NAMIBIAN SON – NAMIBIAN HERO
Anton Lubowski was born in Lüderitz, Namibia on 3 February 1952. He attended Paul Roos Boys High School in Stellenbosch where he was a member of the student council and played first team rugby. After school, Anton went on to study law at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Cape Town, graduating in 1977. After his studies he was employed as an articled clerk in Windhoek, being admitted to the Bar in 1981. During 1979 he joined the executive of the Namibian National Front (NNF). In 1980, he was elected chairman of the Lüderitz Foundation Regional committee, where he was instrumental in the economic improvement of the area.
Having defended them in several court cases, Anton joined SWAPO in 1984.
In 1984 Anton was a member of the SWAPO delegation attending the Namibian peace talks in Lusaka, and was also a delegate in London to the Conference on 100 Years of Colonialism. During that year he met the French Foreign Minister in Paris on behalf of SWAPO. 1985 saw Anton represent the Council for Namibia on the Commission for Human Rights in Geneva.
Anton fought extensively for the rights of Namibian workers, becoming a member of the National Union of Namibian Workers in 1986 and was elected Secretary of Finance and Administration.
In 1986 he was a member of the SWAPO delegation to the International Conference for the Immediate Independence of Namibia, in Vienna. He also joined a SWAPO Presidential delegation to meet with West German politicians.
Accompanying SWAPO President Dr. Sam Nujoma, he met Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González Márquez in Harare in 1987. In the same year, he met the President of Socialists International, Willy Brandt, in Vienna.
In 1987, Anton initiated and became the director of NAMLAW, an organisation concerned with the development of draft legislation to replace the racist legislation of the South African administration, for implementation in Namibia after independence.
In 1988 he led a delegation of Namibian academics, trade unionists, farmers, housewives and business people to meet the SWAPO President Dr. Sam Nujoma and other exiled SWAPO leaders in Stockholm, Sweden and Zambia.
In 1988, together with Benazir Bhutto, he received the Bruno Kreisky Prize for achievements in Human Rights.
Throughout this turbulent time, he remained an inspiration to people through his enthusiasm, his positive attitude and his passion for their well-being. In all his endeavours, Anton strove for peace and stability in political and economic affairs.
Anton was detained six times, twice in solitary confinement for long periods. He firmly believed that apartheid had no future and that South Africa’s illegal occupation of Namibia had to end. His convictions drove him to work tirelessly to free Namibia and its people from the oppressive South African administration.
On 12 September 1989, Anton was brutally gunned down in front of his home, two days before the return to Namibia from exile of his hero, SWAPO leader Dr. Sam Nujoma. At the time of his death, Anton was the Deputy Director of Finance and Administration of SWAPO’s Election Directorate. Hundreds of people attended numerous memorial services held all over the country. The melody played at Anton’s funeral, composed by Axali Doëseb, became the melody of the Namibian National Anthem.
His last message to Namibia was clear: “Education is the key to a better future and people must unite in Namibia, irrespective of colour, ethnic origin, sex, race or creed.” Though he died before he saw the fruits of his labour, Anton Lubowski died for Namibia’s freedom, a transition that ultimately helped pave the way for a free and democratic South Africa.