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Alien Settlerism and the Revolutionary Response in Southern Africa: The Significance of Recent Events

  • Yassin El-Ayouty

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Alien settlerism in Africa may be defined as a system of colonization under which an expatriate white community has set itself up as sole possessor of power and sovereignty regardless of the usual status of a numerically inferior group as a minority. Within this definition, the settlers in Africa represent the remnants of foreign invasions from overseas (England, France, Portugal, Spain) which, having receded to their European shores, left behind distinct patterns of legal, political, economic and social oppression of the indigenous populations.

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1 For a cogent analysis of the similarities between the features governing settlerism in Africa and those of Zionist settlerism in the Middle East, see Abu-Lughod, Ibrahim and Abu-Laban, Baha, eds., Settler Regimes in Africa and the Middle East (Evanston, Illinois: Medina Press, 1974).

2 UN document. Resolutions of the United Nations General Assem bly, 29th Session, resolution 3314 (XXIX), 14 December 1974, Annex entitled “Definition of Repression,” Article 7.

3 These figures are derived from several sources, the most important of which are the reports of the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, popularly referred to as the Special Committee of 24, which appear as part of the UN document series under A/AC.109.

4 Under the Emergency Regulations, the Southern Rhodesián “Min ister” of Justice, Law and Order, has been empowered since 1966 to detain any person “if it appears to the Minister that the detention of [that] person is in the public interest.”

5 Report of the Courts Inquiry Commission, 1971 (Salisbury: Government Printer, 1971).

6 See “The United Nations and African Wars of National Liberation,” in El-Ayouty, Yassin and Brooks, Hugh C., eds., Africa and International Organization (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1974).

7 Under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

8 1975 will witness the independence of Mozambique (25 June), Cape Verde (5 July), Sao Tome and Principe (12 July), and Angola (11 November).

9 UN document. Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, 29th Session, resolution 3297 (XXIX), 13 December 1974. The vote was 111 for, none against, and 18 abstention.

10 Ibid., resolution 3295 (XXIX), 13 December 1974. The vote was 112 for, none against, and 15 abstentions.

11 UN Document. Security Council resolution 366 (1974) of 17 December 1974, which was unanimously adopted as document S/RES/366 (1974).

12 Op. cit., resolution 3207 (XXIX), 30 September 1974. The vote was 125 for, one (South Africa) against, and 9 abstentions.

13 Reuters, 11 December 1974.

14 New York Times, 26 December 1974.

15 Ibid., 22 December 1974.

16 Ibid., 16 December 1974.

17 Rhodesia Herald, 10 January 1975.

18 The Times (London), 13 January 1975.

19 As evidenced by the meetings held in Lusaka between the NAC and South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Hilgard Muller, on 9 February 1975 (BBC, 11 February 1975), and the discussion of a possible partial withdrawal of South African forces from Southern Rhodesia (Reuters, 12 February 1975).

20 Summary of World Broadcasts (BBC), 3 January 1975.

21 The Windhoek Advertiser, 2 January 1975. The term “outside organizations” is used by the leaders of the apartheid regime in Pretoria to refer generally to both the United Nations and the OAU.

22 The Star (Johannesburg), 22 January 1975.

23 Although the Ovamboland elections which ended on 20 January 1975 are said to have brought an estimated 55 percent of the voters to the polls (contrasting with 2.8 percent in August 1973), the refusal by SWAPO to take part in those elections and the charges of intimidation of the voters could not make these maneuvers by South Africa credible.

24 The Times (London), 18 January 1975.

25 The message addressed by Liberia’s President, William Tolbert, to UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim concerning the visit by Mr. Vorster and other South African leaders to Monrovia reflects optimism with respect to the present policies of South Africa towards the whole of southern Africa—an optimism which is not borne out by the facts of Pretoria’s actions in both Namibia and South Africa. For the Libérián President’s message, see UN document A/10050 (S/11638), 24 February 1975.

26 There are, at present, definite signs of disagreement within the OAU membership on several issues, including the issue of dialogue with Pretoria. This state of affairs required the calling of an emergency OAU ministerial meeting in Dar es Salaam from 7 to 9 April 1975.

27 In an interview with the Associated Press in Cape Town on 11 February 1975, Prime Minister John Vorster was asked about the UN Security Council’s insistence on South Africa’s withdrawal from Namibia by May 1975. His ambiguous reply was: “We don’t claim South West Africa as our own.”

27 In an interview with the Associated Press in Cape Town on 11 February 1975, Prime Minister John Vorster was asked about the UN Security Council’s insistence on South Africa’s withdrawal from Namibia by May 1975. His ambiguous reply was: “We don’t claim South West Africa as our own.”

28 The Observer (London), 8 December 1974.

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