Of the many diplomatic predicaments in sub-Saharan Africa, three in the southern part of the continent were of the most immediate interest to both the United Nations and the United States by the late 1970s. One was in Rhodesia, named for the English imperialist Cecil Rhodes, but soon to be renamed Zimbabwe. Another was in Southwest Africa (to become Namibia). A third was in the largest and most prosperous of the countries, South Africa. The United Nations had taken many formal actions to influence the situation in each of these countries, including numerous resolutions calling for majority (black) rule in each, demands for full independence from minority or outside powers, and, in the case of South Africa, assertive demands for an end to apartheid—the system of racial segregation and denial of political rights to nonwhites that left a minority white government in full control. As we have seen above, the Carter administration stated plainly its support for UN positions in southern Africa. The particular situation in each area when Carter entered office was as follows.
South Africa was a country with a richly diverse population of some 27 million, the overwhelming majority of which were from different black ethnic groups. The Cape of Good Hope, in the southern part of the country, had been settled by Dutch immigrants in the seventeenth century. Britain seized the Cape in 1808, during the Napoleonic Wars, following which the Dutch trekked north to found two new settlements. Britain subdued the Dutch, then called Boers, in the Boer War of 1899-1902 and unified the entire country under its rule as the Union of South Africa. In 1948, the Afrikaners (the modern name for the Boers) had wrested control of the internal government from the less numerous English. The Afrikaners' National Party officially instituted the policy of apartheid. In 1961 the Union of South Africa declared independence from Britain, becoming the Republic of South Africa, effectively ruled by a single party. From the 1960s on, UN responses to these developments reflected the growing voice of third world nations. A Security Council resolution in April 1960 "deplored" South African apartheid, called on the government there to abandon the policy, and instructed the secretary-general to work with South Africa to uphold all principles of the UN Charter. The United States spoke and voted in favor of the resolution. 74 In 1962, with the United States in the minority, the General____________________