Inside Zambia And Out (1967)
By Anthony Pitch
Howard Timmins: Cape Town publishers
IN 1961 the newly independent states were trying to map the way forward for Africa.
The radicals, the Casablanca bloc as they were known, like Ghana’s Nkrumah and Egypt’s Nasser wanted a strong political union for Africa’s newly independent states.
It was then that the principle of United States of Africa was introduced.
There is even a theory that the late Libyan President, Muammar Gaddafi at the time of his assassination had pledged 28 percent of the budget towards the African Union (AU) to achieve independence from international donors and towards a United States of Africa.
Many have said his untimely death could have been triggered by his move to want the African organ to be independent.
The idea similar to that of America which is comprised of many nations would centralise economic planning, industrialisation and create a continental defense structure.
However, another group, termed the Monrovian bloc, championed by the pro- Western West-African leader Leopold Sedar Senghor who still depended on France, opposed this move.
By 1963 there was a compromise which led to the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) but these ideals would never come to pass.
Yet despite the union, there are still trade and border barriers between African states.
“A situation where over 70 percent of the AU budget is foreign funded is certainly unsustainable,” AU chair President Mugabe said recently.
“It is also a serious threat to the security and wellbeing of our people.”
Africa still cannot unite because the ‘forces’ that existed over five decades ago still exist to this day.
“We have yet to discover political morality in black Africa,” Anthony Pitch writer of Inside Zambia And Out quotes a Zambian national in his book published in 1967.
Anthony Pitch was a Rhodesian journalist and author.
His father was one time the mayor of Salisbury.
Pitch was a journalist in Zambia (Zambia News) in 1963 a year before the country gained independence from Britain.
The book is set in the 60s, an era where African states were forging their own identity.
The author hides behind liberal ideals where he writes about how other whites locally and internationally specifically the so-called communist partners looked at the African preferring to remain mum about his.
“The embassy staff (Russian) confided that they did not think highly of the African.
“That was their job, but they went about it with an air of enforced goodwill.
“I recall an ambassador from a leading Western nation turning to me once and saying how he loathed working in Zambia.
“‘Africans repel me by their physical feature alone,’ he groaned.
“‘They have no culture and I find it difficult to talk to them- even the intelligent ones.’”
This remains the general sentiment of white people towards blacks today.
It has never changed and they are just better at hiding it.
Let us look at the terrorist attacks in Nigeria which were similar to those in Paris last month, where the director of the Africa Centre at the Atlantic Council Peter Pham said the West was numb from being constantly bombarded with civil unrest in Africa.
“That’s Africa, bad things happen.
“This is Paris, it’s a Western country.
“This shouldn’t happen.”
Anthony Pitch focuses on Zambia under Kenneth ‘KK’ Kaunda who he often writes was not a bad leader until he decided to adopt communist strategies.
His disapproval could also stem from the fact that as an OAU member, Zambia had pledged to assist countries like Zimbabwe that were still stifled under the settler regime.
From then on, Kaunda welcomed exiled ANC members as well as providing a military base for ZANU and ZAPU.
His country was often under attack from both the Rhodesians and Apartheid South Africa.
On the other hand, the Americans were sponsoring unrest in the Congo to destabilise the nation by creating warlords as was the case in Mozambique.
The myth, however, is that Africans were generally bad at administering their states.
“We are guilty of major crimes and distortions of basic democracy…, biased judiciaries, corrupt civil servants, mutinies, one party states and human slaughter,” one African tells the author.
Pitch was later deported in 1965 and according to him, he was never given a reason.
Throughout the book, Pitch regards himself as a liberal, an honest one it seems, who believes that blacks should have rights, but whites should continue administering Africa.
“Zambia is not unified, tribally and politically…in colonial days the European presence had the effect of submerging tribal conflicts,” he writes.
“As soon as the European was displaced by an African government the dominant tribal rivalries came to surface again.”
There is a lot of misinformation and half truths about this statement.
In Zimbabwe despite the double dealings by Cecil John Rhodes and his band of thieves to perpetuate the Ndebele and Shona tensions, the two groups banded together despite their inflated differences to fight one enemy.
Just as the whites, who comprised of the bitter Afrikaners who hated the British for squashing them and putting them in concentration camps where thousands died as they fought for domination on the South African diamond fields, came together to ‘conquer’ the blacks.
Yet history inflates the black ‘tribal differences’ such that there will never be peace, just as the Germans and the Belgians in Rwanda had inflated tribal differences between the Hutu and the Tutsi for decades.
At one point in the 70s, the whites encouraged the Hutus’ to burn down the Tutsi houses.
They began removing Hutu chiefs with Tutsi’s as well as manipulating the economic environment which culminated in the 1994 genocide.
Back to Inside Zambia And Out, Pitch downplays how the blacks in Rhodesia where becoming restless under minority rule and quotes a Nigerian friend of his studying at the University of Rhodesia who says, “people of all races went about their business in an unfettered and casual manner.”
As a ‘liberal’ he inflates how he was on ‘friendly’ terms with ZAPU leaders like George Nyandoro, but writes, “they were fanatics…the nationalist philosophy had long reached the point of no return where violence and subversion were justified in what they called ‘the fight for freedom’.”
Perhaps it is time we stop fooling ourselves that Africa has permanent friends and well wishers.