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9-08-2015, 23:40

FROM WHITE SUPREMACY TO DEMOCRACY

In African countries with substantial minorities of white settlers, resistance to African majority rule led to savage conflicts and wars. By the early 1990s the white settlers had lost power in all but one country; the future of South Africa still hung in the balance as turmoil threatened. Two decades earlier another powerful group of ruling white settlers in Rhodesia had fought to resist an early end to their dominance. Despite their overwhelming military resources, they had to accept defeat in the end. Southern Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, Nyasaland was renamed Malawi and Northern Rhodesia, Zambia. Cecil Rhodes had first conquered these territories towards the close of the nineteenth century for the British South Africa Company. White settlers soon came to the healthy highlands of Southern and Northern Rhodesia. Nyasaland, administered directly by the Colonial Office in London, attracted fewer settlers. Northern Rhodesia, which in 1924 likewise fell to direct administration by the Colonial Office, had a single rich resource to exploit – the Copperbelt, whose mines produced the second-largest quantity of copper in the world. At the time, with only 4,000 whites among 900,000 Africans, there could be no question of handing over power to the settlers. In 1929 a British colonial secretary declared that in Northern Rhodesia, as in the East African territories, the interests of the Africans were paramount. In practice this meant little. The land distribution favoured the white minority at the expense of the expanding African population. But the white settlers in Northern Rhodesia wanted to make their position more secure. That was the logic behind their desire to create a union between Northern and Southern Rhodesia, with its larger white-settler community. The conquest of Rhodesia in the 1890s had been brutal. As the railway moved further inland, settlers followed. There was some gold, but agriculture gradually became far more important. The assumption always was that when the white settlers were ready to govern the country they would take over from the Chartered British South Africa Company. The decisive year was 1923, when the 34,000 settlers of Southern Rhodesia rejected union with South Africa and were granted full internal self-government, which meant ruling over 900,000 Africans. Constitutionally, Southern Rhodesia became a Crown colony with the imperial government reserving to itself the right to veto legislation affecting the African majority. During the next three decades London allowed the Southern Rhodesian whites to run the country as they thought fit. The African majority had to accept white rule and subservience to unjust laws. The best lands went to the white settlers, a social system that effectively amounted to apartheid was enacted. The Land Apportionment Act in 1931 forbade Africans to occupy land in white areas; 50,000 whites were to receive 49 million acres and nearly 1 million Africans were to receive 29 million acres. Pass laws, taxes, control of Africans in towns and the Masters and Servants Act all ensured black subservience. A ban on black workers forming trade unions, separate schools, hospitals, clubs and swimming pools for black people were all just part of an extensive structure of discrimination. Black Africans were in practice deprived of the vote as the settlers made sure that the black citizens would not be able to meet the franchise qualification. But Southern Rhodesia appeared to be prosperous and orderly. There were a few strikes but they were easily dealt with. With the army and air force under white command, the position of the settlers seemed impregnable in the 1950s. White immigrants poured in, attracted by the new life in the beautiful highlands away from overcrowded Europe. Southern Rhodesia seemed to have advanced to the stage of gaining independent Dominion status. The prospects were enhanced when the white settlers persuaded the British government to permit all three territories, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, to form a federation in 1953, with a federal government in Salisbury. The African majority were granted a few parliamentary seats in the new federal parliament, some civil service posts, even a black minister to make the transfer to independence more acceptable. There was some genuine but limited progress, such as a multiracial university in Salisbury where black students could qualify as doctors, their degrees being authenticated by the University of Birmingham in England. These gestures to black Africans merely revealed the confidence with which the white settlers felt that they would continue to rule the country for at least another hundred years. It went about as far as the white settlers were ready to go. Few at the time foresaw how rapidly the tide was turning. Indeed, black majority rule would have come much sooner than the twenty-seven years it took to achieve. It was delayed after 1963 because of the armed resistance of the white settlers. Black political stirrings had come relatively late, so powerfully entrenched did the white position appear to be to black Africans. The first black nationalist target was the Federation, with its offer of an unequal partnership. Joshua Nkomo was the elder statesman among black African politicians, although only forty-five years old. As general secretary of the Railway Workers’ Association he had become known as an African leader. He was also a Methodist lay preacher who did not believe in violence and worked for compromise and gradual reform. Nkomo led the Southern Rhodesian African National Congress. It won support from the African masses deprived of land and a fair share of the country’s wealth. The reaction of the Rhodesian government was repression. In 1954 several hundred black Africans were arrested. The African National Congress was banned and harsh laws against ‘subversion’ were enacted. In the hope of reducing support for radical black policies the discrimination laws were modified. Would this be sufficient to satisfy the black people and persuade Britain to give up its suzerain right, which included protection of the black population? London had done little to help black Rhodesians anyway. Black West Africa was being granted independence; it surely could not now be denied to white Rhodesia. But times had changed, passing most white Rhodesians by. In London black nationalist views were no longer ignored: 1960 was the year of Harold Macmillan’s famous ‘wind of change’ speech. In Southern Rhodesia a new black political party was formed, the National Democratic Party, led by Ndabaningi Sithole, Robert Mugabe and Herbert Chitepo. Joshua Nkomo acted first as the NDP’s spokesman in London, and later as its president. With black West Africa and East Africa either independent or on the road to independence on the constitutional basis of one man one vote, black African nationalist leaders saw no just reason why the same principle should not apply to the three territories of the Federation. Since the white-settler population in Nyasaland of 72,000 in 1960 was much smaller than the white population in Southern Rhodesia black nationalists calculated that progress towards majority black rule would be easier to achieve in the north. In the federal parliament, with its overwhelming white Southern Rhodesian influence black nationalism would find the struggle harder. They therefore launched a campaign to break up the Central African Federation as a necessary step towards gaining the independence of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia under black majority rule. The Federation had been imposed on the Africans in 1953, but there was a promise to review its workings after ten years. The nationalist movement in Northern Rhodesia was led by Henry Nkumbula and Kenneth Kaunda, and that in Nyasaland by Dr Hastings Banda. In London the prime minister Harold Macmillan was determined to settle what could be settled. Britain already had enough trouble on its hands with Kenya and the Mau Mau rising. It had required a major and costly British effort to suppress it. Southern Rhodesia presented severe problems with its many white settlers, but the position was different in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. A few thousand white settlers in those two countries would not be allowed to stand in the way of a settlement with African nationalism there. A British fact-finding commission was sent to the two territories and found the majority of Africans opposed to the Central African Federation. In December 1963 the Federation was dissolved. In July 1964 Nyasaland, later called Malawi, was granted independence and in October of the same year so too was Northern Rhodesia, renamed Zambia by the African leadership. This left the intractable problem of Southern Rhodesia. The federal armed forces now fell under the command of Southern Rhodesia and, although small, they were formidable, equipped with Hunter jets, Vampire and Canberra bombers, artillery, armoured cars and helicopters. The army consisted of 3,500 men of whom 1,000 were black Africans. It is one of the worst features of white supremacy that it pitted the indigenous peoples against each other, blacks against blacks. This force could maintain white rule for years. The struggle for supremacy in Rhodesia was waged in the 1960s and 1970s between black nationalists (who were themselves split but were aided by black African neighbours) and the white settlers. Britain’s imperial role was invidious. London could deny Rhodesia formal independence but no government, whether Conservative or Labour, was in a position to use military force against the Rhodesian authorities. British public opinion would not have tolerated fighting white Rhodesians, the men who during the Second World War had rallied to Britain’s side. However racist this attitude may now be judged, it was an inexorable fact facing successive prime ministers – Macmillan, Home, Wilson, Heath, Callaghan and Thatcher. The next best thing was to try to mediate a general constitutional settlement which the settlers and the black Africans could be persuaded to accept. The only pressure that could be exerted from outside was economic sanctions through the United Nations and the Commonwealth. From 1961 to 1971, repeated efforts were made by British governments to grant Southern Rhodesia independence on terms acceptable to a black majority and the Rhodesian whites. Ian Smith, an ex-RAF fighter pilot, was the tough settler leader of the Rhodesian Front Party. A settlement acceptable to him would have to fall short of equal votes for all Rhodesians and immediate black majority rule. Would the African nationalists accept less? Nkomo made the mistake of doing just that at a constitutional conference held in 1961 under British auspices. The proposed constitution that emerged would have delayed African majority rule for many decades, perhaps for ever. But the British government seized this opportunity to give up practically all its reserve powers, except for the final acceptance of Rhodesian independence. The African nationalists, who had organised themselves into a new party – the National Democratic Party – repudiated the agreement and Nkomo was forced to accept this reverse. One man one vote now became the unyielding demand of the black nationalists. When the Smith administration then banned the National Democratic Party, this simply led to the creation of a new African grouping, the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU). In 1963 distrust of Nkomo’s leadership caused a split – Ndabaningi Sithole formed a more radical Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). The split gravely weakened African political influence during the struggle for independence. In 1965 Smith decided to cut the Gordian knot and declared Rhodesia unilaterally independent (UDI). It appeared intolerable to the white settlers that their two neighbours should have been granted independence in 1964, as Zambia and Malawi, but their own country had not. The British government and Ian Smith might have been able to reach a fudged agreement even after UDI, which was denied British and international recognition. Negotiations were resumed on the basis of ‘five principles’: unimpeded progress to majority rule; guarantees against retrogressive amendments to the constitution; immediate improvement in the political status of the African population; progress towards ending racial discrimination; British satisfaction that proposals for independence agreed upon by Britain and the white settlers were acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole. But how many years would have to elapse before the black Africans gained majority rule? Smith declared in 1968 after meeting Wilson, ‘There will be no majority rule in my lifetime – or in my children’s.’ That clearly was totally unacceptable to black nationalist leaders. In 1969, Smith’s Rhodesian parliament imposed a constitution that allowed greater African participation and promised eventual ‘parity’, but ‘eventual’ in the light of Smith’s timescale was a prospect beyond the horizon. Smith simply condemned black nationalists as communists and criminals, many of whom had been safely detained. He argued that to allow black majority rule would be a catastrophe for the country, as it had already turned out to be in the Congo and Uganda. Smith’s Rhodesia at this time, he claimed, was a country of law and order, of economic development despite sanctions, thanks to the help of South Africa and Portugal. The black Africans, too, would benefit more from progress under white rule than from chaos under black. In 1971 Smith’s tenacity appeared to have paid off. The Conservative government now in power made a new attempt to reach a settlement with him. After lengthy negotiations, the five principles – somewhat watered down – became the basis of an agreement between the rebellious Rhodesian government and Britain. On the crucial issue of majority rule, the timescale was to be left to the white Rhodesians. There were objections to this from Nkomo, Sithole and other nationalist Africans who were still being detained. London and Salisbury nevertheless proceeded to test black opinion. In 1972 a British commission was sent out. Their findings shattered illusions in both Britain and Rhodesia. The commission unequivocally concluded that the ‘people of Rhodesia as a whole’ rejected the proposed settlement. The two outlawed African nationalist parties ZANU and ZAPU were faced with liberating black Rhodesia by force, since the British government seemed powerless. With a few hundred guerrillas from bases in Mozambique and Zambia the task looked hopeless. ZAPU looked to Moscow, and ZANU guerrillas received their training and arms in Algeria, Ghana, China and Czechoslovakia – assistance that enabled Smith to denounce them as communists. The black peasants in the north-east of the country became victims of the brutal warfare between the guerrillas and the security forces. Not until the mid-1970s did the guerrillas make any progress. And by 1974, Ian Smith was more ready for compromise with the African leadership inside and outside Rhodesia than he had been in the 1960s. The coup in Lisbon that year had undermined Portuguese determination to remain in Mozambique; South Africa began to be anxious to dissociate itself from Rhodesia, whose actions had been condemned by the United Nations. Sanctions too were taking their toll. So Smith negotiated with Kaunda of Zambia and released the black leadership, including Nkomo, Sithole and Mugabe. But new negotiations failed. Mugabe joined the guerrillas. Sanctions and the settlers’ fears for the future were now sapping settler morale. ZAPU and ZANU increased the pressure by temporarily burying their differences and forming the Patriotic Front. Though the Rhodesian forces could still inflict terrible damage on the guerrillas and pursued them to their bases, resistance could not be extinguished. Smith again tried to reach a settlement by negotiation with the black nationalists. He was prepared to make major concessions. In March 1978, a power-sharing ‘internal agreement’ was actually reached between Ian Smith and two black nationalist leaders, Bishop Muzorewa and Sithole. There would be a black prime minister and a black parliamentary majority, with the white minority retaining a veto. Ten years earlier this solution might have been sufficient. Now it was too late. The Patriotic Front of Mugabe and Nkomo rejected the settlement. Nevertheless, there were elections and Muzorewa won them. Smith hoped he had split the African opposition and won over the majority of blacks who were longing for peace. But the guerrilla war waged by the loosely aligned Patriotic Front only intensified. In an effort to contain the guerrillas, who now numbered several thousand, the Smith–Muzorewa regime herded villagers into so-called ‘protected villages’ which, in fact, were usually unsanitary compounds with totally inadequate facilities. The Rhodesian armed forces, meanwhile, attacked the guerrilla base camps across the borders in Zambia and Mozambique, killing combatants, women and children indiscriminately. Unexpectedly, the fighting was nearly over. Under Margaret Thatcher’s new Conservative government the transfer of power to black majority rule was finally arranged at a conference called at Lancaster House and presided over by Lord Carrington, the foreign secretary. Starting in September the Lancaster House Conference did not end until just before Christmas 1979. Carrington, Commonwealth leaders and the president of Mozambique played a positive role in bringing all the African leaders, Muzorewa, Mugabe and Nkomo, together. Mugabe was the most reluctant to accept compromise, especially the stipulation that one-fifth of the seats of the parliament of the independent state should be reserved for whites. The armed conflict continued even while the negotiations were taking place around the conference table. A ceasefire, it was agreed, would come into force only after a settlement had been reached in London. Then elections would be held in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, an interim government would function under a British governor until an elected government could be installed in Salisbury. Almost to the end Mugabe refused his consent, but on 21 December agreement was reached and a week later a ceasefire came into force. The settlement guaranteed the whites twenty seats in a multi-party parliament and gave undertakings that their property could not be expropriated without full compensation and that the constitution could not be changed without a two-thirds majority in parliament which would give the united white MPs a veto. The transition in January and February of 1980 was truly remarkable. Britain and the Commonwealth played a crucial supervisory and policing role: 122,000 guerrillas assembled in some eighteen areas and were reassured by the presence of the Commonwealth Observer Group. The election, too, was hazardous. Supervised by British observers and 500 British policemen, the election was held in February 1980 amid recriminations and accusations of intimidation. The outcome gave an overwhelming majority not to Bishop Muzorewa but to Robert Mugabe and the ZANU wing of the Patriotic Front. Nkomo’s ZAPU, which had borne far less of the fighting, lost out to Mugabe. Muzorewa, who had shared power with Smith, was humiliatingly defeated. The independence of Rhodesia-Zimbabwe, now renamed simply Zimbabwe, was internationally recognised in April 1980. After all the bloodshed and conflict, and faced with what at the time seemed to be insuperable difficulties, the transfer to black majority rule and a reasonably stable state was a remarkable event in modern history. The dominant personality of Zimbabwe’s early years of independence was Robert Mugabe. He deserved much credit. His leadership during this period turned out very differently to what might have been expected after he returned to Rhodesia in January 1980 to participate in the election, after sixteen years spent in detention or exile. The white settlers had good grounds to fear the coming to power of this most uncompromising of the guerrilla nationalist leaders. Mugabe had made his admiration for Marxism clear during the struggle against the settlers, whom he had condemned as ‘white exploiters’. Ian Smith, in Mugabe’s view, was no more than a criminal who deserved to be shot. The results of the election and Mugabe’s success were announced on 4 March 1980. They came as a shock to the settlers. But Mugabe’s first address on television that evening was almost as much of a surprise. He was conciliatory, called for reconciliation and unity, and promised to uphold the law and private property. Deeds followed words, when the white general Peter Walls, in charge of Rhodesia’s security forces, was confirmed as the commander of the country’s new army, into which would be integrated the guerrilla fighters. Ministers were appointed to Mugabe’s government who supported Nkomo; white ministers were also appointed. Ian Smith was able to lead a white-settler party in parliament and to enjoy freedom and comfort. There was no retribution. Mugabe did not abandon his vision of a socialist, one-party state, but he was not going to drive out the white settlers and businessmen on whom the country’s economy depended or risk plunging the country into new conflict. Mugabe’s leadership of Zimbabwe was statesmanlike at the outset. From the first, the chief political problem of the new state was the old rivalry of Nkomo’s ZAPU, with its tribal base among the Ndebele in Matabeleland, and Mugabe’s ZANU, whose members were Shona. The Shona bitterly resented the lack of military support received from Nkomo’s ZAPU during the fight for freedom. The Patriotic Front had never been more than a marriage of convenience. Nkomo, the cautious, weaker and vacillating older man, lost the contest to the younger Mugabe, who had clear goals: progress towards a one-party state and the abolition of the separate (and ‘racist’) reserved white seats in parliament. Mugabe bullied and cajoled Nkomo. Unrest in Matabeleland was suppressed in the mid-1980s by harsh repression. It was the first indication how ruthless Mugabe could be, regardless of the interests of his country if he felt his hold on power being threatened. For a time rivalry with Nkomo who assumed a subservient role was patched up. The Mugabe government continued to arrest and detain opponents without trial under the Emergency Powers legislation first introduced by Ian Smith. Mugabe came close to achieving two of his aims. With the necessary two-thirds majority assured, which included support from white settlers, the reserved white seats were abolished and Nkomo agreed to a union of ZANU with ZAPU, ending the rivalry of the previous twenty years. Nkomo entered the government as vicepresident. But events in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe led Mugabe in 1990 to abandon the progression to a one-party state. He also jettisoned some economic planks of Marxism. Once more cool pragmatism and the need for Western aid won over ideological commitment. The economy was from the start the Achilles heel of Mugabe’s regime. While denouncing South Africa’s apartheid racism, Zimbabwe was nevertheless dependent on its neighbour for much of its imports and exports. The principal exports, which did reasonably well during the decade, were tobacco and cotton. Agriculture was dependent on the vagaries of the weather and Zimbabwe suffered from some long droughts. It was also dependent on world prices, and the rise in the cost of oil had a bad effect here as elsewhere. The mining sector did less well, and state planning and high taxation impeded economic growth. A number of financial scandals implicated Mugabe’s ministers, and there was some financial mismanagement. The bureaucracy was also inefficient. Mugabe’s political skills did not extend to the handling of the economy. But this did not affect the judgement of the electorate that he remained indispensable as president. In 1990 the ZAPU–ZANU party won a landslide victory and Mugabe was overwhelmingly endorsed as president. He could feel secure, ended the 25-year-old state of emergency and underlined his non-racist approach by appointing a white lawyer to the position of chief justice. After 1990 Zimbabwe tried to follow the market prescription of Western institutions, causing severe economic difficulties in the short term. The drought in 1992 had a disastrous effect, with over a million people in the countryside having to rely on aid for survival until the rains allowed a new harvest to be brought in. However, the government for a time was able to cope better than elsewhere in Central Africa. Ageing authoritarian leaders begin to worry more about their grip on power than their place in history. The transformation of 80-year-old Mugabe was startling in the later 1990s. A ruthless streak was always there, but in the early years of his presidency he displayed pragmatism in his dealings with the white farmers and businessmen who were the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy. Mugabe altered the constitution of 1979 gradually grasping more power in his hands. But vestiges of representative democratic government had survived as well as an independent judiciary and powerful trade unions. Mugabe was able to dominate parliament by winning every election since independence; Zimbabwe was never transformed into a one-party dictatorship. The economy declined, however, catastrophically from droughts and misrule. Parliamentary elections in July 2000 were a shock – half the population voted for an opposition block under the umbrella of the Movement for Democratic Change formed in September 1999 and backed by the trade unions. Mugabe rallied support by turning the grievance and land hunger of the majority of the people against 4,000 white farmers who owned more than two-thirds of the best land, leaving the black population crowded on small plots and working for the white owners. Illegal occupations by organised gangs, violence and threats drove out the farmers; their workers lost their livelihoods and Mugabe’s cronies were rewarded with vacated farms they did not know how to cultivate. In place of an orderly gradual transfer that was to be assisted with promised British funds, the confiscations gathered pace. The consequence was the shattering of the economy, the farms not producing enough food for the people. Wheat production was reduced to ten per cent in 2003 of what was harvested in 1999 before the occupations began, tobacco growth is down by two-thirds, only 400 white farmers are still on their land where there were once 4,000, and many remaining white farmers are fleeing leaving 300,000 black workers in destitution. Mugabe’s policies have ruined the country. As living standards bottomed, Mugabe became even more ruthless and dictatorial trying to deflect the anger of the people against the whites and the old British colonial power: 2002 was the year of the presidential elections. The Movement for Democratic Change chose Morgan Tsangirai to run against Mugabe. Mugabe would have been ousted but for his control of the army and police. Opposition supporters and their candidates were beaten and severely injured, white farmers who had dared to stay on their farms became the renewed targets of violence; the police did nothing to protect them and most, unfortunately, were murdered. The results of the election were shamelessly manipulated to rob Tsangirai of the presidency. In 2003 Tsangirai was put on trial on the charge of plotting to kill Mugabe. The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe, the European Community condemned Mugabe. Financial sanctions and harsh words did not deflect him. No country wanted to intervene effectively and if they had so willed Mugabe was protected by Mbeki, the president of South Africa, who abhorred the notion that Britain and other ‘white’ nations should dictate the future of ‘black’ Zimbabwe and did not want Tsangirai to become president. As the country plunges deeper into misery, Mugabe ensures his hold by rewarding the army and a close corrupt elite. Of infirmity there is little sign. In Parliamentary elections in 2005 he increased his hold. The world was not prepared to stop the abuses. Dr Hastings Banda became president of Zimbabwe’s neighbour Malawi when independence was granted to Nyasaland in 1964. In appearance there was nothing traditionally African about Dr Banda, who dressed in neat three-piece dark suits and a Homburg hat. A local touch, however, were the mbumbass, dancing girls in colourful dress who surrounded and accompanied him on public appearances, singing his praises. Dr Banda had practised as a doctor in Britain and was a pillar of the Church of Scotland. The struggle to force the break-up of the Central African Federation, which bound Nyasaland to Southern and Northern Rhodesia, propelled him to power. He mobilised opinion against the Federation, was imprisoned for a time, headed the Malawi Congress Party and became prime minister in 1963. The British government was persuaded by Banda’s arguments to dissolve the Federation and to allow Nyasaland independence and separate nationhood the following year. On gaining independence, Dr Banda ousted rival political leaders, turned Malawi into a republic and became its first president. After the early turbulent years, he was soon able to consolidate his position in the state. His official birth date is given as ‘about 1906’; he was thought, in fact, to be as old as the century, his grip on power likely to be relinquished only on death. Malawi’s reputation for stability over a quarter of a century rested on his longevity and hold on the ‘lifepresidency’. Banda’s Malawi was much admired by the West. He cultivated a close political and economic relationship with Britain. With black African leaders he frequently quarrelled, especially with Zambia and Tanzania. He condemned criticism of South Africa as ‘hypocritical and dishonest’, urging greater realism, and he pursued no policies of retribution against white settlers in Malawi. They continued to live a privileged lifestyle, undisturbed. White farmers and white civil servants had nothing to fear. His admirable tolerance did not extend to the black opposition. Strict censorship and the security services suppressed dissent. He kept Malawi out of involvement in the black independence struggle of neighbouring Southern Rhodesia in the 1970s. Nor did Banda attempt to stop the South Africansupported resistance to the Marxist government in Mozambique from launching incursions into Mozambique from Malawi bases on the border. His policies were regarded by black Africa as a betrayal, but his main concern was to keep Malawi free from the bloody struggles and civil wars of Africa. His greatest achievement was undoubtedly the maintenance of peace in his country. Remarkable too was Malawi’s humanitarian response to the civil war in Mozambique. By 1991, 1 million refugees had crossed into Malawi and had been accepted and looked after by this small and poor country, a response more civilised than that witnessed in the early 1990s in some countries of Western Europe. Malawi’s domestic peace, however, was a peace based on repression. By the 1990s, fired by examples of the overthrow of dictatorship elsewhere in the world, an internal opposition had grown ever more determined to be granted a voice and to criticise Banda. The disastrous state of the economy added fuel to discontent. Long oneparty and one-man rule bred corruption, while state-run enterprises were inefficient and uncompetitive. Malawi’s exports of tea, coffee and tobacco and its imports were badly disrupted by the civil war in Mozambique, which practically closed the railway line to the port of Beira. Bowing to international and internal pressure, Banda conceded a referendum in 1993 which voted in favour of multi-party rule. Malawi has some good farming land, but mismanagement has led to widespread malnutrition. In 1994 there followed the first multi-party election. The ruling United Democratic Front elected President Babili Mulsezi. Malawi enjoyed relative stability and adopted IMF policies to secure aid. Mulsezi won a second term but when in the new millennium his party proposed to change the constitution to allow him a third term of office if elected in 2004 there was strong protest. Democracy, if imperfect, was taking root in even one of the poorest African countries with a population in 2000 of 12 million and one of the lowest incomes per head in Purchasing Power Parity (US$) of just 600. The contrast between Malawi and Zimbabwe’s northern neighbour, Zambia, is a stark one. Zambia was dominated for twenty-seven years after independence in 1964 by the nation’s founding father, Kenneth Kaunda, until he was voted out of office. Until Kaunda’s departure, Zambia was virtually a one-party state but of a rather unusual kind: Kaunda, who espoused his own ideology of ‘humanism’, did not resort to repression or the imprisonment of opponents, and no politician had to flee into exile. His own personal influence overcame the serious tribal and regional conflicts during the early years of independence. On the issue of the black struggles for equal rights he took a principled stand in support. The African National Congress found shelter and assistance in Zambia, though it was periodically attacked by incursions of special forces from South Africa. The economy suffered badly, virtually a hostage to South Africa, through which most of Zambia’s exports and imports have to pass. Zambia relies on copper for 90 per cent of its export earnings, and the metal’s price plummeted for much of the 1980s. Under the guidance of the International Monetary Fund and assisted by aid, reform was attempted, especially in the field of agricultural production, whose low prices needed to be raised. This, in turn, led to riots in the Copperbelt, where production and real income were falling while basic foods were costing more. Lack of investment in modern mining equipment and exhaustion began to show up in the copper mines. When the price of copper did rise, production could not be expanded. Although Kaunda had broken off relations with the International Monetary Fund in 1988, he could not halt the continuing depression, even in the short term. Unrest and opposition, strikes and disruption in the Copperbelt, undermined his popularity. Unemployment escalated and standards of living fell rapidly. The mismanaged oneparty political system was doomed. In October 1991 Kaunda accepted the demand for multi-party elections. His United National Independence Party was defeated by the newly formed Multi-Party Democracy, whose leader, Frederick Chiluba, was duly installed as Zambia’s second president. Kaunda bowed to the democratic will and retired. Chiluba dominated the 1990s, his party controlling the legislature. In December 2001, however, it appeared the majority of the electorate were looking for change. The results when announced gave a narrow win to the ruling party and its candidate Mwanawasa who despite allegations of electoral fraud was sworn in as president in January 2002. Zambia’s population growth was rapid and by the new millennium had increased to 10.4 million; the people too remained sunk in poverty with a standard of living only little above that of Malawi. The demise of white power in Rhodesia could have been interpreted at the time as sealing the fate of white rule in southern Africa. Indeed, only ten years after the collapse of white rule in Rhodesia, the white South African government began negotiations which, it hoped, would lead to a power-sharing constitution. The African National Congress, the major but not the only black participant in the negotiations, demanded majority rule. The gap between these two positions was a wide one, but that there should be negotiations at all in the 1990s in South Africa had been unthinkable only a few years ago. There are some parallels with Rhodesia. The application of international sanctions, the isolation of South Africa and the increasingly severe economic pressure as the flow of foreign investment was reversed finally convinced the government and the majority of white South Africans that a solution had to be found to the white–black conflict. The white population was able to hold out longer. The white population of South Africa forms a much larger minority than that in Rhodesia. They are not a few hundred thousand whites among millions of black people, but 4 million. Nor are South Africa’s whites comparatively recent immigrants; the great majority are South African-born, and their families have lived in Africa for generations. The Afrikaners can look to historical roots as far back as the seventeenth century, when their ancestors settled on the Cape only some seventy years after the first establishment of English colonies in North America. Their motherland is no longer in Europe but in Africa. But unlike the settlers in North America they did not grow and develop to outnumber by many times the indigenous peoples. Despite substantial English immigration they remained a minority. Yet the minority of whites in 1993 still claimed rights to most of the available land and, through ownership of the gold and diamond mines and industry, dominate South Africa’s economy. The earnings from mining exports allowed South Africa to take off on a rapid industrial revolution from the 1940s onwards on a Western model. Industrial manufacture increased several times over, making South Africa self-sufficient in many manufactures and bringing to the white population a prosperity comparable to that enjoyed by Western nations. Although the black and coloured peoples earned only a fraction of white incomes, they also shared in the growing prosperity. As the South African government never tired of pointing out, the country’s black citizens had incomes comparable to the highest of any black person in Africa. This economic transformation had important social and international repercussions. Afrikaners were no longer poor farmers, and the division between them and the ‘English’ lessened. Black, coloured and Asian people were needed both in skilled labour, in trade and in the professions, because there were not enough whites to run a modern industrial country and serve its economic needs. The better-educated and better-organised of the non-whites, with higher aspirations, were able to compare their quality of life with that of the whites, a comparison that created bitterness and conflict. It made their exclusion from trade union and political rights increasingly impossible to justify. Internationally, too, a modern economy interacts with the world economy, making it impossible for a state to ignore world opinion or the economic pressures exerted by sanctions. More important even than sanctions was the judgement of foreign businessmen that a politically unstable South Africa, possibly heading towards revolution and bloodshed, was not a good country to invest in. Nevertheless, the white South African government was able to hold up progress towards equal black political rights for so long thanks to its own armed strength, economic power and independent status. Unlike in Rhodesia, Britain had retained no reserve sovereign powers. At the turn of the century (1899–1902), it had fought the two Boer Republics, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, to affirm imperial paramountcy; it was a war of supremacy between whites. To the Liberals in Britain the Boers had been wronged and they wished to make amends when they came to power. The Union of South Africa was formed in 1910, granting the whites independence as a Dominion within the British Empire. But bitter memories of the camps into which Boer families had been forced during the war, many dying from disease, continued to affect relations between the more nationalist Afrikaners and the English until the middle of the century. As for the black Africans, the Boer War did not help them. Their enfranchisement was dependent on the white majority. Deprived of adequate land, Zulus rebelled in 1906, only to be bloodily suppressed. Protest and the expression of independent black opinion found a focus, just as in the southern states of America, in black churches. They have played an important role during the twentieth century, and as religious institutions enjoy some protection. The Asian, mainly Indian, community, meanwhile, had found a brilliant spokesman and organiser in a young lawyer, M. K. Gandhi. When in 1910 the existing self-governing colonies, the Cape, Natal, the Orange Free State and the Transvaal, formed the Union of South Africa, they did not federate, but became provinces of a central union. No non-whites could be elected to parliament, and the franchise was left as it had been before the Union; this allowed some voice to the coloured and black population in the Cape, but none elsewhere. In London, a black and coloured delegation, which had raised objections to the political colour-bar, was listened to with sympathy, but the constitution of the Union was seen as a question to be decided by South African whites. There were some prominent white South African politicians who opposed the colour-bar in politics; indeed, throughout twentieth-century South African history there have been a number of distinguished whites, from Walter Stanford early in the century to Mrs Helen Suzman in our own time, who have spoken for the rights of the other races in parliament, but they have been a small minority. The only safeguards London had provided for black people when the Union was formed was to retain British protectorates over Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland, which were to continue unless their black inhabitants consented to incorporation in the Union. This the populations did not want and Britain rejected South African attempts to incorporate them. They eventually became independent – Basutoland as Lesotho and Bechuanaland as Botswana in 1966, and Swaziland in 1968 – though all three countries are nevertheless wholly dependent on the South African economy. The limited voting rights (they entitled black people to white representation only) which black and coloured people enjoyed in the Cape province, as confirmed by the Act of Union, were abolished for black Africans in 1936 and for the coloured citizens, in practice, in 1955. Whatever differences existed between the white political parties in other matters, in their attitudes to non-whites they were broadly similar. They abhorred intermarriage between the races; they were determined to maintain white domination and government; the black African was to be denied equal political and economic rights; his role was to serve the white state. The policy followed was called ‘segregation’, a forerunner of apartheid. Early in the history of the Union, legislation was enacted which made it clear that the path of South African development would not be towards common goals for all its peoples without regard to colour. The 1913 Native Land Act made it illegal for black people to buy or lease land outside the overcrowded designated African reserve areas. In the greater part of South Africa they were thus deprived of a fundamental right of all citizens of a country, ownership of land. The Act was not rigidly applied, except in the Orange Free State, but the principle of such discrimination was here clearly enshrined in law. The Native Urban Area Act ten years later segregated the black from the white population in towns. It had been prompted by the unsanitary conditions of black housing and the fear that disease would spread to whites. But, in laying down the government’s right not only to segregate but to control the numbers of black people allowed to live in towns, it formed the basis, together with the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936, of the whole post-1948 apartheid structure. The year 1948 marked a turning point in African politics. Before the Second World War, from 1933 to 1939, the radical and the more moderate wings of Afrikaner politics had come together to create the United Party, which formed a government. The prime minister was General Hertzog, and the statesman General Jan Smuts was a deputy prime minister. Not all Afrikaners accepted the fusion. A small group led by F. Malan formed a ‘purified’ National Party in 1934, to which the racist ideology of Hitler’s National Socialism particularly appealed. Afrikaner nationalism was strengthened by the Second World War. Hertzog split the United Party in 1939, because he wanted to opt for neutrality, while Jan Smuts narrowly carried parliament into entering the war with the other Commonwealth countries. The war itself obscured the strength of Afrikaner nationalism. Some extreme pro-German Afrikaners were interned, but the majority of South Africans, Afrikaner and English, fought against the Nazis. Smuts seemed completely dominant. Yet Malan, with considerable skill, nurtured a small reunified National Party. Once the war was over, the unambiguous race policy of the Afrikaner National Party – the policy of apartheid – confronted the liberalising sentiments of Smuts’s United Party and gave the Malan party a bare majority in the 1948 election, despite Smuts’s enormous prestige. Smuts died in 1950 and the United Party fell into a decline. The Nationalist Party’s majority increased with every election until the 1980s. After 1948, the political, social and economic development of South Africa was (until 1990) based on apartheid, which had the support of a large majority of the white population but was opposed with increasing vehemence by black people. For sixteen years Dr Henrik Verwoerd was the architect of the apartheid structure, first as minister of native affairs from 1950 to 1958 and then as prime minister until 1966. He elaborated and adjusted to modern conditions the laws underpinning the maintenance of white supremacy in a society that was segregated with increasing strictness. He, in turn, after his assassination by a crazed white, was succeeded by B. J. Vorster, who remained prime minister until 1978. Proponents of apartheid even claimed that the system was supported by the law of God, according to the teachings of the Dutch Reformed Church. Each race should be kept pure and allowed to develop its own national existence. But the assumption behind all this was that the different races were not of equal worth. The White Afrikaner belonged to a Herrenvolk. What made apartheid so offensive and unacceptable to world opinion were the lessons learnt from the actions of that other prophet of a master race, Adolf Hitler. His master race had murdered and enslaved millions belonging to ‘inferior’ races. It would not be accurate to claim exact parallels between the policies followed by the governments of South Africa and Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, after the events of the Second World War no ideology of unequal races could win respect. UN membership is composed largely of non-white nations, as is the British Commonwealth. Paradoxically, by insisting on separate black and white development, apartheid stimulated black nationalism and encouraged the development of a separate black power base. When in 1990 the white political leadership recognised this danger and opened the National Party to black membership, it was too late to undo the harm done by the decades of racially divided political power. The doctrine of apartheid went far beyond political segregation, of course. Blood laws very similar to the notorious Nazi Nürnberg laws of 1935 were passed in 1949 and 1950, forbidding mixed marriages and sexual relations (outside already existing marriages) between whites and non-whites. In parallel, the Population Registration Act of 1949 classified each individual into his or her racial group – white, black, coloured or Asian. The Nazis, to distinguish Jews from Aryans, focused on the religion of the four grandparents. But since the black Africans were as Christian as the whites, the South African Nationalist Party could make judgements only according to appearance: the curl of the hair, the colour of the skin. Some ‘doubtful’ cases slipped into a ‘better’ category, and every year there were appeals for ‘regradings’. One reason for this categorisation in 1949 was that such ‘slippage’ could be controlled once everyone had been duly classified according to race. The pass laws were also tightened in 1952. Every non-white was obliged to carry a pass indicating his or her race and where he or she was authorised to work and live. Black people were not allowed to live in white towns unless born there or unless they had worked there for a number of years already. Illegal squatters in town and country could be forcibly removed. In 1953 the Bantu Education Act separated black education and prescribed a schooling suitable for the lowly positions black citizens could occupy in South African society. Many of the segregationist laws also applied to Indians and coloured people. To enforce all the apartheid laws, large and small, the government needed to control the population and crush opposition. By the Suppression of Communism Act 1950, the government virtually turned South Africa into a police state. The label ‘communism’ could be stretched almost infinitely to encompass opposition to government policies. For instance, it enabled the government to move against multiracial trade unions even before they were banned in 1957. Black, coloured and Asian people had been organising themselves into protest movements since early in the twentieth century. In 1912 the African National Congress (or ANC – so named in 1923) was founded by Pixly Ka Izaka Seme, a Zulu lawyer educated at Columbia and Oxford Universities and the Middle Temple. His voice was one of moderation and reason, not seeking confrontation but confident that the franchise would be extended to the relatively small number of ‘civilised’ black Africans. It was not. During the depression between the wars the ANC backed black strikes and launched protest movements against the pass laws. But the government was too strong and was able to emasculate the ANC by mass arrests. There were also congresses of unity between the non-white organisations; tragically there has also been much tension and conflict between black people and Indians. In 1942, a section of the ANC – the Youth League – adopted a more militant outlook. In the early 1950s, Indians and black people once more cooperated in defiance of the unjust laws. But the government always had the political strength to put down strikes and mass protests by using force and arresting and trying thousands. This simply increased militancy. While the ANC continued to cooperate with Indians and communists and socialist whites, a split occurred in 1958 and a rival black organisation was founded, the Pan- Africanist Congress, which objected to such links. Early in 1960 both the ANC and the PAC launched a mass campaign against the pass laws. On 21 March 1960, in the small town of Sharpeville, whose name was to reverberate around the world, a large crowd assembled outside the police station. Although the people were not violent, the police panicked and opened fire, killing sixty-nine black people and injuring another 180. In most, though not all, towns black demonstrations were dispersed without deaths. Pictures of what became known as the Sharpeville massacre were flashed around South Africa and out to a shocked world. Black people began to stay at home, away from work. The government came down as usual with great severity and declared the ANC and PAC illegal organisations. Thousands were detained and later sentenced to prison. Prime Minister Verwoerd also declared a state of emergency. Not long after, a mentally disturbed white man shot the prime minister in the head, badly injuring him and heightening the crisis atmosphere. That autumn white voters approved a proposal to turn South Africa into a republic, thus cutting the last link with Britain. In 1961, South Africa left the Commonwealth, anticipating the refusal of the Commonwealth prime ministers to allow it to remain a member. In the aftermath of Sharpeville, the black protest movement formed a new National Action Council to work non-violently against apartheid, and in 1961 it chose a young black lawyer named Nelson Mandela as its leader. A strike was called. More was needed than peaceful protests to persuade white South Africa to grant rights to the black Africans. Mandela went underground and organised an active militant wing of the ANC – the Spear of the Nation. Its intention was to sabotage installations without causing injury to people. Meanwhile, the banned ANC established its headquarters outside South Africa in Zambia. Mandela was caught in August 1962 and in 1964 was sentenced to life imprisonment with other militant ANC leaders. His political trial earned him worldwide admiration. The South African authorities attempted to smear him as a communist working for Russia. That became the line adopted to condemn all black efforts to defeat injustice. Yet Mandela’s words at his trial had expressed a different ideal; he spoke of a: democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities . . . It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve, but if need be, an ideal for which I am prepared to die. Mandela became an inspiration for black Africans, though he was completely shut off from them for twenty-eight years, twenty of them in the harsh conditions of Robben Island. The white leaders of the independent South African Republic from 1960 onwards tried to promote a more positive image of their policies. ‘Apartheid’ was dropped in favour of what was called ‘separate development’. The new policy was to develop the black reserves into ‘homelands’ and eventually into ‘independent’ black nations, which of course would remain totally dependent for their livelihood on South Africa. Then the whites would be able to claim that they were ‘democratic’ and no longer denying black people political rights, for these they would enjoy in their own nations. The homelands, or bantustans, were fragmented regions of land quite incapable of accommodating or sustaining the majority of the South African black population. Yet, by making every black a citizen of a bantustan whether he lived there or in the Republic, the black majority in the Republic would be turned into migrants who were not entitled to political rights there. In the 1960s and 1970s this policy was pushed vigorously ahead. Self-government and later ‘independence’ were bestowed on Transkei in 1976, on Bophutatswana in 1977, on Venda in 1979 and on Ciskei in 1981. The international community has refused to recognise their independence. Six other states have been granted self-government but not independence. The most important was KwaZulu; its chief minister Mangosuthu Buthelezi wished to maintain regional autonomy in a South Africa with majority black rule. He has worked within the law to assert black rights. He rejected the socialist ideology of the ANC and is determined to maintain Zulu separateness in increasingly bitter struggles with the ANC. Some attempt was made in the 1960s and 1970s to improve conditions in the homelands by increasing government spending. Although there is a certain amount of industry and trade to provide a livelihood for the black Africans, most of them must find employment in the Republic, either as immigrant workers from the bantustans or as permitted residents in townships. The migrant worker is often separated from his family for long periods but the earnings he remits home constituted in the mid-1980s nearly half the income of the so-called black nations. Continuous repression by the police has seen the forcible removal of some 3.5 million black people to their bantustans. Bantustans and the banning of the ANC did not solve South Africa’s problem, even though police repression and the military power of white Africa made a black seizure of power impossible. Black leaders continued to organise movements against the whole system. One of these, a nonwhite student movement led by Steve Biko, had much success, advocating black consciousness and non-cooperation with whites. Biko was arrested by police in 1977 and his death in custody, after brutal police interrogation, further damaged the Republic’s reputation. From their exile, the fragmented black militant opposition, the ANC and the PAC, were able to perform some acts of sabotage; as guerrillas they were ineffective, but they kept the whole question of black political and economic rights on the agenda of South African politics. Unrest which broke out among black people in the overcrowded townships, such as Soweto outside Johannesburg, owed less to black political organisation than to black resentments. Like the rest of the world, the South African economy suffered from the recession of the mid-1970s. Recession always hits the black population hardest and in 1973 there were massive black strikes. After Sharpeville, Soweto came to stand for the worst aspects of white repression. In 1976, in Soweto, schoolchildren began demonstrating against being forced to use Afrikaans as the medium of instruction. On 16 June, 15,000 black schoolchildren and youths gathered together. The police fired on them to disperse them, killing twenty-five and wounding many more. A wave of black protest swept the country. It was crushed, but not eliminated – only driven underground. The black Africans could not be pacified, however many thousands were imprisoned. The 1980s were dominated by the imperious President P. W. Botha, who became more authoritarian as he grew older and earned the less than flattering epithet, Die Groot Krokodil. The doctrine of a purist apartheid was being discarded by the majority of the white population as impractical and unenforceable in a South Africa that required millions of black people to work with whites in the modern economy. Even Botha, on becoming president in 1979, had accepted that the whites would have to adapt. During the Botha years of the 1980s, a policy of relaxing some of the aspects of apartheid went hand in hand with military and police repression against black political organisations in forceful displays of white supremacy. Police beat demonstrators with sticks and whips, and occasionally shot them. The years 1985 and 1986 were filled with protests, violence and thousands of arrests. Botha introduced a state of emergency. Violence in the black townships could not be controlled by any responsible black political organisations, because the security services had ensured that they could not operate coherently inside the Republic with most of their leaders in prison and some 20,000 black people, many of them children, detained for months in 1987. Protest organisations were fragmented and black people also killed black people, accusing them of collaborating or just because they belonged to a different group. When law and order break down, genuine protest and the struggle for freedom become inextricably mixed up with arson, crime and gang warfare. This allowed the government to claim that the black movement was both criminal and communist. As Botha carried through a ruthless policy of repression, he also began to amend some of the 200-odd apartheid laws and regulations. In 1979, black Africans were allowed for the first time to join official trade unions; the entry of black people into towns and their right to take up new jobs were made easier by the abolition of the pass books in 1986. But these moves did not touch the fundamental pillars on which white supremacy rested, of which the most crucial was political power. The complex new constitution introduced by Botha in 1984 established separate Asian, coloured and white parliamentary assemblies while leaving ultimate power in white hands, but it satisfied no one least of all the majority of the black people, who were not represented at all. International business unease and some tightening of international sanctions in 1986 also increased pressure. More importantly in the course of the 1980s the majority of whites came to recognise that some fundamental changes had to come, however much they were disliked by the majority. The old white–black relationship, which had frequently involved caring bonds between black nannies and white children or between paternalistic employers and their workers, was at best an unequal master–servant tie based on the distinction of race. It was as out of place in modern South Africa as the master–servant relations between rich and poor in Victorian England. The black population was no longer composed of semi-literate unskilled workers. There was a growing number, albeit still small, of skilled, professional and middle-class black people, some of them driving BMWs. The Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu was black. The total exclusion of black people from the government system became increasingly impossible to justify. It was these doubts growing throughout the 1980s among a majority of the white community about apartheid, rather than the opposition from the small white minority that for many years had fought for black rights, that cracked a system which could otherwise have been upheld by the military force the whites commanded. The outside world had helped, but these internal changes of attitude were more vital. The Dutch Reformed Church no longer supported apartheid but condemned it as irreconcilable with Christian ethics. White South Africans in the early 1990s tended to feel apprehensive about a future that would be very different from the past once the black majority had gained power, but most were resigned to it. The task, as they saw it, was to make the best of it, to entrench some white rights and to guard the Republic against a black backlash and radical socialist experiments. South Africa was at the crossroads. In 1989, it found in two remarkable men the leadership to help guide the country out of its impasse of violence and bloodshed. In September 1989 F. W. de Klerk was inaugurated as president in succession to Botha. He had a reputation for caution and was thought to be in tune with Botha’s approach of dealing with South Africa’s problems by a mixture of reform and repression. As education minister he had introduced the requirement of Afrikaans instruction in black schools, which led to the Soweto outbreak and the school boycott in 1976. The Nationalist Party which elected him could regard him as a safe choice. But in only a short time de Klerk charted a new course of reform and serious negotiations with black leaders. In February 1990 he lifted the bans on the ANC and on the PAC, prohibited since Sharpeville in 1960; to general astonishment he also repealed the even older prohibition on the South African Communist Party, which was working with the ANC. President de Klerk’s partner in the forthcoming negotiations was Nelson Mandela, unconditionally released, to a rapturous welcome, on 11 February 1990 after twenty-seven years in prison. Soon afterwards, in May, substantive negotiations between Mandela, the ANC leadership and de Klerk began. Early progress was rapid and in August the ANC announced that they were suspending the ‘armed struggle’. Neither de Klerk nor Mandela, of course, had a free hand. In the first place Mandela had to work with the collective leadership of the ANC. Nor could he claim to speak for all black people. Chief Buthelezi, representing mainly Zulus and his Inkatha movement, had followed a separate approach to African rights within Africa for many years. A black leadership power struggle, looking beyond the end of white majority rule, led to bloodshed between Inkatha and the ANC. Buthelezi with 1.5 million followers was not prepared to be pushed aside. The smaller Pan-African Congress was also suspicious of the ANC and its left-wing outlook and was less prepared to compromise with white South Africa, but it could count only on minority support among black Africans. The black so-called homelands, with ‘governments’ and administrators of their own, backed up by the administration in Pretoria, had created self-interested groups in favour of maintaining the status quo. In any settlement they knew they would vanish. Differences of wealth as much as tribal differences also divided black interests. World attention was fixed on Mandela, whose dignified leadership, free from rancour against his former white jailers, had earned him worldwide admiration. In any settlements, other non-white leaders would also play a part, including those of the coloured and the Indian populations. The ANC, the largest African political organisation, however, could claim to speak for the majority of black Africans. De Klerk’s first hurdle was that not only had he to reach a settlement with black leaders but he also had to carry his own National Party and the white community with him. Rather more than a quarter of former supporters opposed him, ranging from militant white racialists with neo-Nazi emblems to Afrikaners who claimed they were ready to trek again to establish a pure Afrikaner republic in one of the distant corners of the Union. The business community was fearful of the ANC’s communist alliance. The threat of confiscation of white property and of nationalisation of South Africa’s industries, mines and financial institutions lessened after 1990 with the collapse of Soviet-style command economies. Even so, a black majority government would wish to improve black standards of living and conditions of work as rapidly as possible. Such an aim suggested an active, interventionist government, rather than one following free-market, laissez-faire policies. The upsurge of black violence, though directed against other black people, was also fuelled by rogue elements in the South African police and intelligence services; it raised the awful spectre of a complete breakdown of law and order. If black aspirations could not be satisfied, would black Africans turn on the better-off whites? How were white minority rights to be safeguarded against a black majority? The difficult task of reaching political settlement had to address these concerns and others. There were sections of the white population determined to derail the negotiations. Some sinister elements in the South African security services and police exploited the hostility between the ANC and Inkatha and themselves fomented violence. In the past, moreover, Inkatha had received financial support from government sources. There is white as well as black violence. The ANC accused de Klerk of double dealing, of not doing enough to stop the violence. If de Klerk was sincere in his efforts, and it was difficult to doubt this seriously, then clearly he had enormous difficulty in controlling all that was done in the name of the government. De Klerk began by dismantling minor apartheid laws which prevented black people mixing with whites socially on beaches and elsewhere. The ANC and PAC were recognised as political organisations and were no longer defined as terrorists. Their leaders were released from prison. Over a period of three years, by the middle of 1992, the whole legal system of apartheid was repealed. But the social and economic effects of the system did not thereby disappear overnight. Discrimination of more than a century had left the great majority of black Africans in a depressed and severely disadvantaged position in housing, in training and education, in the provision of social services, in employment, in health, in income – in every aspect of life. Violent clashes in the early 1990s between Inkatha and ANC supporters and in the homelands resulted in several thousand deaths and threatened to undermine further progress towards a settlement and transitional government. President de Klerk, who was blamed for the violence by the ANC, succeeded in calling a ‘peace conference’ in September 1991, which was attended by the Inkatha Freedom Party, the ANC and the National Party. But, despite a ‘national peace accord’ which set up procedures to contain violence, the bloody clashes continued. Nevertheless, the negotiating sessions, periodically broken off by the ANC in protest at the violence, had made solid progress. In December 1991 representatives of nineteen political groups of all races created a Convention for a Democratic South Africa, CODESA for short, which began work on establishing how an interim government of national unity might be formed and a parliament or assembly called whose task it would be to agree a constitution. The gap between the ANC’s demand for majority rule and de Klerk’s desire for a more decentralised state founded on the power-sharing principle, no majority being able to override a minority, remained the major obstacle to a settlement. In economic policy Mandela had reassured whites that there was no plan to nationalise everything. A significant step forward was taken in March 1992 when in a nationwide referendum of white South Africans de Klerk gained a large majority in favour of his policy of reform and of sharing power with black people. CODESA was the best hope of resolving existing differences about how to create a new constitutional South Africa. To put more pressure on the government, the ANC launched ‘mass action’ to end white rule. The protest campaign led to more bloodshed, lawlessness and violence. White South Africa was in 1992 in the throes of recession, with at least a third of the black population unemployed; the potential for an ever-escalating violence undermining the process towards a negotiated peaceful settlement was great. But the majority of black Africans had accepted the leadership of Mandela, who was striving for a just settlement with de Klerk. They also knew that de Klerk was the one white political leader who could deliver it and carry white South Africa with him. A deal was struck in the spring of 1993. De Klerk abandoned the principle of power sharing and Mandela agreed to the postponement of undiluted one man one vote majority rule until 1999. A new constitution was drafted meanwhile by a constituent assembly and an interim national unity government was set up. Nelson Mandela towers over Africa’s other leaders. The peaceful negotiated transfer of power from whites to the black majority of South Africa was a landmark in the history of the country. The white population still controlled the military and the police force, but Mandela and the African National Congress were able to convince the white leadership that they sought not revenge for the decades of oppression they had suffered but a new start heralded by compromise and reconciliation. That alone made the transfer of power possible. Twenty-eight million black Africans were enfranchised, and in April 1994 waited patiently in long lines to vote in the first nonracially divided elections. The ANC emerged as victors, with 62.6 per cent of the national vote, and Mandela was installed as president of South Africa. The worst outbreaks of violence had been not between white and black Africans but between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party led by the Zulu Chief Buthelezi. For years the apartheid governments had encouraged this split and promoted violence and murder. The hatreds persisted and the conflict claimed more than 10,000 lives. But with de Klerk as deputy, Mandela began the dificult task of charting South Africa’s future. In May 1996 the National Party withdrew from the coalition with the ANC after a new democratic constitution was passed by parliament. Apartheid was abolished but in other respects the changes did not bring immediate benefits to the African people. The ANC’s Reconstruction and Development Programme, with its huge spending plans for housing, education and agriculture only made slow progress, although free primary health care was introduced and the economy is expanding slowly, especially since socialist planning was abandoned. The disappointment experienced by large sections of the urban poor has produced high crime rates. Apartheid has been dismantled but its legacy continues: economic power remained overwhelmingly in white hands. The small proportion of highly educated blacks have benefitted, but for the great majority of the 46 million South Africans life remains as hard as ever. Mandela lived up to his promise to prevent a backlash against white South Africans. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission – perhaps the most remarkable institution to be set up in the course of the century – began its sessions under the chairmanship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in April 1996. Its mission was to exorcise the hatreds of the apartheid era by granting amnesties for politically motivated crimes, including murder. The televised sessions showed victims and torturers confronting each other as the painful truth was extracted. Policemen admitted to the killing of Steve Biko in 1977; the covert activities of secret military organisations who used assassination and torture to suppress opposition, were uncovered. Black crimes have also been brought to light. The Commission has discharged these tasks with fairness and magnanimity. In June 1999 Mandela retired and Thabo Mbeki was chosen by the African National Congress Party to succeed him. Although the ANC enjoys two-thirds majority in South Africa’s National Assembly, Mbeki has not abused the democratic settlement. Mbeki, while wishing to create a more equitable society between white and black Africans has continued the Mandela tradition of reconciliation between the races. South Africa’s prosperity is dependent on the West and Mbeki has followed a cautious policy in global politics. On the African continent Mbeki is more active, however, sending peacekeeping soldiers to assist the UN. The most problematic aspect is his opposition to outside intervention in Zimbabwe. So far his diplomacy has not softened Mugabe’s corrupt misrule. Most controversial has been Mbeki’s refusal for a long time to acknowledge the true nature of the AIDS disease which is ravaging sub-Saharan Africa. More than 4 million South Africans are infected, one in five of the most sexually active in the 15- to 25-year-old generation. The demographic effects are catastrophic creating orphans and an imbalance between young workers and the old unless the spread can be drastically reduced. Mbeki for long denied the cause of AIDS calling it just one of the diseases of poverty and claiming that drugs could do more harm than good. He saw it as a white man’s way of denigrating Africans. Mandela was outraged and waged a public campaign against Mbeki’s refusal until 2003 to accept the facts. Since 2000 more has been done to educate the young and provide drugs, though not to everyone who needs them. A national plan has begun to emerge but progress is painfully slow. As the 1990s began the south-western region of the African continent had been the scene of continuous bloodshed and of international involvement since the 1960s. In Angola the Cold War and the post-independence conflicts between rival black movements, which had fought the Portuguese before independence in November 1975, inflicted devastation on the country. South Africa became heavily involved in the civil war for ideological and racial reasons and in order to retain its grip on Namibia. It was a devilish brew. Parts of the interlocking conflicts were finally resolved when Namibia gained its independence in 1990 and South Africa withdrew. International intervention, spearheaded by the United Nations, had led to a measure of success in the pacification of this region of Africa. In Angola the three independence movements – the National Liberation Front (FNLA), the National Union for Independence (UNITA) and the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) – started fighting each other soon after independence was gained in 1975. It was a power conflict with strong ethnic influences. The MPLA was a Marxist organisation that tried to appeal across tribal divisions; the FNLA in the north-west of Angola drew support from the Bakongo tribe; while the most formidable resistance against the MPLA was organised from southern Angola by Dr Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA, his support founded on the largest tribe, the Ovimbundu. The FNLA and Savimbi courted South Africa and the West for support against communism. Troops from outside the African continent were sent in 1976 to help the MPLA to defeat UNITA and the FNLA. By arrangement with Moscow, Cuban troops began to arrive and at the close of the 1980s were 50,000 strong. Thus the Cold War was extended to exacerbate the bloody conflict in the region. After continuous fighting the Angolans and Cubans were unable to overcome the South African-backed UNITA; South Africa’s support for the FNLA and UNITA was bound up with its occupation of Namibia. But after 1989 South Africa became increasingly anxious to disengage from Angola. In May 1991 a peace accord was finally signed in Lisbon. The Portuguese, the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity, the US and the Soviet Union had all acted as mediators. It would take many years to rebuild the devastated country if peace could only be maintained. In September 1992, as part of the peace accord, general elections were held, monitored by the UN. José Eduardo’s Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) won 58 per cent of the congressional seats. Savimbi and his supporters (UNITA) refused to accept the result. His well-armed guerrillas resumed the civil war. The Cold War sponsors have withdrawn their support from the respective warring sides, but neither this, nor the destitution of the people and the destruction of the country, seemed likely to guarantee a peaceful compromise. For some 3 million Ovimbundus UNITA remained their cause and the MPLA an implacable foe. Peace only became possible after the killing of Jonas Savimbi in February 2002 and the defeats UNITA had suffered. In April the difficult transition began assembling UNITA soldiers in camps where they were supposed to disarm and then return to civilian life. Four million people were displaced from their homes; the UN here too is fulfilling a thankless role to help maintain the peace and provide basic support to stave off famine. There is little work or future for the majority of families in the shattered countryside. The one-party state relies on its oil revenues, but is blighted by corruption and still has to make good decades of civil war. Namibia had been the German colony of South- West Africa until the close of the First World War, when it was handed over to South Africa under a League of Nations mandate. In 1966 the United Nations revoked the mandate, and in 1969 the Security Council again called on South Africa to withdraw. The Western powers were not prepared to force South Africa out – its gold mines and economy, its strategic importance and its anticommunist stance ensured that its survival was vital to the West, more vital than Namibia. Britain in particular was lukewarm about sanctions and about any other undue pressure, even while condemning apartheid. A resistance movement, the South-West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO), began guerrilla operations against South Africa in 1966, backed by Angola’s MPLA after 1975. South Africa mounted offensives into southern Angola in a vain effort to destroy SWAPO. The stalemate gradually wore down the will of the contestants. The United Nations headed a peace mission which, in December 1988, reached a settlement over the future of Namibia. South Africa agreed to withdraw its troops and to give up Namibia, provided the Cuban troops withdrew from Angola. The Cold War had been removed from the contest. SWAPO won the general election held under UN supervision in November 1989, and the SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma formed a government when Namibia gained its independence in 1990. Namibia is largely composed of desert but it has valuable resources of uranium and diamonds. The SWAPO-led government followed a policy of moderation: members of other parties were included in the administration, and the 70,000 whites were not dispossessed. Moreover, South Africa left behind a good infrastructure, so Namibia had a promising future if internal peace continued to prevail. But no solution had been found to the problem of settling the landless former SWAPO fighters who returned to the country from Angola. In 2003 Nujoma became more strident threatening to expropriate white South African and German farmers. But moderation has prevailed; despite applauding Mugabe, Nujoma has not copied his tactics. In Portugal’s other former colony, Mozambique, there was little prospect for a better future; until 1990, no major international peacekeeping effort had been made, partly because the Cold War did not impinge with the same intensity as it did in Angola, and partly because Mozambique has no important resources like Angola’s oil. The Soviet Union and China sent aid and technical assistance, but no troops from the Eastern bloc were introduced. Although the post-independence government of the victorious liberation movement, Frelimo, was Marxist, there was always a tussle between the hardliners and the pragmatists. The flamboyant first president, Samora Machel, who was killed in an air crash in 1986, was succeeded by the more moderate Joaquim Chissano, who enjoyed much Western sympathy. Mozambique has been subject to the depredations of the Mozambique National Resistance (MNR), set up in 1976 by the Rhodesian intelligence service. In 1980, the MNR moved its bases to South Africa. As in Angola, South African intervention has been racial in motivation, to maintain white South African supremacy and to restrict the activities of the African National Congress. Although the ANC had no military bases in Mozambique but trained in Angola and Tanzania, Mozambique was the transit route used for guerrilla incursions into South Africa. South Africa retaliated by supporting the MNR. In 1984 President Machel tried to win South African support by refusing the ANC transit. But this treaty of ‘non-aggression and good neighbourliness’ had little impact on conditions in Mozambique. The civil war raged on, with brutalities and atrocities perpetrated against the civilians caught up in it. One million refugees fled to Mali, a quarter of a million camped beside the two railway lines running from Zimbabwe to the sea. Famine threatening half the 16 million people in Mozambique added to the huge death toll. In 1990 the efforts of mediators from Kenya and Zimbabwe and the international community succeeded in bringing the Frelimo government and the MNR to the negotiating table, Frelimo having abandoned Marxism–Leninism. In 1993 the situation looked more hopeful than in Angola; a ceasefire and UN-supervised elections established peace; the discovery of oil should have helped repair some of the devastation. Africa is in crisis. Independence had not brought the hoped-for benefits in the longer term. Political freedom had not altered economic fundamentals. Dependent on world prices for their primary export products – coffee, cotton, cocoa, palm oil and minerals such as copper – Africans remained poor during the last quarter of the twentieth century, though there were a few good years. During the good years the West lent money for development, but after modest advances in the 1960s the huge rises in oil prices in the 1970s contributed to stagnation and decline as the nations struggled with mountains of debt and falling earnings from what they produced, nor in countries blessed with oil like Nigeria and Angola did the people benefit as corruption siphoned off the earnings. During the 1980s African development went into reverse. But this was not solely due to world economic conditions. Africa’s nations have airlines and some splendid public buildings but these are mere symbols of nationhood. Since their borders were based on European colonial partitions, tribal, cultural and religious differences run like fault-lines through many of the forty-seven African nations – faultlines which, at their most extreme, have caused civil war, as they have in Nigeria. As the 1990s began, civil war raged seemingly without end in the Sudan, as it had since independence. At best, tribal conflicts made it difficult to create functioning states founded on representative govern- ment – this was true of Zimbabwe. In South Africa the fighting between the Inkatha Zulubased black movement and the ANC was just one of the more serious obstacles to creating a nonracist nation. The widening gulf between the few who were rich and the poor masses made any genuine democracy difficult to achieve. Survival rather than representative government was the people’s first concern. Survival in the conditions prevailing in Africa required ingenuity, breaking laws when necessary, taking advantage of patronage and deals, engaging in bribes in return for favours. To overcome the divisiveness within the African nations, strongmen with their own tribal base and with military backing became a common post-colonial feature, only to exacerbate that very divisiveness. A few authoritarian rulers, after almost three decades, survived into the 1990s: Mobutu in the Congo, Houphouët-Boigny in the Ivory Coast and Hastings Banda in Malawi, but old age and political change had removed the fathers of other nations. President Kaunda of Zambia, twenty-seven years in power after independence in 1964, allowed himself in 1991 to be elected out of office – a rare occurrence in Africa. President Nyerere made a dignified voluntary exit, unlike President Barre of Somalia, who was overthrown by rebels. Many years of unchallengeable and uninterrupted power inevitably bred corruption and the patronage of a favoured tribe. Bureaucracies on state payrolls became swollen, though soldiers’ pay tends to have priority – when it runs out, as it did in the Congo, anarchy threatens. Western loans did little to promote sound development, and much of the money was wasted. Now black Africa is saddled with a debt mountain. Meanwhile, some African leaders enriched themselves, living in luxury and misappropriating their country’s earnings, to be secreted in bank accounts abroad. African nations also embarked on unsuitable economic policies which, in the end, were disastrous. Central planning and state ownership caused a deterioration in what had previously been more efficiently managed in private hands. Nor did the dash for growth through industrialisation result in products that could compete internationally. Agriculture was neglected and prices of farm produce kept artificially low. The authorities’ emphasis on cash crops for exports meant that food for the people was neglected. Economic growth in the 1980s was among the lowest of the world’s underdeveloped nations. The European Union with its subsidised markets grieviously hurt African farmers. In sub-Saharan Africa food production actually fell by a fifth in the two decades after 1970, but the population was increasing annually by more than 3 per cent and by the 1990s had reached 530 million. Drought, famine and wars had created millions of refugees; those who survived ended up in camps dependent on Western charitable aid. Yet, despite man-made disasters, AIDS and the calamities of nature, the population of Africa would continue to increase rapidly. The end of the Cold War also had an enormous impact, for both good and bad. The superpower antagonists no longer jockeyed for influence in Africa or bribed leaders with their favourite imports – weapons. They no longer backed opposing sides in civil wars, thereby engaging in power struggles by proxy. The conclusion of the Cold War also meant that less interest was now shown in propping up nations or ending ruinous civil conflicts: economic reforms and restructuring were insisted on before more aid was granted. In countries with living standards as low as those in Africa, what was right in textbook theory could be politically disastrous and lead to mass unrest when subsidised food became too dear. Transition from authoritarian rule to democracy is not a smooth process anywhere. Africa, where old tribal rivalries and political conflicts have long been suppressed, is no exception. When the strongman or the one-party state backed by ruthless security forces is toppled, new conflicts – even anarchy – may follow. There was a positive side as the twentieth century moved into its last decade: some civil wars, such as that in Namibia, ended. There emerged black leaders of wisdom and humanity like Nelson Mandela, who assured South Africa of a better future. The hope was that the lessons of past mistakes were being learnt. Half a century after the struggles for independence, Africa faced as great a challenge again to alleviate the consequences of civil wars, to prevent new conflicts from breaking out, to end those still in progress, to feed the people and to match the growth of population with development best suited to Africa’s needs. That is the hope – even as corruption, wars and famines still deface the continent.

 

 

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