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Southern Africa Report Archive

SOUTHERN AFRICA: THE NORTH AMERICAN FRONT: The tasks of southern Africa-related political work do continue in Canada, and in this issue we start our eleventh year of publication with an overview on the past ten years of Canadian policy-making towards southern Africa by Linda Freeman.

vol 11 no 1

Editorial and contents for Vol 11 No 1
the SAR editorial collective

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Southern Africa Report

SAR, Vol 11, No 1, November 1995
Page 1


A magazine like SAR stands or falls on the quality of its writers - and we must also rely on such writers' loyalty and shared commitment, rather than authors' fees, to keep the texts flowing. What could be more fitting, then, than to start our eleventh year of publication with an overview on the past ten years of Canadian policy-making towards southern Africa by Linda Freeman. For Freeman, as regular readers will know, has been our most reliable author, and perhaps our most widely read and cited one, over the first decade of SAR's existence. Each year she has provided us with an assessment - knowledgeable and well-documented, clear and acerbic - of official Canada's undertakings in the region.

Now, in this her tenth instalment, she presents a magisterial overview of official Canada's record over the past decade, an historical survey that effectively debunks many of the myths that have begun to cluster around that record. But she also concludes on a soberingly contemporary note, underscoring the extent to which the orthodoxies of neo-conservative economics, so prevalent in other policy spheres, also give officialdom license for the most selfish possible reading of Canada's on-going interest in South Africa. Competitiveness, trade and investment, IMF rules: so Ottawa's litany goes, with any direct concern for the fate of the dispossessed in South Africa (or elsewhere, for that matter) increasingly downplayed.

Other key articles in the present issue speak further to the implications of this kind of finding. Please note, however, that Freeman's own work - of which SAR readers (and editors) have been the most immediate and grateful beneficiaries over the years - will soon take on the additional weight and substance of an about-to-be published book (by the University of Toronto Press) entitled Canada and South Africa in the Trudeau and Mulroney Years.

This is the good news: readers will want to keep their eyes open for this volume, a stocking stuffer if ever there was one (although such is the scope of Freeman's undertaking that quite a big stocking will probably be required). The bad news? Freeman's threat that her tenth annual contribution to these pages may well be her last - for she is poised to move on to other work (albeit work that remains southern Africa-focused). Do we hear a sigh of relief from Ottawa's foreign-policy mandarins? Not so fast: don't tell Freeman, but we plan to coax her out of retirement from time to time, precisely to continue her heretofore successful efforts to keep those mandarins a little more honest than they might otherwise be inclined to be!

Meanwhile, the tasks of southern Africa-related political work do continue in Canada, as Sue Sutton finds in her survey in this issue of what's left of the erstwhile anti-apartheid movement in Canada. It's true that the loss of the political focus that apartheid's evil system provided has reduced the salience of South Africa in Canada, and the issues of equitable development and democratic empowerment that remain are less easy to get a bead on for many Canadians. Moreover, as Jim Cason (another author familiar, over the years, to SAR readers) observes of the support movement in the United States, there are difficult dilemmas inherent in Africa-related political work in the present global context.

within a global economic system that, left untransformed, offers little real long-term prospect for African development anyway. We hope to sustain and further deepen reflection on such vexing questions in forthcoming issues of SAR. Let us, for the moment, take comfort from the fact that there are support groups and NGOs in North America (Sutton's article comes with a preliminary listing of such organizations in Canada) that continue both to critique their own government's policies and to reach out to their counterparts - trade unions, women's groups, community organizations, rural cooperatives, and the like - in southern Africa.

* * *

It seems safe to say that, in sustaining such efforts, there is no substitute for information about what is actually happening on the ground, in the region itself. So we're pleased to enter our second decade by offering a range of articles, beyond our lead pieces, that provide novel and well-grounded insights on pressing issues that confront southern Africans. Moreover - speaking of authors! - we're particularly honoured in this issue to have, alongside veteran Linda Freeman, a notable first-time SAR contributor: Canada's leading singer-songwriter, Bruce Cockburn.

timeless bombs - that have been strewn recklessly across the path of development in countries like Angola and Mozambique, a deadly legacy of the region's long agony of war. And they are primed, quite literally, to go off: again . . . and again.

Other articles probe the current state of play in various spheres of South African policy-making - specifically, sports policy and local government (as analyzed by Douglas Booth and by David McDonald, respectively) - that are also proving to be mine- fields, albeit of a more figurative and immediately political kind. And there is even some good news, in the form of a response by Ken Wilson to an article in a previous issue on post- electoral Mozambique. In striking contrast to the tone and substance of that earlier article, Wilson suggests that there is much that should inspire us in some of the current developments in Mozambique. Could it be that the struggle really does continue, both in southern Africa and in North America? As we enter our second decade of publication we can only make one promise on that front: our writers will keep you posted.

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Southern Africa Report
Contents - Vol 11 No 1
"Southern Africa: The North American Front"

Editorial: Freeman, Cockburn and Co. - 1

Canada and South Africa: Less of the Same - 3
by Linda Freeman

The U.S. Front: Newt-ering the Solidarity Movement - 8
by Jim Cason

Canadian Solidarity: After Anti-Apartheid - 10
by Sue Sutton

Timesless Bombs: The Mines of Mozambique - 14
by Bruce Cockburn

The Southern Africa Minefield - 19
by Alex Vines

Decentralization in South Africa: How Democratic? - 23
by David McDonald

South Africa: Elite Sport is Winning - 27
by Douglas Booth

More on Mozambique Now: 1. Not the Whole Story - 30
by Ken Wilson

More on Mozambique Now: 2. Holes in the Story - 32
by Paul Fauvet

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