Letter: Tribal struggles in modern Africa

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Sir: Richard Dowden's article on South Africa ('My tribe, not my nation', 22 March) was a breath of fresh air. Too often the British media demonstrate an infatuation with the ANC that is blind to its complicity in the country's present unrest and hopelessly idealistic about the future prospects for democracy under its control.

It is not racist or reactionary, as is sometimes implied, to recognise the regional, ethnic and tribal differences that exist in South Africa and to want to find a political solution that accommodates them. Not to do so, however, is to create a powder keg that is sure to explode and to take any possibility of democracy and civilised government with it.

The proposals of Inkatha for a self-governing Zulu nation (and similar proposals made by other racial and tribal groups) may not gel with Western liberal sensibilities, but they are realistic in an African context. They alone point the way to a stable and prosperous future for all South Africans and it is a tragedy that F. W. de Klerk has been so successfully wooed by Nelson Mandela and his friends.

Yours faithfully,


Daventry, Northamptonshire

22 March