Africa: The Dynamic of Change

Africa: The Dynamic of Change

Africa: The Dynamic of Change

Africa: The Dynamic of Change

Excerpt

By 1959 several scenes of the vast historical drama of African independence had already been played; the large cast of actors were excited and impatient to move on to the climax. Ghana and Guinea, one each from the English and French-speaking areas of West Africa, had gained their independence; Nigeria had fixed a date in 1960 for her own statehood; the other French territories were shifting restlessly among the clamant, contentious imperatives of the new order; and in the then Belgian Congo the bell was already tolling for many. It was at this point and in these circumstances that a conference was called at Ibadan, in Nigeria, which was significant in more ways than one. The time was March 1959, the place, University College, Ibadan, and the subject: "Representative Government and National Progress".

The Ibadan Seminar -- as it was officially called -- was sponsored by the Congress for Cultural Freedom (Paris) and organized in conjunction with the University's Department of Extra-Mural Studies, whose Director was the brilliant permanent chairman for the occasion. Under the theme stated above the conference heard and debated ten subjects, which are represented in the papers which make up this book. Beyond the promulgation of general, fundamental principles, and the presentation of particular illustrations from a wide variety of countries, the whole exercise at Ibadan was meant to be a critical examination of the condition of men and polities in Africa, at a time of promise -- as well as of threat -- quite unprecedented in its history.

The Ibadan Seminar of 1959 was the first of its kind held in West Africa. It afforded the first opportunity for a direct confrontation between French-speaking and English-speaking African intellectuals, academics, politicians, journalists, lawyers and others actively involved with the new problems, the strenuous commitments, of their respective countries. It was also a platform on which appeared some of the most notable figures of West Africa in those days. A few . . .

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