How Socialism Reshaped Africa


“Under a Communist Party government, South Africa will become a land of milk and honey.  The cause of communism is the greatest cause in the history of mankind.” – Nelson Mandela in his How to Be a Good Communist.

Many South African Blacks believe that socialism in Africa has been a brilliant success, politically, economically, socially.  Socialism is therefore very much respected by them.  It is not only promoted by the ANC/SACP/UDF alliance, but by the PAC, COSATU, the National Union of Mineworkers, by Desmond Tutu, Allan Boesak, the SA Council of Churches, the SA Catholic Bishops Conference, by publications such as New Nation (today virtually the ANC’s official mouthpiece) and many, many more.

Huge numbers of SA Blacks are, then, quite content when told that their radical leaders will use socialism to “re-shape” the “New South Africa.”  In hard fact, of course, and on the African experience, the very word “socialism” should give South Africans, Black and White, goosepimples.

The socialist sweep through Africa began 33 years ago with the advent to power of Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah.  During the great liberal period that followed African “liberation,” you would (judging by reaction from press, pulpit and politicians of the time) have considered that every African socialist government was run by angels.

Nkrumah, Nyerere, Kaunda, bare-faced hypocrites all, claimed as one man to have taken up the task of standing up for Africa’s dignity, presenting themselves as the exponents of all that was fine, just, honest and noble.  Claiming spurious respectability from a foreign, borrowed ideology, they were, they told us, “going to make other socialists elsewhere proud of socialism in Africa.”

If political posturing, sloganeering, propaganda, hype and ballyhoo could make any meaningful contribution to the wellbeing of nations, then there is no doubt that Africa would have been in Utopia years ago.  Unfortunately for the Black collectivists and their cheering White liberal claque, ideology and reality met in head-on collision on Africa’s socialist road to Utopia.  What, factually, has socialism wrought on this continent?

Almost from the word go, though liberals would choke rather than admit it, the economies of the socialist states began stumbling downwards: controlled as they were by men ignorant of all sound business practices, bereft of management expertise and lacking in all financial caution and common sense: but full of arrogance and political rhetoric, exactly as with the ANC/SACP/PAC/UDF in SA today.

Thanks in no small measure to these ideological incompetents Africa, always the poorest continent on the globe, today has the distinction of having 22 of the world’s poorest states: by no coincidence, all of them socialist or formerly socialist.

Despite the most urgent pleas and warnings from Western economists socialism, through its clumsy and destructive intrusions into wealth-creating mechanisms, has virtually destroyed the economies of Black Africa.  Precisely as in Eastern Europe or wherever else its skeletal hand has settled, not one African socialist state has proved a success.  All are bywords for government maladministration, impotence, hopelessness and failure.  Collectively and individually, they have brought a thousand, ten thousand, times more misery and hardship to the so-called “masses” than all SA’s so-called “racist, oppressive” legislators lumped together.  And let Joe Slovo challenge that.

If anyone doubts the failure of socialism, even a brief look at the shattered economies and starving people of this continent will make this reality abundantly clear.  And here, with 30 years of socialist failure behind us, we are no longer working in the field of empiricism.  Stringing these national tragedies together provides numbing evidence of how the great, mystic promises held out at independence died in malign mirage.

It accordingly becomes profoundly important that SA Blacks be shown just how socialism has “re-shaped” Africa.