WE ARE becoming used to the acceleration of political movement in our world. But surely all records of the pace of change have been broken in the continent of Africa during the last few years with the sudden emergence of one state after another from colonial control, or the promise of such emergence in the near future. Whereas the period of "colonialism" for Britain's major white and Asian dependencies could be measured in one or two centuries, her black ones, admittedly immeasurably more backward in every aspect, have run the course from annexation to independence or its threshold in little more than half a century.
As the tide of independence rises until it covers almost the whole of Africa, with some parts clearly on the edge of submergence, certain islands of European control catch the eye. The great majority of the 5,500,000 Europeans who live among the 220,000,000 "native" peoples of Africa are in the two temperate extremities, Algeria in the north, South Africa in the south. Here are long-established European populations which are determined not to allow the indigenous population to take control. Algeria is still under metropolitan rule and there the political settlement waits upon a military decision and upon the mind of General de Gaulle. In South Africa the Nationalist government seems to be sternly marching against the ideas and experience of nearly all the rest of the world, defying economics as it goes, and is apparently bound for disaster. But not yet. The unwavering resolution of a small and lonely nation, which can see no alternative between domination and disaster, may long hold down a black majority which so far shows few signs of being competent at revolution...
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