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By Guy Arnold, Kenneth Bradley, D. Taylor

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Sample text

In 1964 the Central African Federation was broken up, Northern Rhodesia later becoming independent as Zambia, Nyasaland as Malawi. Despite misgivings about the pace and the tragic setbacks in the Congo, by 1966 all British colonies in Africa except for Rhodesia and the three High Commission territories* had become independent: all, except Somaliland, elected to stay in the Commonwealth. Now (mid-1966) the three High Commission territories are nearing independence; but the tragic and dangerous situation in Rhodesia, which declared UDI on 11 November 1965, has still not been resolved.

Meanwhile, France's colonies achieved independence under de Gaulle; so did the Congo, and the ensuing troubles there cast the one disturbing and frightening picture over an otherwise exciting year of progress. But 1961 brought the inevitable crisis clash between South Africa and the other members of the Commonwealth. If it were to be a truly multiracial association the Commonwealth could not accept, even by the normal fiction of regarding South Africa's race relations as a purely internal matter, the Nationalist policy of apartheid: so South Africa left the Commonwealth.

The experiment failed as it was bound to because it ignored the political wishes of the African majority. Now in Commonwealth terms the three successor states each present distinctive economic problems. Rhodesia, in a state of rebellion, is involving Britain and the Commonwealth in sanctions; it is (whatever the eventual outcome) doing itself incalculable longterm damage, economic and political; and in the future the eventual solution of UDI may well be the most crucial turning point in the Commonwealth's history.

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