Problems of An African Policy

Date01 September 1951
DOI10.1177/002070205100600304
Published date01 September 1951
Subject MatterArticle
PROBLEMS
OF
AN
AFRICAN
POLICY
Rodney
Grey*
T
HE
END
OF
WORLD
WAR
II
signalled
the
retreat
of
European
power
from
the
Indian
and Southeast
Asian peninsulas.
Africa,
particularly
Africa south
of
the
Sahara,
is
the
arena
for
new
ventures
in
economic
development
and
further
attempts
to
extend
the
influence
of
western
European
culture.
By
its very
nature,
policy
for
economically
backward and
politically
dependent
areas
is
likely
to
be
founded
less
upon
the
realities
of
existence
in
these
areas
than
upon
the
domestic politics
of
the
proselytizing
powers.
Thus
some
current
views
of
what
might
be
desirable
policy
for
Africa
may
be
set
out;
against
them may
be
put
some
estimate
of
the problems
with
which
such a
policy
might
be
supposed
to
deal.
There
are
current,
I
think,
three
broad points
of
view
about
what
is
a
desirable
African
policy.
All
three
are
substantially incorrect,
because
all
three are
oversimplified
to
the point
of
naivetW;
all
three
could
be
regarded
as
comic
if
they
were
not dangerously inadequate.
The
first
of
these
orientations towards a
policy
for
Africa
is
one
that
is
widely
accepted
by
the
democratic
and
liberal
left in
the
United King-
dom
and the
United
States:
it
is
the
view
that
European
powers
have
no
right to
be
in
Africa,
that
they
went
there
for
economic
gain,
that
they
are
in fact
occupying
powers,
and
that
the
sooner
they
get
out
and
hand over power
to
any
African
who
can
take
it,
the
better
it
will
be.
It
is
a
negative
attitude,
which
admits
the
failure
to govern
colonial
Africa
by
the standards
of
the
left-wing
conscience.
The
adherents
of
this
view
would
like
to
wash
all
the
Africans
all
over every
day before
breakfast,
but
knowing
that
it
cannot
be
done,
would
prefer
to
throw
up
the
sponge.
The
second
orientation
toward
African
policy
is
what
may
be called
the
notion
of
our
civilizing mission.
Those
who
share
this
view
have
often
the
same
tender
left-wing
conscience
that
has
proved
so
hard
to
live
with,
but
these
people
feel
that
we
can
redeem
our
sins
if
we
push
into
Africa enough
of
our
resources,
material
and
human,
to assimilate
Africa
to
the western
cultural
pattern.
They
believe
in
development
of
Africa
for
the
sake
of
Africans;
they
would
like
to
see
white,
black
and coloured going
forward
hand
in
hand.
Publicly,
they
attack
Dr.
Malan,
and privately, they
are
haunted
by
the
ghost
of
Malthus.
Their
approach
to
the African
difficulty
is
more
positive
than
abandoning
Africa
to
the
Africans; but
missionaries
frequently
go
too
far,
and
this
*Formerly
Assistant
Financial
Editor,
Saturday
Night.
Now
studying
at
the
London
School
of
Economics.

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