Days, weeks and Centuries and Africa 1960 to 2010 Part One


This is the 5th Post in this series; It is headlined Part One because it turned out to be too long for one Post and Part Two will follow soon. After that there will only be the final one under the Headline of the World 2010 to 2060. You must read them all.

Just stay with me for a brief glimpse at a few things in some parts of the rest of the World before we get into Africa proper. On New Year’s Day 1960 JFK was running for the White House; in Russia Nikita was firmly in power and Mao Tse-tung [so many spellings of this name in “the West”; we should try and figure it out] in China, Jawaharlal Nehru since the 1947 Independence in India and in the first African Country to take independence in 1957, the Gold Coast to be renamed Ghana, the chosen leader and arch rival of one named Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, was firmly in power with no intention of ever stepping aside. Israel had settled in 1948 and had things under control though with some adversity as was to be expected.

To Africa we go then but with a footnote right at the start. The land mass of Africa happens to be one contiguous continent but consists of two distinctly different parts. Please allow me just one brief explanation.

If I were building a road or a railroad over a distance of 6 000 miles I would choose the shortest route; that would normally be the straightest one. However when I come to a very large rock or a good size chunk of mountain, or a massive river in a ravine so deep that I can’t even see the bottom I am not going to break my head by working out why these things are there or how they got there in the first place. I will simply bypass as much as I have to in order to get around the obstacle and then proceed on the straight route once more.

That is the way I am looking at Africa too. For some or other reason which does not concern me the most Northern part of Africa sometimes by some referred to as the Saharan Part from Morocco on the Western tip to Egypt on the Eastern top [with respect, the often called Arab part] is, though it is contiguous with what is called Sub-Saharan Africa, the two parts are for all practical purposes totally different in not only geography but in the culture and lifestyles of the original inhabitants.

Egypt has always been there and I don’t ever see it going away. I think that Egypt is misjudged at times, often underestimated but indeed a great country in history and her people.

Let’s go to Sub-Saharan Africa.

In Kenya Jomo Kenyatta had just started his purge of the British by killing them. The War in the Belgium Congo started and soon got out of hand with everyone of the many factions trying his utter best to kill as many of the others as fast as they could.

On the 3rd of February 1960 British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan had delivered his ignominious Winds of Change speech in the South African Parliament. At that time Nelson Mandela was on the run from the South African Security police, having previously been kicked out of the University of Fort Hare, tried in Court and sent to prison, but soon escaped with the police hot-footing a few steps behind him for a number of years to arrest him again in August 1962. The Rivonia Treason trial followed in 1963 at which he and many of his cronies were sentenced to life imprisonment.

I must just very briefly jump back to Harold Macmillan’s speech. South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd replied to that speech in Parliament and then acted immediately by announcing a Referendum for South Africa to become an independent Republic free of the British Crown. He won the Referendum on October 10th 1960 and South Africa became an Independent Republic on May 31st 1961. The intention was that South Africa would remain a Member of the British Commonwealth and Verwoerd went to the British Conference to apply for that but when he was shouted down, the great man that he was, he announced the withdrawal of our Application for Commonwealth Membership. Everybody went bananas because as a matter of fact, no country had ever done that to Great Britain before or since.

It was actually quite amusing. After the War the British Crown was devastated but South Africa who had made a big contribution to the War in North Africa while Montgomery and Rommel were chasing or running from each other, and in many parts in lower Europe too, and when the Crown was in financial trouble their colony could advance them a loan of four million ounces of gold and another 8 million in cash a while later. When Swaziland, the other Crown Protectorate was in trouble a while later, South Africa was the one to help out.

It is time to get to Nelson Mandela. Whatever anyone says at this point in time I believe the jury is still out on the man and won’t be returning with any unanimous verdict any time real soon.

What is known is that Mandela hated Nkrumah’s guts for taking the first opportunity of Independence in Sub-Saharan Africa. The egoistic Mandela had always assumed that to be his birthright on the way to become Emperor of the entire Africa. He hated Kwame with a passion and Kwame despised him. That left him, in his eyes, with only one option to get back on track and the crown of the Emperor, that was to kill as many white people as he could in the shortest time possible; he had to be seen as better equipped than Kwame to handle his Empire. There never was any reason for or justification or need for African Independence or majority African Rule in South Africa of the time.

For centuries and later many decades before Ghana the entire Sub-Saharan Africa lay [sat, slept, stretched out, whatever you choose] in the sun and did nothing. The African women tilled as much of the land as they needed to plant some crops; young kids looked after the cattle [all owned by the headman]. The latter consulted with his cronies when to raid the nearest other tribe.

That’s what the white colonists found when they started arriving here just under 400 years ago and that didn’t change much during the first 200 years after the colonists first set foot out here.

To be continued with Part Two.


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2 Responses to “Days, weeks and Centuries and Africa 1960 to 2010 Part One”

  1. JP Says:

    Reblogged this on et cetera* and commented:
    You want knowledge concerning history of the continent of Africa? This fellow and virtual friend IS the source on that knowledge. PERIOD!

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