Africa South of the Sahara
Publication
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 17 Oct 1947, p. 56-71
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Africa South of the Sahara


The geography of Africa south of the Sahara, which the speaker considers to be truly Africa. The importance of geography to Africa. The isolation of Africa south of the Sahara and how it is brought about. A land mass separated from the rest of the world by salt water and sand. The thinly-spread population. The geographical isolation also of South Africa. Isolation also due to the wider desert of North Africa. The prevention of horizontal cultural exchanges which proved so fruitful on the Eurasian continent. Some French speculations on the problems. Theories on the development of civilizations and how such development differs in Africa. The South African view that geographical isolation was one cause of the backwardness of the Bantu. Other reasons for such backwardness: the lack of navigation, and extreme unhealthiness. The effect of disease on the personality of the African, as explained by Huxley. The problem of the tsetse and the illness it causes. The effect of DDT. Some words about the diversity of Africa. Water power. The political jig-saw that is Africa. A plurality of control relfected in a plurality of native policies. Political native representation. Natural resources. The poorness of Africa, despite the gold, diamonds, copper, palm oil, and coal which comes out of it. Some income figures. The possibilities for development in South Africa, and upon what it depends. Prospects of increased trade. Politics: the question of future possible groupings. A brief review of attempts at political panafricanism over the last 25 years. The likelihood of a collaboration by the British, the French and the Belgians in solving the common problems of their dependent territories: agriculture, forestry, nutrition, health, education, tsetse, rinderpest. Steps towards regional planning in Southern Africa. Aspirations of the African. The need for economic development to precede the political, and why. The speaker's suspicions of planning on too vast a scale. The groundnut scheme in Tanganyika an example of good planning with the three-fold purpose of raising the standard of living of the natives of the region, making that region more salubrious and increasing the stocks of fats of the world. Some remarks on defence. Forces and currents which may lead to some regional agreements in Africa, either economic or strategic or both, within the framework of the U.N. Charter. Remembering that the majority of the territories in Africa south of the Sahara are not politically free. Foreign entanglements in European capitals. A regional defence pact for Africa subordinated to similar agreements between Britain-cum-South Africa and Belgium, France and Portugal. The integration of Africa to immediately follow such an achievement in Western Europe. Then and only then would we see the rebirth of Africa, as only "continentally" and across all political boundaries can African problems be successfully solved.