Ben Afrika, part-time politician, part-time doctor, sat in his office in the National Assembly and began to list what the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance regards as its accomplishments over the past two years.
"Racial segregation as entrenched in laws, that's been abolished," the confidently as the phone rang.
Turning his attention to the hospital staff member at the end of the line, Dr. Afrika said he was calling to inquire about a patient admitted the night before with symptoms of malaria. A few short exchanges followed, then the conversation ended abruptly.
With the phone still dangling in his hand and a look of pained exasperation on his face, Afrika explained: "That's the white hospital. She says since he's colored, I must call the colored hospital. That's the system in this country," he went on shaking his head. "I'm not defending it, you understand."
So much for the Alliance's first accomplishment. And so much too, for any U.N.-supervised election sometime soon in this territory tucked away in the southwest corner of the continent.
Last January South Africa, which has governed the territory for 60 years, backed out of a U.N. plan for elections leading to independence that would have put the Alliance, a multiracial coalition of 11 parties representing the 11 tribes of Namibia's 1 million people, against the Soviet-armed South-West Africa Peoples' Organization (SWAPO), a guerrilla movement fighting South African troops here.
Instead, South Africa is pressing ahead with a process that on Madison Avenue is known as "corporate image building." Treated as a province of South Africa since it was siezed by Pretoria from the Germans in World War I, Namibia (also known as South-West Africa) is fast getting its own identity as a separate, self-governing state.
Ministerial department heads are moved from Pretoria to Windhoek. A South-West African Army is in the making. A South-West African police force has replaced the South African force and shortly, the airwaves over Namibia's desert vastness will be ruled by the South-West Africa Broadcasting Corp., carved off from its South African parent network.
South Africa has set up a 60-member multiracial National Assembly and a prototype Cabinet that reports to the Top South African officials in Namibia. The Alliance gained control of these bodies when it won the first one-man, one-vote elections in December 1978, held under South African supervision.
The Alliance's only competition was a number of parties to its right.
All this does not mean South Africa is backing out of Namibia; at least, not yet. But critics of its actions believe the process is inevitably heading to the point when Pretoria will unilaterally give Namibia its independence under a pro-South Africa Alliance government.
Officially, South Africa says this is not so, that it is committed to an internationally recognized independence for this territory it has occupied in defiance of the United States since 1966.
The more benign view of South Africa's actions is that it is attempting to give the Alliance a forum from which it can make visible changes to win popular support and undercut the appeal of SWAPO in preparation for a future election.
This requires time. As Graham Louw, major of Namibia's Atlantic Ocean resort town of Swakopmund, put it when summing up what he says is the prevailing sentiment in the white community: "We need time to prove we are on the right track, to gain the confidence of the people both internationally and internally.
"The rest of the world would like to see an election under U.N. supervision and at this stage we just don't agree to that. I think it's in the interest of the country not to have free elections at this state . . . The wrong people could come to power. I'm talking about SWAPO," he said.
But, "there is not time," said black Anglican Bishop James Kauluma. "The war is going on now. We have seen the fulfillment of what we have been saying -- that if there is no settlement, there would be an escalation of the war."
One cannot belittle the reforms introduced here over the past two years.
Regulations restricting where blacks could live and work are gone; interracial sex and marriage are now permitted; blacks can own property anywhere in the country. Discrimination in hotels, restaurants and other public places is illegal with fines for offenders. There is equal pay for equal work and blacks are being brought into the civil service.
But in an attempt to placate angry, conservate whites, many of whom are South African, Pretoria has kept in place a middle level of government made up of "ethnic authorities" with control over a wide range of public services for each ethnic group.
Thus, the white ethnic authority, now in the hands of a right-wing white party, controls white schools, hospitals, city councils and white farmers' affairs, and "can still exert an influence 180 degrees different to what the DTA would do," said Windhoek Chamber of Commerce chairman Kurt Bohme.
And if a government without a civil service is like a man without legs, the Alliance could be called a cripple. The territory's civil service is still largely staffed by South Africans, and their record is one of obstinate refusal to abide by directives from the National Assembly.
But the Alliance's problems are internal as well. It is a fragile coalition, cemented only by fear of SWAPO, which it views as a Communist party dominated by the Ovambo people who make up 46 percent of the country's population.
Its black leadership is lackluster and reportedly chafing under the chairmanship of Dirk Mudge, a white rancher.
"The Alliance is not different from the system which has been ruling here for 50 years," Kauluma said.