9. Southern Africa

This is Africa from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Uganda and Kenya southwards.

The kind of rapaciousness of trading companies  described at the foot of the note about Northern Africa affects southern Africa too or more so. Injustices around mineral extraction injure the people of Congo and Zambia especially.

Kenya had a good post-colonial start but has fallen into shameful corruption. Our track record there was good although we didn’t know what to do about the Mau Mau uprising and probably treated it unjustly and probably failed to see its roots in an injustice of land allocation that colonial settlers may not have seen that they were perpetrating. Anyway that’s my provisional understanding.

Uganda suffered under Amin and has not properly settled down. Museveni appeared a virtuous example of how to do things in Africa but he has slipped from proper democracy and treated opponents badly. The Lord’s Resistance Army disturbs the peace in the north and prevents the development of normal rural life and farming. The government needs to get this under control. Hopefully this may be easier now that South Sudan is more settled.

Francophone Africa includes Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, two countries bearing the name Congo, Rwanda and Burundi and west African Territories.  We don’t hear much about them in the UK because their old colonial associations are with France, Spain and Belgium. Violence, tyranny and neglect of the needs of the people are wide spread. We should get to know them more and be active in helping democratically minded people there.

Tanzania’s and Malawi‘s peoples are very poor. Mozambique and Angola speak Portuguese and are emerging from long term strife and starting to prosper. Zimbabwe is famous for its injustices and for the tyranny that its ordinary citizens suffer. South Africa was full of prmise after the statemanship of Mandela and Tutu but this is only partly fulfilled and it would be great to see this country exert a more vigorous healing influence on African affairs generally.

I realise that this only glosses over the issues and omits some countries but the main thing is for us to take the trouble to foster our relations with Africa and its people in a way that includes the politics. Many British people have a heart for Africa but we need to more clearly see the need to improve the politics and that is something we can act on if we keep in touch with individuals there and support them intelligently and promptly when they get into difficulties. This means challenging our government to challenge and help African governments and to make doing so a higher priority in British politics.

And we also need to stop our own multi-national firms and others from the developed world from doing unethical things including taking over utilities that should be in the hands of the people.

You might like to take on a country and do your homework about it and keep in touch with some people there so as to get the feel of the specific needs there… or you may already know such a land and see it in a new light seeing that with energy and ideas we may be able to help locals change things for the better. We need a team on each country, ideally… and perhaps repeated trips to the relevant embassy or high commission.