Address by Thabo Mbeki at the Makerere University Institute of Social Research Conference on the Architecture of post-Cold War Africa – Between Internal Reform and External Intervention:
MAKERERE UNIVERSITY, KAMPALA. JANUARY 19, 2012.
Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research, Professor Mahmood Mamdani,
Comrades and friends:
First of all I would like to thank Professor Mamdani and the Makerere Institute of Social Research for taking the initiative to convene this Conference to discuss urgent and important matters that relate to the future of our Continent.
Hopefully the discourse that will take place here over the next two days will find its way into the larger African political community to initiate the absolutely necessary broad-based discussion our Continent needs, to consider the vitally important question – what should Africa do in today’s world truly to determine her destiny.
A decade ago an academic then at one of the South African Universities, Xavier Renou, wrote:
“There is a permanent reluctance among academics to call a spade a spade and a predatory (or imperialist) policy as such. In the case of French Foreign policy in Africa, very few academics have pointed at its dramatic consequences, and even fewer have been prepared to described them as resulting from deliberate criminal choices aimed at fostering a small minority’s interest, at any cost.”
(Xavier Renou: “A Major Obstacle to African Unity: the New Franco-American Cold War on the (African) Continent”, 2000?.)
These are strong words with which we may differ. I quote them because they pose the challenge that at this Conference, in the interest of the peoples of Africa, we should have the courage to confront the African reality frankly, and therefore dare – to call a spade a spade!
I am certain that it is a matter of common cause among us that there were two issues which impacted on Africa in the context of the Cold War.
One of these was that the Cold War coincided with the historic period of the liquidation of the system of colonialism in Africa.
The second was that as our Continent achieved its liberation, it got enmeshed in the intense and then unrelenting global struggle between capitalism and socialism, led respectively by the United States and the Soviet Union.
The overall theme of our Conference requires that we discuss the matter of ‘The Architecture of post-Cold War Africa’.
Obviously, this means that we should say something, even briefly, about ‘The Architecture of Cold War Africa’.
In the context of the more complex reality we face today, it would indeed seem that it is a relatively easier task to discuss the latter issue, namely, ‘The Architecture of Cold War Africa’.
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