Hannes Smith

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Johannes Martin Smith (17 March 1933 – 5 August 2008), affectionately known as Smithie, was a Namibian journalist, editor and publisher.[1] He was first reporter at, then the editor of, the Windhoek Advertiser until 1978 when he and Gwen Lister founded the Windhoek Observer, the country's only Saturday paper at that time. He remained the owner and editor of the Observer until his death.


Smith was born in Grootfontein, Otjozondjupa Region on 17 March 1933. His parents were Angolan boers that participated in the Dorsland Trek.[2] A White Namibian, Smith was known for being a muckraker[3] and anti-establishment journalist that took on both the apartheid government of South Africa and the post-independence government of the Republic of Namibia, especially President Sam Nujoma.

1959 Old Location Controversy[edit]

In August 2003, President Nujoma and Smith became involved in a conflict regarding the events which are called the Old Location Massacre. Nujoma wrote in his autobiography, Where Others Wavered: The Autobiography of Sam Nujoma that wounded blacks were denied medical treatment by white medical staff, including those at the small Red Cross Society clinic. Smith, a young reporter in Windhoek at the time of massacre, challenged that claim, stating that he had personally witnessed Black Namibians receiving treatment. Nujoma hit back at Smith, accusing him of blackmail and of lying.[4]

See also[edit]