50 years of Liberation Struggle in Southern Africa – Backgound for “The Ghosts of Ukuthula”

My latest book is about the long term development of nations and the struggle both mentally and militarily to get through periods of instability that could fall towards peace and prosperity or descend into the chaos of anarchy and civil war.

Although it is a work of fiction, “The Ghosts of Ukuthula” remains true to the dedication and commitment of thousands of Africans and their supporters, who moved many of the countries of southern Africa from colonial systems of government to peaceful self rule by black African nationals who endorsed democracy. In the case of The Republic of South Africa, this process took over fifty years of struggle, suffering and dedication by numerous players both nationally and internationally. Hence the title words ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Ukuthula’ (the Zulu word for Peace).

The Ghosts of Ukuthula Draft Book Cover Jpeg - Copy

In the early 1960’s many nations throughout Africa became independent of colonial powers. But, southern Africa remained intransigent, and this intransigence gave rise to the African liberation movements of Frelimo in Mozambique, ZANU and ZAPU in Rhodesia and the Militant Arm of the Africa National Congress (ANC) in South Africa. In 1962 the leader of this latter movement, Nelson Mandela was captured and put of trial for terrorism. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

In the mid 1970’s, Botswana was still the only peaceful free democratic nation in southern Africa. As such, it became a center of organization for some  liberation movements.  Church Leaders and others met there to help plan their own support and direction agendas for Frelima, ZANU, ZAPU and the ANC. Other groups with more militaristic agendas also met and moved materials clandestinely across the country. When the liberation movements became wars of terror, intertribal, and interracial conflicts many of the church groups withdrew to the sidelines for moral and religious reasons, but continued to lend support for refugees and peaceful aid to the many homeless and oppressed persons in these nations. The pictures below illustrate the level of development in the N.W. Territory of Botswana in the mid 70’s with the largest town/village, Maun showing virtually no paved roads. The Mission run Maun Secondary School at that time had about 300 students going up to age 15-16 for students and was the only secondary school within a radius of 300 miles. The few permanent roads across the country were sand tracks and calcrete, occasionally blocked for weeks or months by high waters in the Makarikari Salt Pans to the East during the rainy season.

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Maun Village 1973                                                                  Maun Secondary School 1974

By the 1980’s Southern Africa was ravaged by AIDS which wiped out an entire generation. Almost none of the persons we knew in Maun in the 70’s is alive today. Liberal attitudes about free sex had to change radically. During this time, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola became black African ruled nations when the Portuguese finally withdrew and the civil wars ceased.  Only Namibia and The Republic of South Africa remained as oppressive white apartheid governments which would not allow black Africans to govern themselves.

The war for liberation of these two nations intensified and it is this final period leading up to 1992 that “The Ghosts of Ukuthula” encompasses in a fictional manner to bring the readers to an understanding of the complexity, violence and difficulties of achieving this final move to black African majority rule in these nations, the leaders of which had regressed back to modes of thinking seen in the 19th century with regards to the need for racial separation. The final demise of Apartheid was like the agony and throes of death of a great beast, hence the anger, violence and hard line beliefs that are transmitted and outlined in the book. Hope you enjoy it when it makes it’s debut later this year.



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