This article identifies the successful global anticolonial struggle against racist European rule as “the most significant event of the twentieth century.” Yet the article also sees the economic strength of capitalist countries and corporations as having significantly qualified any such victory—with “neocolonialism” (under American hegemony) and, more recently, “recolonization” (by an increasingly globalized and multicentered capitalism) having reinforced capital's rule in Africa while also further promoting the privileged self-aggrandizement of local elites. John S. Saul draws on the insights of Frantz Fanon and Amilcar Cabral, in particular, to anatomize the “failed liberation” of most African territories, including those in southern Africa, with their marked inability to better the lot of “the wretched of the earth” within their borders being readily apparent. Moreover, this has been as true of South Africa and of the vast mass of that country's black population as it has been elsewhere. The article also registers, however, the widespread popular resistance to such an outcome that has now surfaced there and the demands for a more meaningful “liberation” that this has brought into focus. In sum, while acknowledging the very real accomplishment of southern Africans in liberating themselves from the most heinous forms of Western tyranny, Saul underscores—against the claims of the Nelson Mandelas and the Thabo Mbekis—the relatively shallow nature of the “success” achieved by the antiapartheid and related regional struggles. He then concludes by affirming that a “next liberation struggle” for a more meaningful and inclusive freedom does indeed continue, not least in South Africa itself.
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John S. Saul; The Southern African Victory: Liberation Realized or a Prelude to Recolonization. Radical History Review 1 January 2014; 2014 (119): 7–23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-2401915
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