oa Africa Insight - The challenge of Africa

Volume 17, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



South Africa's relations with black Africa are becoming more important by the year. The issue of international sanctions has drawn attention once more to the importance of Africa as South Africa's hinterland. There is a direct connection between the attitude of black Africa and the acceptance or condemnation of South Africa by the international community. Many South Africans are beginning to grasp that their own country is also faced with the problems that threaten to engulf the rest of this continent: an ""exploding"" population, rapid urbanization, rising unemployment - especially of young people - low productivity, persistent inflation, high expectations, the unravelling of the traditional social fabric, and a very unhelpful international economic and political climate. Distant places like Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Beira and Lusaka have become vested with new meaning for South Africans as a result of political and/or military developments which somehow affect everyone in this country. Regional ports, railway lines and roads that once served only peaceful ends, have become focal points of international endeavours to change South Africa's domestic power structure. Efforts to dismantle the economic and other bonds between South Africa and its neighbours, are zealously encouraged by some Western countries. Amidst allegations of South African ""destabilization"" and calls for international punishment the region appears to be drifting into growing polarization and violence.

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