Recolonization and Resistance in Southern Africa in the 1990s


195 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-921284-81-0
DDC 968.06






Reviewed by Gildas Roberts

Gildas Roberts is the author of Gander Snatch and currently resides in


This is a sad little book. Saul demonstrably knows a great deal about
Southern Africa and its politics, but his vision is disastrously flawed
by his fervent, evangelical adherence to an outmoded and massively
discredited belief. The “recolonization” in the book’s title means
any deviation by the new black leaders of a free Southern Africa from
the path of austere, doctrinaire Marxism.

All the heroes of the struggle, he would have us believe, are guilty of
cosying up to the recolonization “or perhaps more accurately
‘neo-colonization’” imposed by “such worthies” as the
Anglo-American Corporation, the International Monetary Fund, and the
World Bank. Nelson Mandela himself is reduced to a base type (“the
Mbekis and Mandelas”) and dismissively dubbed an “ANC big-wig.”
Comrade President Robert Mugabe, the founder of free Zimbabwe, is guilty
of “demobilizing democratic forms of organization.” Dr. Kenneth
Kaunda, first president of Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia), is
“that sad old autocrat.”

All this is bad enough, but far worse is the condemnation heaped on the
agencies that have come to the aid of the hundreds of thousands of black
Africans who are suffering privations beyond the imagining of these
silly comfortable academics playing their silly little word games. This
passage needs to be quoted in full: “Thus [Hanlon], in his most recent
book, provides impressive chapter and verse regarding the powerful grip
of the World Band and IMF on Mozambican decision-making. But he also
emphasizes the extraordinary role that is increasingly being played by
aid agencies, both foreign-governmental and private, in dictating policy
outcomes. While manifesting, via food aid and other programmes, the
‘human face’ of structural adjustment, aid agencies (World Vision
and Care are two whose role he explores in particular detail) have
policy agendas (the need for privatization is a common theme). Moreover,
Hanlon comes close to suggesting that, in usurping its role over a broad
front, such agencies actually become, to a significant degree, the
state.” Silliness carried to such extreme lengths is an obscenity.

This sorry little book will find favor only in what must be the last
redoubts of Marxism’s true believers: the history and soft-sciences
departments of North American and British universities and colleges.


Saul, John S., “Recolonization and Resistance in Southern Africa in the 1990s,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 24, 2024,