Africa Finds its Voice

Africa Finds its Voice

No sooner had the upheavals in Asia that followed upon the Second World War begun to subside a little than new and still more elemental social forces made themselves felt in the world. Africa, oldest of the continents in terms of life and perhaps of civilization, has burst into the arena of world affairs with a remarkable vitality and creativeness. This fact alone would justify devoting the bulk of an issue of DISSENT to a special section on Africa.

If “the world’s last great uncommitted area,” to employ Peter Abraham’s description of the African continent, has finally entered the stream of modern history, then vast and revolutionary changes must be underway. And if Africa, hard upon the heels of Asia, has turned against the West which, for two centuries, treated this continent of 250 million people as a source of exploitation and an object of derision, then important revisions in our thinking and our attitudes become imperative.

The European colonial powers, though they painfully and fanatically resist each step, are being forced to recognize emergent Africa as an historical reality. The United States, transfixed by an inflexible policy that has caused it to lag behind and hesitantly acquiesce in traditional colonialism, has made little progress in its bid to inherit influence in colonial Africa through an exertion of its economic strength. At the same time, the weakness of Russian and Communist penetration in Africa provides further favorable circumstances for the growth of the African freedom movements.

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