Remembering George Orwell
1903, June 25. - 1950, January 21.
The Case for African Freedom
by Joyce Cary
With foreword by George Orwell
Edited by T.R. Fyvel and George Orwell
Published by Secker & Warburg.
Foreword by George Orwell:
The Searchlight Books aim at setting forth a coherent policy, and the earlier
books in the series have most of them stated in black and white "what one
can do" about the particular problem they were tackling. If Mr. Cary's
book is more discursive and more detailed than the others, it is because
the problem of Africa is so vast and, in England, so little known that a
preliminary survey is needed before any policy can be usefully stated. A
workable programme can only be based onl a knowledge of the atual situation.
Mr. Cary has had long experience as an administrator among primitive African
peoples. The title of his book shows where his sympathies lie, but he is
first and foremost a realist. He has no use either for the ignorant settler
or businessman who secretly regards the African as a slave, or for the left-wing
sentimentalist who imagines that the African peoples can be "set free" by
a stroke of the pen and that their troubles will thereupon be ended. He knows
that the exploitation of the coloured peoples by the whites has got to be
ended, and as quickly as possible, and he also knows that in the age of the
bombing plane a primitive agricultural people cannot be genuinely independent.
In the case of Africa the problem is enormously complicated by cultural and
economic differences. In Africa, human beings are living at every level of
civilization between the late Stone Age and the twentieth century. There
are areas where racial discrimination is more brutal than anywhere in the
world, and there are areas where there is no colour-bar at all. Moreover-a
problem which does not exist in Asia-there are large communities of white
settlers who have lived in Africa for many generations and cannot be left
out of the general picture. It is because he so weIl understands the complexity
of the situation that Mr. Cary is especially fitted, to plead for African
He has an unusuaIly independent mind, and rnany readers wiIl feel a certain
relief in reading a book on a political subject by a man who has thought
deeply over the problems of our time, and has been above current political
movements and their characteristic jargon.
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