Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Robert Maxon

Committee Co-Chair

Tamba M'bayo

Committee Member

Joseph Hodge

Committee Member

James Siekmeier

Committee Member

Jamie Shinn


Between 1919 and 1962, the South African government implemented ever more restrictive segregationist and apartheid policies in South West Africa that attempted to control and monitor the social, political, and economic development of Namibians living in South West Africa’s Police Zone. This dissertation examines the transnational resistance campaigns and strategies developed by Namibians living in the Police Zone and their attempts to dissolve and frustrate the colonial state’s implementation of these policies. Particular focus is paid to such transnational institutions/actors as the League of Nations, the Universal Negro Improvement Association, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the United Nations, and international student organizations across Scandinavia, the United States, and South Africa. This work argues that transnational resistance strategies were the primary tool used by Namibians in the Police Zone during the first half of the twentieth century and that these strategies were embraced because of the numerous opportunities created by centuries-old historical linkages connecting Namibians to the international community. Ideas, actors, resources, and institutions circulated across national boundaries and proved invaluable in Namibians’ resistance campaigns. These transnational strategies ultimately helped Namibians secure subnational concessions and reforms from the colonial regime that improved their standard-of-living and counteracted the South African government’s flagrant attempts to exploit and underdevelop Namibians living in the Police Zone.