At international level this was the end of the Second World War and the birth of the United Nations whose charter contained provisions calling for the end of colonialism in all its forms – classical colonialism, Trust Territories, settler colonialism or white minority rule or apartheid. As a consequence of this position on decolonization, the first countries to become free were the countries of South East Asia such as India, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and others. In the Middle East it was the countries that were formerly under the Ottoman Empire and were under the administration of the League of Nations Mandate such as Syria, Iraq and others that became independent. The new international political system was characterized by East-West conflict or the Cold War between the two major powers that emerged from the ashes of the Second World War – the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviets Socialists Republics (USSR) striving for world domination or hegemony.

In 1945 African leaders and intellectuals from the diaspora and the continent met at Manchester, England in what became the Fifth Pan African Congress. They met to reposition Africa in the light of the changes that had taken place following the end of the Second World War. The key demand was the end to colonialism and the exercise of the right of self-determination and independence for the colonized peoples of Africa whose soldiers had contributed to the defeat of Axis Powers of Germany, Italy and Japan. Present at this congress were George Padmore, Ras Makonnen, Professor W.E.D. Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Wallace-Johnson former agent of the Comintern from Sierra Leon trained in Moscow. The only South African who was active at this congress was Peter Abrahams who had briefly worked in London for the communist Daily Worker. As a symbol of their hopes, the organizers had decorated the hall with flags of Ethiopia, Liberia and Haiti, the only black-run states in the world at the time.

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