The Climax of British Decolonization in Africa

Part of the Themes in Comparative History book series (TCH)


In this chapter we will be concerned with the classical phase of decolonization in British Africa between 1954 and 1965, and in particular with the three case-studies defined in Chapter 5: the Gold Coast, the Central African Federation and Kenya. It was stressed earlier that in the first years of the 1950s these regions appeared to be pointing in critically different directions. After 1951 the Gold Coast was headed towards a variant of political reform which involved the progressive expansion of African authority; self-government had been put on the real, as opposed to the mythical, agenda drawn up by the responsible power. In British Central Africa the establishment of the Federation marked a barely concealed attempt to order the future of the area within the norms set by white-settler supremacy, even for those Crown Colonies involved — Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia — which their British overseers had hitherto regarded as ‘native states’ (that is, political units within which white-settler interests were to be kept within certain constraints). In Kenya the emerging pattern of events was much more finely poised in terms of the racial balance of power.


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8 The Climax of British Decolonization in Africa

  1. 1.
    In addition to the works cited in chapter 5, note 3, students interested in the Gold Coast/Ghana may also refer to David E. Apter, Ghana in Transition (Princeton, 2nd rev. ed., 1972).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Robert Blake, A History of Rhodesia (London, 1977) pp. 296–306.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    The course and consequences of these disturbances are narrated in Clyde Sanger, Central African Emergency (London, 1960).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Harold Macmillan, Pointing The Way, 1959–61 (London, 1972) pp. 116–77.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Ian Macleod, ‘Trouble in Africa’, Spectator, 31 January 1964.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    This important episode has recently been treated at length in Otto Geyser, Watershed for South Africa: London, 1961 (Cape Town, 1983).Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    A political outline of Northern Rhodesia’s decolonization can be found in David C. Mulford, Zambia: The Politics of Independence, 1957–64 (Oxford, 1967).Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    For two different, if not always conflicting, versions of the Central African Federation’s demise see Sir Roy Welensky, 4000 Days: The Life and Death of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (London, 1964).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    and Lord Alport, The Sudden Assignment: Central Africa 1961–63 (London, 1963).Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Kenneth Young, Rhodesia and Independence (London, 1969) pp. 171–5.Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    Andrew Porter, ‘Iain Macleod, Decolonization in Kenya and Tradition in British Colonial Policy’, Journal for Contemporary History 2 (1975/6) 37–59.Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    Charles Douglas-Home, Evelyn Baring: The Last Proconsul (London, 1978) p. 242.Google Scholar
  13. 15.
    J. M. Kariuki, ‘Mau Mau’ Detainee (Oxford, 1963) pp. 126–43.Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    Lord Chandos, Memoirs (London, 1962) pp. 393–407.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    For an excellent biography see David Goldsworthy, Tom Mboya: the man Kenya wanted to forget (London, 1982).Google Scholar
  16. 19.
    Sir Michael Blundell, So Rough A Wind (London, 1964) pp. 247–58.Google Scholar
  17. 20.
    Gary B. Wasserman, The Politics of Decolonization: Kenya Europeans and the land issue 1960–65 (Cambridge, 1976) pp. 157–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 21.
    George Bennett, Kenya. A Political History: The Colonial Period (London, 1963).Google Scholar

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© R. F. Holland 1985

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