Men, women and children throughout the length and breadth of Africa repeat the slogans of African nationalism – the greatest political phenomenon of the latter part of the twentieth century.
Never before in history has such a sweeping fervour for freedom expressed itself in great mass movements which are driving down the bastions of empire. This wind of change blowing through Africa, as I have said before, is no ordinary wind. It is a raging hurricane against which the old order cannot stand.
The great millions of Africa, and of Asia, have grown impatient of being hewers of wood and draw ers of water, and are rebelling against the false belief that providence created some to be the menials of others.
In this century there have already been two w orld wars fought on the slogans of the preservation of democracy; on the right of peoples to determ ine the form of government under which they want to live. Statesm en have broadcast the need to respect fundam ental freedoms, the right of men to live free from the shadow of fears which cramp their dignity when they exist in servitude, in poverty, in degradation and contempt. They proclaim ed the Atlantic Charter and the Charter of the United Nations, and then said that all these had no reference to the enslaved world outside the limits of im perialism and racial arrogance.
But in the course of fighting for their own freedom, they had, like Abraham Lincoln in fighting America’s civil war, to enlist the aid of the enslaved, who began to question the justice of their being dragged into wars for the freedom of those who intended to keep them in bondage. The democratic enunciations of the world’s statesmen came under the critical exam ination of the colonized world. Men and women in the colonies began to regard them as deceptions; clearly they were not to have universal application.