Jean Cocteau tells the story of a young governess in a school in pre-revolutionary Russia, who found the task of disciplining her turbulent pupils beyond her powers. She therefore hit upon the expedient of persuading her pupils to draw up their own code of behavior, together with their own rules and punishments—a system which she calculated would reduce her work to a minimum. That night, as she went upstairs on her final rounds, an unaccustomed silence reigned. She was about to congratulate herself on the success of the new method when her train of thought was interrupted by the sight of a lifeless child’s body swinging to and fro in the stair well. One of the children had infringed the new rules!
There has been no want of voices to proclaim that the progress of West African states towards self-government will have equally gruesome results. From the dulcet English cadences of Elspeth Huxley to the racially sensationalist expostulations of the South African Stuart Cloe...
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