By Timoteus Mashuna
CITING Paulo Jorge’s contribution to the struggle against apartheid and colonialism in Southern Africa and Namibia in particular, the Office of the President of the Republic of Namibia, in a short biography prepared for the conferment of Paulo Jorge’s national honour noted that Jorge was one of Namibia’s dedicated allies who led the diplomatic struggle against apartheid colonialism.
As foreign minister of the Republic of Angola from 1976 to 1984, Jorge dedicated his life to mobilise and raise awareness of the world with regard to the plight of the oppressed people of Namibia and in seeking solutions to address the question of Namibia’s territorial sovereignty and unconditional independence.
“In Paulo Texeira Jorge, Swapo of Namibia had, and continues to have an eloquent and passionate ally who advanced the cause of our freedom on the diplomatic front with steadfast determination. Paulo Jorge left no stone unturned to rally international, continental and regional support for the cause of freedom and nationhood for the people of Namibia,” wrote the Office of the President of Namibia.
His obituary further reads that Jorge “was a true champion, who believed that the forces of colonialism and apartheid would be defeated by the steely will of the oppressed people of Namibia”.
Paulo Jorge was born in 1934 in southern Benquela Province of Angola. Despite the sketchy details with regard to his primary and secondary education, the existing biographical materials on his life indicate he attended first degree education in Benquela Province and later moved to Luanda for his second degree.
After he completed his university education he joined the MPLA and began to participate in political activities for the liberation of his motherland – Angola.
His eulogy published, in his honour, by the Socialist International reads that Jorge “joined the MPLA in 1956, participating in clandestine activities and becoming known in Angola and beyond as an outstanding combatant in the struggle for freedom, sovereignty and democracy.”
Throughout his political career, he had been the face of Angola in international politics. He was assigned to lead talks with Portugal for the independence of Angola and after Angola attained its independence in 1974, following the Portuguese coup detat.
Jorge was appointed as first secretary to the President of Angola for foreign affairs. He served as MPLA secretary for international relations and also as Angola’s foreign minister.
It was during his time as Angola’s leading political figure in international relations that he broadened the parameters of his political focus to include the struggle for other oppressed people in Southern Africa.
And, it is perhaps within this context that the Socialist International eulogized that Jorge made significant contributions to freedom, cooperation between nations and peace throughout his lifetime.
As earlier indicated, Namibia was no exception to Jorge’s political role.
Even though he might be rarely known by many Namibians he was one of the leading figures who played a critical role in negotiations for Namibia’s independence.
With reference to this, the Office of the President of the Republic of Namibia wrote: “Jorge was also instrumental in the negotiations that led to the adoption of numerous United Nations resolutions on Namibia particularly the UN Resolution 435 that paved the way for the resolution of the Namibian question and the decolonization of this country. He stood as true champion of the historic struggle against imperialism, colonialism and apartheid.”
Besides being active in regional and international politics, he was also an active participant in the activities of the Socialist International, a worldwide association of political parties which seeks to establish democratic socialism. He died on the 26th of June 2010.