Courtesy Reuters

Rhodesia in the Context of Southern Africa

The deep and intense anger of Africa on the subject of Southern Rhodesia is by now widely realized. It is not, however, so clearly understood. In consequence, the mutual suspicion which already exists between free African states and nations of the West is in danger of getting very much worse.

Before November 11, 1965, African states, individually and collectively, had frequently expressed their great concern about the position of Southern Rhodesia. But it was only with the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Smith régime that this concern was transformed into impatient wrath. The catalyst of this changed attitude was the rebellion against British sovereignty. This was not because Africa wished Southern Rhodesia to remain a colony; Africa's earlier demands had been for action to end colonialism. Nor was it evidence of a deep-rooted objection to illegality in the anti- colonial struggle. It is a fact that Africa prefers to use constitutional, legal and peaceful methods in the campaigns for national freedom; but if these fail then other methods are accepted. Thus, for example, an Algerian Government-in-Exile was recognized by many African states long before France conceded independence. And at the present time a government-in- exile, headed by Holden Roberto, is recognized by the Organization of African Unity as the rightful authority in Angola, despite the fact that legally Portugal continues to dominate that area. With respect to Southern Rhodesia, Africa's objection is to this particular assumption of authority, not to illegality in general. It would be hypocrisy to pretend otherwise.

The hostility aroused by the Smith declaration of independence is based on rational interpretations of its purpose and its effects in relation to the total legitimate goals of Africa. For this rebellion is not an uprising of the people; it represents an attempt to expand the area, and strengthen the hold in Africa, of doctrines which are inimical to the whole future of freedom in this continent. It represents an advance by the forces of racialism, fascism and, indeed, colonialism in

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