How Fidel Castro helped end Apartheid

Fidel Castro addressing a crowd in Havana, circa 1978.

Many people see the death of Fidel Castro as the end of an era. Yet the Castroite legacy is alive in one form. Cuba has played a key role lending support to national liberation movements around the world. One major site of struggle during this period was Southern Africa. There the Cuban leader backed the ANC to the hilt when Nelson Mandela was widely regarded as a ‘terrorist’. Castro opposed European colonialism and fostered ties with independence leaders. This was not simply tactical, it was a part of an emancipatory process. Contrary to popular misconceptions, the Cuban revolution was really … Continue reading

Keith Somerville on Africa’s Long Road Since Independence

As a journalist, Keith Somerville was stationed in Malawi in 1981 to monitor regional radio coverage. The BBC World Service maintained the Monitoring Service, with bases in Kenya and Malawi, to track events across southern, central and eastern Africa. The Monitoring Service worked both for the BBC and its funder, the British government, and routinely passed on information to the Ministry of Defence and, by extension, to the intelligence services. The radio networks played a vital role in Africa because of widespread illiteracy, as well as the lack of infrastructure and logistics necessary for a functioning press. Radio broadcasts offered … Continue reading