AFTER THIS WEEK, things will change.
So says Warren "Bud" Day, director of the Southern Africa Regional Program for International Voluntary Services.
Day is referring to this week's elections in South Africa, signaling the official end of apartheid in that nation. Nelson Mandela's African National Congress and F.W. DeKlerk's National Party will face off this week in elections for control of the South African government. Elections will be Tuesday through Thursday.
Day, who expects Mandela to win, said that many private, non-profit groups in southern Africa are shifting their focus toward helping development in that part of the world.
Day, a native of Carbondale, Ill., who lives in Harare, Zimbabwe, is in the United States to promote development in southern Africa and other forms of cooperation between this country and that region.
His organization is part of a newly formed coalition called the Southern Africa Educational Campaign, designed to educate the public and policy makers about issues of development in that part of the world and the impact of U.S. policies on the region. The campaign also hopes to build a strong U.S. constituency to support economic and social justice in southern Africa and strengthen partnerships between American and southern African groups with an interest in that region.
The campaign will kick off Monday in Washington, and representatives are traveling throughout the country.
Groups in this country that are part of that effort include: TransAfrica, Africare, National Conference of Negro Women, American Friends Service and Bread for the World. "It's been exciting putting together anti-apartheid and economic development groups for a common cause," he said.
Organizations in the United States have been willing to help. In Detroit, for example, the head of the local chapter of Africare is trying to develop black business connections to help development in southern Africa. "There seems to be a real excitement," he said.
"Generally speaking, Americans know little about southern Africa. With apartheid almost gone, we thought now would be a good time to educate Americans about southern Africa. …