Africa has come of Age
A particular speech was written for General Muritala Mohammed by Prof Patrick Wilmot of Ahmadu Bello University. It’s called ‘Africa has come of Age’
I counsel you to be well acquainted with such texts because we have understanding by books. And anyone who does not know history is condemned to repeat it.
The article has its written is as follows:
Dear Mr Chairman,
It is of great historical significance that the first extraordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government to be held since the founding of the Organisation of African Unity twelve years ago, is being held on the liberation of Africa. Angola is merely the excuse being used by those who cannot reconcile themselves to the momentous victories of the forces of African nationalism, to assert their neo-colonialist ambitions on the Continent. Angola merely provides the occasion to recreate the nineteenth-century partition of Africa into spheres of influence where the predominant consideration will be the interests of the big powers without any consideration for the inalienable rights of the African. Let us, therefore, make no mistake about the problem which confronts us at this Session: it is not the question of: a simple disagreement, between Angolans requiring a simple solution in the African tradition. Rather, it is a much deeper danger of extra-African powers in collusion with the inhuman and obnoxious apartheid regime in Pretoria trying to frustrate the will of a people who, having sustained a heroic struggle against a most brutal colonialist repression, are on the threshold of a glorious dawn of national self determination. If the neo-colonialists succeed in Angola, then our hopes for South Africa, will have been dashed.
Mr. Chairman, the history of modern Africa is replete with shameless exploitation, brutalisation, repression and downright denial of the humanity of Africans. Side by side with colonialism which sought to deny self determination for the African, there has developed that unique doctrine of apartheid. As the forces of African nationalism began their assault on the bastions of colonialism in Northern, Western and Eastern Africa, the forces of exploitation turned more and more on Southern Africa to make a last ditch stand. An imaginary line beyond which Harold Macmillan’s ‘wind of change‘ would not be permitted to blow was drawn, to be sustained by the unholy alliance which came to be known as the Pretoria-Lisbon-Salisbury axis.
For years the OAU called the attention of the international community to the role of this axis in provoking a potential racial war in Southern Africa which would affect the peace and security of the entire Continent. We analysed the diabolical role of the various points in the axis and implored those whom we knew had influence to put the necessary pressure so as to minimise the unsettling effect of armed confrontation.
First, we called attention to the diabolical role of apartheid. The main elements of that criminal doctrine are too well known to this Assembly to necessitate my detailed analysis. Suffice it to say that the whole rationale behind this doctrine which the United Nations Organisation has aptly condemned as a crime against humanity is the perpetual subjugation of the African in order to create a paradise on earth for the whites. Thus the 4 million whites do not only control all the instruments of government, to the total exclusion of the 18 million Africans, they also inflict on the Africans a repression unparalleled in human history. The Africans are condemned to a life of misery. hunger. disease, in a land literally ﬂowing with milk and honey. They are no more than tools utilised by the white man in the interest of maintaining his high standard of living: as tools they are made to work in the white man’s mines and farms to increase the white man‘s proﬁt; as tools they are discarded and sent to pine away and die in the so—called homelands when they are no longer able to serve as beasts of burden.
Mr. Chairman. when I contemplate the evils of apartheid. my heart bleeds and I am sure the heart of every true blooded African bleeds. When we talk of these evils we are assured of the ‘sympathy’ of the Western countries, but when we call for sanctions to end this shame of Western civilisation, suddenly the glitter of gold in the form of high dividends becomes more convincing a consideration than the lives, the liberty and the well-being of Africans.
The Western Powers have bluntly refused to take any positive action either in the form of military or economic sanctions which will dissuade the regime in Pretoria from pursuing its criminal policy. Rather. they are encouraged to persist through increased investment. military collaboration and other forms of cooperation.
Little wonder therefore that the apartheid regime became so emboldened as to embark on foreign adventures outside the immediate confines of its territory. In order, to create a number of client states around itself. the Pretoria clique encouraged and sustained rebellion of the white minority in Rhodesia against Great Britain. The Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Ian Smith and his fellow conspirators marked the formal extension of apartheid northwards and pushed further South Africa against African nationalists. For not only was Southern Rhodesia showered with economic assistance by apartheid South Africa, she was defended by South African forces working in close collaboration with the Portuguese colonialists. The international community looked helpless as the implementation of United Nations sanctions against the Rhodesian rebels was frustrated by South Africa and Portugal. Moreover. some Western powers, again under the pressure of powerful economic interests in their countries joined in breaking the sanctions, not caring for the effect of their actions on African sensitivities. The most notorious example of this open collaboration for the rape of Africa was the Byrd Amendment which permitted the importation of Rhodesian chrome into the United States. Once again, African weakness was exploited by a super-power which claims worldwide responsibility. but whose actions as far as the African Continent is concerned are motivated by no more than naked economic and ideological self interest.
Having succeeded in installing a puppet regime in Salisbury, the South African regime had no qualms in exporting Apartheid into Namibia, an international territory whose trust territory status was terminated by the-United nations in 1966. Seen as another buffer zone to stem the nationalist tide from the North. Namibia became a pawn in the game of the South African racists whose grand design is a sphere of influence in Southern Africa that will embrace not only the dependent territories under the Lisbon-Pretoria-Salisbury axis but also the independent territories in the area. Were they not daring enough to raid Zambia and Tanzania under the guise of pursuing nationalist guerrilla forces?
Mr Chairman, so long as the fascist regime in Portugal was able to withstand the onslaught of nationalist forces in Mozambique and Angola, so long did the Apartheid regime and their economic backers feel secure. Thus, South Africa saw its fate intimately bound with that of the maintenance of Portuguese oppressive colonialism in these territories. However to their glory, the people of Guinea-Bissau under the PAIGC, the people of Mozambique under FRELIMO, and the people of Angola under the most active of the fighting forces, the MPLA waged a most determined struggle which ended in the collapse of the fascist regime in Lisbon. Thus not only the African in the Portuguese territories was liberated, but through the sacrifice of the African freedom fighter, the metropolitan Portuguese who had endured a most brutal and repressive regime in Lisbon, was also liberated. The new Portuguese regime, faced with the realities of the situation, took the most sensible course and one by one, formula handed power to the peoples of the former territories.
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