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THE RELUCTANT AFRICAN by Louis E. Lomax

THE RELUCTANT AFRICAN

By

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1960
Publisher: Harper

The result of a two months tour of Africa (which included Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, and down the southeast coast of Africa into South African black underground) this is the ""subjective report"" on the people and forces now at work in Africa by an American Negro reporter. Lomax was advised even before he left the States that should he act in any way as an apologist for the West his tour would be useless and that unless he were prepared to ""think black, feel black and demonstrably suspect everything non-black"" it would be impossible to get the interviews he wanted. He talked to representatives of student leagues and political committees, exiles in Cairo supported by Nasser, and spokesmen for both sides of the question though the emphasis is with the pleaders for the black African cause. From dozens of Africans he heard that they expect to clear the continent of white domination and are fully committed to do this through a total holocaust, establishing only afterwards a multiracial state (which is not the same thing as integration). Lomax believes that, for the next five years, the hot battles of the cold war will be fought in Africa but the contention will not be between ideologies. The Africans are not interested, he says, in economic ideologies but in freedom, though they will accept help from any quarter. In view of the desperate situation he describes the suggestions he makes -- that the U.S. take an all-out stand against racism, establish a World Conference on Race Relations- seem pallid by contrast. Lomax's book is not as complete as Peter Ritnor's The Death of Africa (Macmillan, p. 80) and his attitude toward the new nations is more sympathetic. The implications of his book, however, are no less frightening.