About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

UNITA (National Union For The Total Independence Of Angola)

UNITA was a pro-Western organization in Angola formed in 1966 by Jonas Savimbi. Together with Holden Roberto's National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), it opposed the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) under Agostinho Neto in the Angolan civil war of the 1970s. South Africa supported UNITA and the FNLA by sending SADF* troops into Angola in the hope of decreasing the danger of Marxist infiltration into South Africa and maintaining a hold over the administration of South West Africa. But Russian support of the MPLA, including Cuban troops and sophisticated weaponry, meant that South Africa had to back off and the MPLA took over the government of Angola in 1975. Thereafter the SADF continued its support of UNITA, launching a number of offensives against the MPLA and SWAPO* on both sides of the Angolan/Namibian border in the 1980s until 1988 and the independence of Namibia two years later.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.