11 JANUARY 1963, Page 20

Brightening Continent

Zambia Shall Be Free. By Kenneth D. Kaunda. (Heinemann, 12s. 6d.) Out in the Midday Sun. By Boris Gussman. (Allen and Unwin, 21s.) A Time to Speak. By June Drummond. (Gol- lancz, 18s.)

THE first reaction one has in reading Mr. Kenneth Kaunda's autobiography is to be genuinely afraid for him. And I am not being facetious here; nor is this fear due to any appre- hension that in the present contest with Welensky he may not endure to win out. In a way he has already won the contest. My fear is simply due to watching a good man—one wants to say a pure man—attempting to mount an offensive with bow and arrow in a world so dangerous that nobody ventures out without being at least armed with a double-barrel shot- gun, or something worse.

Like Chief Albert Luthuli of South Africa, Kenneth Kaunda of Northern Rhodesia is a moralist who, one suspects, has simply been thrust into a position of political power by the nature of events; and in this autobiography he often gives the impression of someone who is sincerely appalled that there is so much evil, double-dealing and insensitivity in the world outside. This complete lack of guile is un- common enough in any politician, but in an African leader who, conceivably, has en- countered more than a good share of brute in- sensitivity, arrogance and duplicity at the bands of the white settler administrations, it is nothing less than amazing.

In this slim volume the thirty-eight-year-old leader, who might turn out to be the eventual prime minister of Northern Rhodesia, tells what must now be a familiar story for African politicans. His father, David Kaunda, first African missionary to be appointed by the Livingstonia Mission Society to the Chinsali District, died when Kenneth Kaunda was eight, leaving his widowed mother to fend for the five children.

Kenneth Kaunda trained as a teacher. Like the other status-seeking educated young Africans he joined the Chinsali African Welfare Association where, he informs us with charac- teristic candour, one of the burning issues dis- cussed was the provision of boots to district messengers. 'We made regular complaints to the DC on the subject over a period of years and received no satisfaction.'

However, Kenneth Kaunda developed into something more formidable. He became a political leader who so harassed the Rhodesian administration by his attack on Federation that by 1959 the local authorities had found it necessary to put him in prison for nine months for 'conspiring to effect an, unlawful purpose,', Mr. Kaunda tells his story simply, without any histrionics, and yet for all the quiet dignity which shines through these pages, or the over- riding purpose to wreck Federation, we do not gain any insight into Mr. Kaunda's overall political thinking. After all, once achieved, power must be set to work—usually by men who are cunning enough to understand its ramifica- tions—and the question arises, therefore, for whom or against whom is this power to be set to work and in what manner? Most of us shy away from political leadership and would rather go out shooting pheasants than grapple with such questions.

For those who still wonder -why so many

Kaundas have sprung up in colonial possessions to tell their colonial ,masters to 'go to hell,' Mr. Boris Gussman informs them in tight, in- cisive prose in his book, Out in the Midday Sun. Mr. Gussman believes the answer is to be found in the unbelievably arrogant behaviour of the colonial English, such as is found in E. M. Forster's A Passage to India. In other words, sheer bad manners have done more than anything else to break the empire, or if not actually to break it, to prepare the tinder for setting it alight. Yet the pity of it all is that books like Mr. Gussman's are pouring out of the presses when the empire is all but ashes. Otherwise it would have been put to rest with a great deal of ceremony and affection on the part of the natives.

Relying on many valuable studies made in South Africa and the Federation, Mr. Gussman identifies the roots of prejudice as springing from a series of 'cultural shocks' that white settlers experience in encountering people whose way of life is different from theirs. 'All the gestures, the expected forms of communica- tion and the accepted ways of doing things are reversed or even unknown and they are replaced by a quite different and apparently illogical system.'

There is nothing in Mr. Gussman's book

that is startlingly new. The theories he discusses about cultural conflict are all known to socio- logists and psychologists by now, but what be does do and does well is to show these theories in action. Out of his valuable knowledge of Central Africa he has built up an intelligent and intelligible picture of the causes of con- flict_ on both sides of the colour-line. For those Europeans who are emigrating to Africa and other foreign lands one can do no more than urge them to take Gussman with them.

Taking the novel as her medium to tell more

or less the same story of conflict between black and white, Miss June Drummond concentrates her vision upon the small imaginery dorp of Peace Drift where the government is about to move the entire black community to new land as a first step toward carrying out the apartheid programme. The protagonists are a young doctor, Ben Nevis, a pragmatic liberal, who falls in love with Nella, the daughter of Karl Ebenezer, an idealist who wants the white community to make a choice between complete separation of races, which he favours, and com- plete integration, and Julius Kruger, a reason- able Afrikaner who yearns for yesterday and wishes things to remain as they are.

Miss Drummond has studied well the

physiognomy of a small town. Also she brings the novelist's sympathy to bear upon a harsh geography of country and spirit; yet, for all that the fascination one has with this small novel is based upon curiosity about the theme of racial conflict rather than upon Miss Drum- a,rtistic, consummation., , LEWIS NKOSI