Socialism in Africa - The results over 50+ years in dozens of African countries

This is a long but intriguing study into socialism versus captialism in Africa starting with many of the independence movements that sought to eschew the colonialism of the past that was thought to be part and parcel with captialism.

Socialism in Africa over 50+ years

There are many similarities with some of the African countries with South American countries

What lessons can South America and Chile learn from Africa?

I don´t think it would be easy to come to any conclusions about socialism vs capitalism from what happened in Africa between 1960 and 2000.

In my opinion, one major reason that they didn´t do well is that it is just too hot there, makes it harder to work. I have plotted GDP vs latitude (as a proxy for temperature) and found it convincing.

Another is just bad governments, whether left or right , just corrupt. A lot of African leaders 1960-2000 weren´t even trying to help the country. They just saw the opportunity to be Prime Minister/President as an opportunity to enrich themselves and family and maybe tribe.

Some of it may come down to colonialism - drawing borders on a map that weren´t there before, then leaving, and expecting the locals to sort it out.

Nelson Mandela was one of the few successful leaders and he was left leaning but I don´t think his success was because of that.

I don´t think Chile should be looking at Africa to learn lessons. I would look to democratic, free and prosperous wherever in the world they are and that means many European countries, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Bhutan, South Korea, Japan. Apart from Mauritius and Cape Verde, there aren´t too many African countries that stand out as a success.

Chile could also look at other countries in South America. Things have gone wrong in Brazil, Argentina and especially Venezuela that could be learned from.

chuckles in South African

Mandela was “successful” because he stayed out of white people’s and, therefore, the economy’s way. The economy boomed throughout the 90s/00s because the ANC bigwigs were bought out by big business and sanctions had been lifted. You must understand that South Africa had an incredibly diversified economy that would have moved along fine through the 70s and 80s had the West not betrayed it. Incidentally, it collaborated with Pinochet in a number of commie-busting initiatives.

In some respects, the West turning on it was even a blessing in disguise because it forced the country to start developing its own industrial capacity in various areas. Mandela was basically handed a Ferrari with an empty tank and a big outstanding vehicle loan. He’d have to have worked REALLY hard to screw it up.

The reason socialism is so popular in Africa is it because it resonates deeply with black African culture. You just have to read up on the philosophy of Ubuntu which Mandela and Desmond Tutu popularised to see what it’s all about. African tribal culture is all about the collective.

To wit, South Africa is coming up to three decades of thievery, corruption, crime, homicide, infant rape, cannibalism, a near completely-collapsed civil service, failing public healthcare, daily blackouts of between two and six hours and yet only NOW in 2024 will the ANC be facing its first serious threat of losing its outright majority in parliament despite inequality being higher than it ever was under apartheid.

Think about that. It doesn’t have a FPTP electoral system. It’s fully PR. What country can you name anywhere in the world where a single party holds an OUTRIGHT majority in a fully PR system? I’ll wait.

So, why, you might ask, does the electorate keep returning a literal mafia organisation (if you run for office of your local ward, there’s a good chance you will wind up dead because you’re interfering with the piggies at the trough) to the corridors of power when they invariably turn around and screw those that voted for them the most?

In the run-up to the 2019 election, the Institute for Race Relations, which is a liberal think tank that’s been going for 93 years, published data of survey data which they had collected pertaining to voting patterns. It showed the following party support:

Bear in mind that South Africa’s demographics break down as follows:
Blacks: 80%
Coloureds (mixed-race, and no, I will not accommodate the sensibilities of uppity first-worlders here): 8.5%
Whites: 8%
Indians/Asians: ~2%

ANC [Democratic socialists]: 96% of support came from blacks
DA [SocDems originating as apartheid-era opposition party in whites-only parliament]: 27% black, 37% white, 28% coloured, 8% Indian
EFF [Bastard ANC offspring Leninist NazBols]: 97% black, 1% white, 3% coloured, 0% Indian

ANC/EFF combined took 80% of the black vote, 5% of the white vote, 16% of the coloured vote, and 13% of the Indian vote.
By contrast, the DA took 7% of the black vote, 69% of the white vote, 69% of the coloured vote, and 60% of the Indian vote.

There is no better evidence that cultural and economic values are split down racial lines than that polling data.

But to further hammer home the point I am about to make, you need to understand the historical voting patterns. In the days when the ANC was receiving 65+% of the vote (yes, really), they were doing so with the support of large chunks, if not majorities, of the coloured and Indian vote as they too had been marginalised under apartheid. But, as you can see, they have abandoned the ANC and now vote in the same proportions as whites with whites.

So, what gives? What’s up with the blacks? What is preventing them from switching their vote?

And here is the crux of the matter. In the black mind, a vote isn’t the empowerment of a representative to better your life. That is too self-interested. It is simply a declaration of your allegiance. Switching your vote from the ANC to the DA would be akin to switching from being a Man U supporter to being a Liverpool fan. Or converting from Judaism to Islam. It would be a betrayal of a kind that the black mind simply cannot fathom.

And why would this be the case? I shall elucidate. You see, if you are a black African as little as 130 years ago, you would be running around in animal skins with no woven textiles, no wheels, no reliable food sources, the tribe over in the next valley trying to kill you and steal your women; if you abandon the tribe or you do something which threatens intra-tribal stability, you die. You either starve to death, or are eaten by lions or killed by another tribe who comes across your wretched path. The tribe is life. The tribe is you. It is better to live under abusive tyranny (Shaka Zulu killed between a million and two million blacks long before whitey was a factor) than to find oneself alone in the bush which is a fate worse than death…followed by death.

Which brings me to the topic in question. Socialism is so popular in Africa because socialism is the tribe writ large. A bunch of collectively-conscious cattle looking for redistributionist strong men to herd and direct them. It is why democracies have failed from Pretoria to Accra and why Africa remains a skip conflagration.

PS. You guys think Chilenos are bad? I went out walkies during the protests and got shot in the hand with a balín. That’s how tame I see them. Chilenos are rank amateurs when it comes to destructive politics and protesting.


Thanks for an interesting, informed, and I guess first-hand-experience alternative viewpoint.

The progressive West has the habit of supporting these radical (but safely distant) “freedom” movements, then turning a blind eye when the country goes to shit as a result.

Another example is Nicaragua. Remember The Clash’s Sandinista?

Nearer to home, the widespread Allende veneration and Pinochet demonization is part of the same ignorance that fails to appreciate the irony in this pic:

thegimp, thanks for your perspective. It agrees with what I know, mostly from reading books such as Mandela’s autobiography.

I hadn 't thought of the socialism/tribalism angle before so that is interesting. However in some ways it fits…However there could also be a conflict between tribal power and someone trying to impose socialism at a national level.

I was reading Ayaan Hirsi’s Ali s book earlier this week and in the earlier chapters she describes similar tribal situation in Somalia as well as a little in Kenya and Ethiopia. Nigeria is also similarly tribal from what I’ve read.

Do you think there is a change going on with national identities getting stronger over time. Does the younger generation still put the tribe first before the nation as they used to?

Aside from the fact that it’s too hot, I sometimes think that a fundamental problem with Africa, with all the strife 1960 - 2000, was that the borders drawn by Western colonial powers didn’t match the tribal boundaries. Imagine if Africa had been the more powerful continent and had colonized Europe and then drawn borders that made Belgium, Holland one country, and Sweden, Norway and Finland one country, and included half of France in with Germany, and the other half of France in with Spain, and put the Northern Ireland border in a different place, and decided St Petersburg should actually be in Poland and Milan should be part of Switzerland, and then just suddenly left and expected the Europeans to take care of all that without fighting.

Don’t take it as representative. Most in my demographic would throw all sorts of (valid) accusations at me for simply pointing out the facts. They would break down into 1) Those who are deluded about nature and nurture, 2) those that believe that multiculturalism is a nett benefit and should be encouraged and supported, and 3) those who agree with me but don’t have the balls to say it (In South Africa, it’s only whites that are jailed for racism. Black politicians can threaten genocide and nothing happens to them).

The Clash was a bit before my time, as my prefrontal cortex was still developing when they were around. But, yes. We hear nothing from Bono, Geldof and Phil Collins regarding the current state of affairs.

That pride flag is missing a few bands. I assume you are a transphobe and a racist?

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Of course. And a Pobre Facho to boot.
I take it you caught the irony I mentioned…I count six bands btw.

I think you misunderstand what I was trying to convey. I’m not saying that they vote along tribal lines like, say, the Shona in Zimbabwe where ZANU-PF is the main party (albeit under corrupt elections). This is a map of the various language groups present in South Africa.

As you can see, there are a number of regions in which a single language dominates, and you could reasonably conclude that these areas represent the extent of pre-colonial tribal territory.

The largest tribe are the Zulus which still only comprise between a fifth and a quarter of the population, so in order for the ANC to be commanding 55% of the vote, they have to be pulling from other tribes as well, which they do, especially the Xhosa from where they derive their ideological roots (Mandela was Xhosa). The Xhosa and Zulus are historical enemies and there is suspicion between them even today.

But what they share in common with each other and the other tribes is the mentality I described in my previous post. The tribal collective. The ANC is just a tribe of tribes. A super-tribe if you will. I’m guessing Hirsi Ali’s book had more to do with tribes competing with each other for power which was not what I was getting at when I was talking about tribal thinking. ANC literally stands for African National Congress and it is a black nationalist party. What I’m saying is that that tribal thinking separates blacks from the minorities who all share Western values of individual liberty, small communities, personal responsibility, free markets and democracy.

As for your point regarding cultures and borders…

I find this argument rather obnoxious as it usually comes from high-minded first world liberals making excuses for African failures. On the one hand they engage in the soft bigotry of low expectations whereby they blame African civil conflict on the drawing of arbitrary boundaries but, on the other, claim that multiculturalism is a virtue in their own countries. They cannot imagine that perhaps an inability to cooperate across ethnic boundaries might be the cause.

As for Africans colonising Europe, I mean…lol. It’s happening right before our eyes. But coming back to your point, again, black Africans are always given a lower standard for some reason. There are many other ethnic identities around the world that were forced to live with each other due to arbitrary boundaries, Europe included. In fact, the EU is one such project which was forced top-down on unwilling nations and therefore not one I support, but it’s not rife with civil war among its constituent members, now is it? It may be uneasy but it’s not violent. Pretty much all European countries were, at one time, a bunch of ethnically disparate states in one form or another. Iberia, the British Isles, Prussia, the Italian peninsula, the Balkans. Africans had the advantage of having territories and political systems handed to them to manage integration without the violence Europe had to endure, and they STILL can’t handle it. What is India doing right? Or most of South-East Asia for that matter?

At some point, black Africans need to start taking responsibility for their issues.

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I take it you caught the irony I mentioned…

I did.

I count six bands btw.

Yes, but to be truly enlightened, it has to have a few more which is what helped me draw the conclusion that you are both transphobic and a racist.

What is the map about? I don´t see a key that explains the colours. Is it tribal lands - is each colour a tribe?

I don´t buy your Europe comparison, because European countries had the time to develop steadily whereas African countries came to independence too quickly.
And the EU is not a country, is it, so not sure about that either.

The comparison to India and South East Asia is more interesting though. Obviously many of those countries did do better in 1960-2000 than Africa in economic growth and in some cases stability and avoidance of the type of tribal conflict and war that plagued Rwanda, Congo etc. Even though some of them also were ex colonies with random borders drawn on them.

India is an interesting case because it has a majority Hindu that can take power and mistreat the minority muslim. Not sure if that majority Hindu helped pull the country together? India was not really what you would call a country before the British arrived either.

Yes. Here is the original article. The biggest surprise is that Vox wrote it.

I don´t buy your Europe comparison, because European countries had the time to develop steadily whereas African countries came to independence too quickly.

Compared to whom? Black Africans have literally been around the longest? While Polynesians were navigating the vast deserts of the Pacific by boat and starlight, and the Inca were building cities in the high Andes in literally the furthest possible place from the Congo, what were the Sub-Saharans doing at the time?

Here’s a video to illustrate the point.

They had the most time out of anyone to “develop”. What were they doing that whole time? I’ll tell you what. Chilling. Taking it easy. You see, when you live in the tropics, two things are true. 1) It’s hot and humid and it counter-intuitively takes energy to keep your body temperature down so, as you pointed out, work is hard, BUT 2) you don’t NEED to do much work because there are no seasons and fruit will literally fall on your noggin as you lie in the shade of a tree in the midday sun picking your nose. If you want meat, the most you need to do is throw a spear at the latest herd of millions of wildebeest to pass your kraal that day. You are guaranteed to hit something.You don’t need to plan, you don’t need to sow, you don’t need to harvest, you don’t need to store and you don’t need to ration. Under these conditions, civilisation is simply surplus to requirements. It’s not a coincidence that civilisation evolved outside the tropics.

And the EU is not a country, is it, so not sure about that either.

The EU is quite obviously a federal state masquerading as a trade bloc.

The comparison to India and South East Asia is more interesting though. Obviously many of those countries did do better in 1960-2000 than Africa in economic growth and in some cases stability and avoidance of the type of tribal conflict and war that plagued Rwanda, Congo etc. Even though some of them also were ex colonies with random borders drawn on them.

Exactly. It was a set of ragtag clans that were continually at war with each other. Britain got its foothold by backing whichever of the princely states would swear allegiance to her in exchange for help in establishing control. India is soon to be the biggest country in the world (and all the economic might that comes with that) preciesly BECAUSE all those ethnic groups were united by a colonial power.

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Wow thegimp.

I am so fascinated I am not even sure what to say. Need time to process this firehose of intriguing insight. Thanks for sharing all of this.

Just to be clear…I am not being sarcastic. Genuinely compelling perspective

As for Africa being “too hot” to foster progress, as mentioned previously, here’s a quote from a current BBC news item:

People are experiencing rolling blackouts of up to six hours a day and are having to face a bitterly cold winter with an erratic and unreliable power supply.

And at the other end of the continent, I witnessed it snowing in the Sahara desert…

And not a single mention of the root cause of the collapse; Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.

But it’s the BBC so colour me unsurprised.

The blackouts have been going since 2008. In the late 90s, the white engineers and executives at Eskom warned the government that if investment was not made in the grid, demand would outstrip supply by 2007. They were ignored.

In 1998, the utility’s concerns were finally published in a white paper on energy policy from the Department of Minerals and Energy. The admonition was clear: “Eskom’s latest Integrated Electricity Plan forecasts for an assumed demand growth of 4,2% that Eskom’s present generation capacity surplus will be fully utilised by about 2007.” It added emphatically, “Timely steps will have to be taken to ensure that demand does not exceed available supply capacity and that appropriate strategies, including those with long lead times, are implemented in time. The next decision on supply-side investments will probably have to be taken by the end of 1999 to ensure that the electricity needs of the next decade are met.”

In 2008, the first blackouts started. Since, then, DESPITE building two new coal-powered station which rank in the top 20 by generating capacity in the world, total generation has declined to now LESS than it was in 1994. Corporate debt stands at $26b.

But what can one expect when white opinion is treated with the contempt it deserves?