strength for today…
and especially hope for/in the future.”

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6 Responses to “Anton Lubowski, the white SWAPO (1952 to 1989) – by Catherine Sasman”

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    Anton Lubowski, the white SWAPO (1952 to 1989) – by Catherine Sasman | Unsung Heroes


  2. craiglock Says:



  3. Says:

    Anton Lubowski, the white SWAPO (1952 to 1989) – by Catherine Sasman | Unsung Heroes


  4. slightly Says:


    Anton Lubowski, the white SWAPO (1952 to 1989) – by Catherine Sasman | Unsung Heroes


  5. Says:

    Anton Lubowski, the white SWAPO (1952 to 1989) – by Catherine Sasman | Unsung Heroes


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