To write about Africa is, in Elspeth Huxley’s view, like trying to sketch a galloping horse: it is out of sight before you have sharpened your pencil. Before the 1950s, for example, there were only two independent states in Black Africa (on which this issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY particularly focuses). When the wind of change swept over the continent it dealt a mortal blow to colonialism, and sent two score new ambassadors from Africa to the United Nations. Within the next 20 years, a tourist industry publication wishfully thinks, the erstwhile dark continent will be “the vacation choice of North Americans,” or, “the world’s next great destination.”
Elsewhere in these pages, Mrs. Traub and Dr. Adeyemo write on different aspects of the situation in Black Africa—a collective designation that covers divergent nations, from Namibia to Somalia, from Mali to Mozambique. The peoples of Africa are not dittoes. In trying here to outline some of the more common problems they face, we have gone to African sources, and are grateful to all who, through publications and addresses, correspondence, and personal conversation, have helped us to see our subject from an African perspective.
1. Political background. Many African states, says Bishop Henry Okulu of Kenya, “are ruled by military dictatorships with every individual’s life expendable at any time the ruler may decide so.” Okulu prophesies that the Western world’s leftward swing will spread to most African countries within two decades because “Africans are by mental make-up socialists.”
Just as significantly, there is still a tendency to think in terms of “after the revolution”—a view encouraged by Communists adept at fishing in troubled waters. The said revolution usually concerns white ...1
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