Southern Africa in Transition

April 4, 1975

Report Outline
Efforts to Ease Black-White Problem
Traditions of the White Colonizers
Prospects for Peaceful Transition
Special Focus

Efforts to Ease Black-White Problem

Gathering Drive for Rule by Black Majority

Outlines of a peaceful resolution of the tense social, political and economic problems besetting the white and black societies in the southern tier of African states are beginning to appear. Replacing hostile confrontation is the prospect of new economic cooperation for this huge area, more than half the size of the United States but populated by only some 50–60 million people. In Rhodesia, which is now one key to peace in the region, guerrillas who want to wage “chimurenga” (armed struggle for liberation of the state, which they call Zimbabwe) have observed a cease-fire since December. Despite many obstacles, preparations continue for a constitutional conference to determine that country's future.

A potentially decisive development occurred during the last week of March when the government of Zambia, led by its highly respected President Kenneth D. Kaunda, arrested about 50 leaders of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu). Zanu has actively opposed the cease-fire in Rhodesia and has objected to negotiations with the white minority government of Prime Minister Ian Smith. “News of the Zambian crackdown on the Zimbabwe African National Union hit southern Africa like a bombshell, so unexpected and far-reaching in its implications was the action,” wrote David B. Ottaway in The Washington Post (March 29, 1975). “It immediately raised hopes that the stalled talks between white and black leaders for a settlement of the Rhodesia problem may soon be resumed.”

The revolution in Portugal in April 1974 broke the stalemate which had existed for the past decade between the army and guerrillas in Portugal's African colonies. Mozambique is to become independent on June 25, 1975. And Angola, barring an upset in the schedule caused by persisting differences among rival liberation movements, will celebrate its independence on Nov. 11, 1975. These developments in Portuguese-speaking Africa have been welcomed as a giant stride toward decolonization of the continent. The carefully structured “white buffer zone” around the Republic of South Africa now seems pointless.

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May 22, 1963  Political Turmoil in Southern Africa
Nov. 02, 1960  Tribalism and Nationalism in Africa
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Aug. 20, 1958  Algerian Conflicts
Apr. 09, 1958  White Supremacy in South Africa
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Global Issues
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
Regional Political Affairs: Africa