From the Archives – Congo Adjusting to Decolonization


For the 60th anniversary, AAI will feature a monthly “From the Archives” blog, highlighting historical milestones in AAI and African history. This blog post features verbatim historical documents from AAI’s files and articles from Africa Report, a monthly publication of in-depth analysis and reports chronicling the continent’s dramatic political and economic developments.

Published from 1956 through 1995, Africa Report became the most significant Africa-focused publication in the U.S.


Africa Report, January 1963. Volume 8, Number 1.

CONGO POLITICAL.  By M. Crawford Young

The Congo is still adjusting to the most revolutionary decolonization that has yet taken place in Africa. The unprecedented telescoping of independence preparations agreed to by the Belgians at the Round Table was traumatic enough. Its effect was compounded by the unplanned, pell-mell, and virtually total Africanization of the administration, the army, and the large state-operated sector of the economy necessitated by the panic exodus of the Belgians less than a month after independence.

It is still too early for any definitive judgments of the full political consequences of the abrupt power transfer of 1960. The political parties of the Congo already warrant a second and more searching look, however, and it is even possible to suggest some tentative hypotheses on their future role. For while the world’s attention has been focused on the Byzantine-like maneuvers of the interminable negotiations to end the Katanga secession, some far-reaching changes have been taking place in the political life of the country.

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