The Momentous 1960s – Reflections on an African Decade
Vol 29 No 4 (2019)
Ed. by Lynn Schler and Ulf Engel
Liberation struggles in Southern Africa were transnational and transregional since its inception in the early 1960s. Besides the involvement with Cold War powers and international actors, cooperation between liberation movements in the region became increasingly prominent towards the end of the decade. This article addresses the main cooperative arrangements and the process that led towards the consolidation of an alliance of Southern African liberation movements in 1969 in Khartoum. The forging of “revolutionary partnerships” was as much boosted by external supporters as pursued by the leadership of the liberation movements themselves, that sought to overcome hurdles of representation and legitimacy. Despite strategic aspirations for a stronger cooperation in the military and political realms, the Khartoum alliance was mainly oriented towards mobilizing the international public opinion in favour of this assemblage of “authentic” Southern African liberation movements.
Throughout postcolonial Africa, processes of nation-building were inaugurated with socialist strategies for achieving economic development, but by the end of the first decade of independence, socialist development schemes had failed to produce anticipated benefits and were abandoned. The fate of these projects embodied many of the broader challenges facing postcolonial leadership in the 1960s. Kafuba and Kafulafuta were cooperative settlements established by Israelis in the Zambian Copperbelt and modelled on the Israeli moshav. These successful schemes became the flagship models of Kenneth Kaunda’s humanist ideology, but Kaunda cancelled the projects when they came into conflict with Zambia’s broader geopolitical concerns. This case study provides insights into how leaders negotiated between ideology and politics, and ultimately abandoned key aspects of their nationalist ideologies.
This article revisits the early history of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which emerged at a critical juncture of globalisation in the 1960s. Four broad topics are discussed: (1) the political aims of the organisation, (2) the continental body’s role in global politics and the way independent African states have impacted on the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth, (3) the development of intra-African relations, and (4) possible reasons for the general underperformance of the OAU’s in particular with regard to violent conflict on the continent in those years
This article examines the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) roles and impacts in labour relations and education in sub-Saharan Africa during the “glorious” 1960s. It historicise the genesis, challenges, and accomplishments in the area of labour union education – ACTRAV activities, its technical assistance programmes, Decent Work Projects, and its resolve to set international labour standards in sub-Saharan Africa. The setting of international labour standards is perhaps what separates the ILO from other international organisations as sub-Saharan colonies witnessed different levels of decolonisation during the post-World War II era. The article interrogates the place of sub-Saharan Africa in the mix of many annual sessions of the International Labour Congress (ILC) and its 200 conventions and a similar number of recommendations before the dawn of the 1960s. While the standards adopted in the early years were intended predominantly to protect workers in the physical performance of their work, as early as the 1930s the ILO had began to extend its standard-setting to a wider field of social policy, covering areas ranging from systems of social security to employment policy. The article examines the ILO’s Blueprint as it relates to its momentum in Africa and ACTRAV’s labour union education during the 1960s.
This paper assesses the shift between the colonial to the post-colonial situation in the educational system of Côte d’Ivoire from the late 1950’s to the mid-1970’s. Transitioning mechanisms are observed from the perspective of primary teachers’ career pathways. Why and how did the turn of independence catalyse the career pathways of African teachers trained under the colonial situation? And to what extent do these individual pathways reflect the political-scale change from the colonial federation of French West Africa to separate independent states in terms of education? Answering these questions requires paying great attention to (1) decision making processes including the reassignment of staff and places, the nationalisation and repurposing of the teacher training model inherited from the French Rule, (2) the variations in the international relations with France, other former colonies and new postcolonial partners, (3) the national strategies towards development, (4) the agency of individual and collective actors in the emerging civil society.