Africa, Continent of Change

Africa, Continent of Change

Africa, Continent of Change

Africa, Continent of Change

Excerpt

The emergence of independent African states and the spread of the cold war to the continent have forced Americans to think deeply about Africa for the first time. Until quite recently, most Americans were barely conscious of Africa--a large continent of colonial territories where little happened--and few had any idea of the ferment under the quiet surface. All that has changed. Today, Africa is seldom off the front pages of the newspapers, and all Americans are now realizing that a giant, albeit an undernourished giant, has emerged since the Second World War.

This collection of readings, selected and edited with the intelligent inquirer in mind, has been designed to give insight into some of the major problems facing Africa as it shrugs off its past colonial ties and faces an exciting future of political independence and grave responsibilities. The movement toward independence is yet incomplete, but few who have been watching the spark of nationalism burst into a roaring flame can doubt that a completely noncolonial Africa is not far away. But the old problems--those of cultural conflict, economic development and political stability--will remain, and the decisions that we, as Americans, are going to make concerning our relationship to the new Africa must be based upon an awareness and understanding of the difficulties the continent faces.

The book has been divided into three sections simply as a matter of convenience, for all aspects--political, economic and social--are often so closely intertwined that each molds and affects the others. We are, in a sense, looking at many of the same problems from different angles. Most of the readings are not from professional journals, although such names as Melville Herskovits, James Coleman, Kofi Busia, Pius Okigbo and Margaret Read will be familiar to all African specialists, and an attempt has been made to keep highly particular vocabulary to a minimum.

Finally, I would like to thank all the authors, publishers and editorial boards who have allowed me the privilege of including their work in this volume. Since, for reasons of space alone, some of the . . .

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