Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

What The Papers Say

The Guardian, Nigeria

Keeping up the heat on Apartheid

No one can justifiably claim that the liberation process in Southern Africa has not suffered reverses in recent times. This development has arisen as a consequence of three factors. The most important is the further weakening of the independence of African states. The affliction of most African states by a succession of inept and oppressive regimes and the incidences of drought and famine have meant increased thraldom to imperialist and neo-colonialist interests.

Given the mealy-mouthedness of most African regimes to the demands of the liberation struggle, more progressive countries like Tanzania, in the face of acute internal problems, have been forced to kow-tow to such interests as represented by the IMF. The weakened position of Africa is best illustrated by the inability to merely convene a summit of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in spite of repeated attempts over the last three years.

Hot on the heels of the weakened position of African states came the increased danger to the independence of Angola and Mozambique by the apartheid regime's policy of aggression in Southern Africa. This led to the recent peace pacts between these otherwise progressive states and the apartheid regime placing the ANC and SWAPO in the most difficult position since the liberation struggle began. The hounding of ANC partisans from their bases in Mozambique concretely illustrates the current sad state of the liberation struggle.

This development has arisen thanks principally to the present occupant of the American White House whose policy of "constructive engagement" with the apartheid regime is but a euphemism for giving it respectability. In pursuance of this policy, Mr Ronald Reagan has sought to deceive the unwary and to dull the collective consciousness of African governments as to his true intentions with regards to the liberation struggle.

But from America itself came hope last week. At the North American Regional Conference for Action Against Apartheid two influential Americans, Mr Jesse Jackson, the Democractic Party presidential aspirant and Senator Edward Kennedy, denounced in very ringing terms the obfuscatory tactics of the Reagan administration towards South Africa.

Mr Jesse Jackson painted in graphic terms the double standards of the Reagan administration in denouncing the practice of human rights in Poland on the one hand. And on the other, its expansion of political, military and economic ties with the most vicious and inhuman regime the world has known since Nazi Germany.

This regime is currently and forcefully relocating millions of Black South Africans out of their ancestral homelands into the 'Bantustan' wastelands, a point stressed by Mr Edward Kennedy who further reinforced Mr Jackson's position by pointing out the hypocrisy of the Reagan administration's precondition on the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola in order to have a forward movement on the issue of Namibian independence. The Senator went on to call for an end to financial loans to the apartheid regime and for American companies that exploit Namibian mineral resources to be penalised.

The lesson of the views advocated by Mr Jackson and Mr Kennedy is that African regimes can, if they try, positively affect the direction of America's policies towards South Africa. Contact should and ought to be maintained with key sectors of American society especially the 'Rainbow Coalition' built up by Mr Jesse Jackson in his campaign for the Democratic Party nomination. Even if there can be no immediate impact on the liberation struggle in Southern Africa, such contacts and pressures can make it more costly for any American administration to continue unabashedly, in the fashion of the Reagan administration, the romance with the apartheid regime. It must however be recognised that such efforts by US-based pressure groups can only be complementary to renewed efforts by African states and the liberation movements to beard the racist lion in his laager.



Who is the special adviser to Flt Lt. Rawlings and the PNDC? Why does Capt. Kodjo Tsikata attract such strong emotions? Is he the evil genius behind Rawlings or is he the shy self effacing nationalist? What role did he play in the Angolan Liberation War? Was he a freedom fighter? Find out the answers to these and many more questions about the man who many claim is the second most powerful man in Ghana today.

Grand Brixton Festival

THE popular annual Brixton festival kicked off last week, Thursday June 28, in style at the Lambeth Town Hall with the invigorating dance beat of the Ekome Dance Company. The 14 day festive celebrations under the theme: "Past, Present and Future", will bring together talents in music, poetry, dance and drama.

The programme includes: Monday July 2, Tulse Hill Big Band with music of the thirties, plus the Brian Priestly Jazz Group, Lambeth Town Hall; Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 July; Incubus Performing Arts Brixton Art Gallery; Tuesday July 3: Lambeth Orchestra play Dvorak and Strauss, Lambeth Town Hall, and Wednesday July 4: Zuriya Theatre Group, St Matthew's Meeting Place.

The rest are: Thursday July 5: Lambeth Adult Education Institute, Art Exhibition opens; until July 10. St Matthew's Meeting Place; Friday July 6: Dance & Music Metaphorhythms Manoeuvres Dance Company Lambeth Town Hall. Friday July 6: Surrealist Drama St Matthew's Meeting Place; Saturday July 7: Brixton Festival Carnival & Family Day procession starts midday from St Matthew's Road Meeting Place to Angell Park. Street theatre, stalls, refreshments, music, drama and Sunday July 8: Open Air Concert, Angell Park, preceded by Festival Service with the New Testament Assembly, Brixton.

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