A REGION IN CONFLICT. A CLOSE-UP VIEW OF WHIE-RULED SOUTH AFRICA AND ITS NEIGHBORS
SOUTH AFRICA APARTHEID `Apartness' This policy, which strictly segregates the races, denies the majority black population any vote in national affairs. There have been shifts in the policy, however. One example: President P.W. Botha is trying to bring moderate black leaders into a (still racially defined) system of national ``power sharing.''
Other changes under Mr. Botha, who took office nearly a decade ago: the legalization of black labor unions, including their right to strike; the acceptance of a still-undefined ``permanent status'' for millions of blacks living near cities, who were previously considered citizens of one of 10 distant tribal ``homelands''; the restoration of South African citizenship to some of these blacks; the repeal of the pass-law system that strictly regulated where blacks could live, work, and travel; the introduction of legislation to set up a National Statutory Council to negotiate a system of black ``power sharing'' in central government.
Still on the books are laws enforcing or endorsing racial segregation in housing, schools, and many public facilities. A new Constitution drawn up in 1983 created separate parliamentary chambers for ethnic Asians and mixed-race Coloreds. But the white chamber's voice remains paramount. Botha has said that any envisaged ``power sharing'' must rule out black ``domination.''
Four of the 10 black tribal ``homelands'' established since 1959 have claimed ``independence.'' Their governments are recognized only by Pretoria. Last year, efforts by the KwaNdebele homeland to gain independence were squelched by violent local opposition. The homelands policy - which sets aside 13 percent of South Africa's land for about 70 percent of the population - reflects Pretoria's contention that there is no ``black majority'' in South Africa, but an assortment of separate tribal minorities. The government is now considering restoring South African citizenship to some blacks who lost it under the homelands policy, which strips blacks of citizenship and legal rights within South Africa once their homeland becomes ``independent.''
Some 85 percent of South Africa's population is nonwhite (1980 census). Of the nonwhite population, 74 percent is black. The five largest black tribes comprise 84 percent of the total black population:
Zulu (6 million, 34 percent).
Xhosa (3 million, 18 percent).
Sepedi, North Sotho (2.5 million, 14 percent).
Seshoeshoe, South Sotho (1.8 million, 10 percent)
Tswana (1.4 million, 8 percent)
South Africa rules this mineral-rich territory despite a call from the United Nations for Namibian independence and free elections. In July, the South African-installed multiracial government approved a draft of an ``independent constitution.'' The move is seen by Namibian nationalists as Pretoria's attempt to protect white-minority privileges and obstruct the UN resolution, which calls for South Africa to withdraw from Namibia. South Africa refuses to leave until some 35,000 Cuban troops leave Angola. In turn, Angola says the Cubans will not go home until South Africa is out of Namibia. For the first time in a number of years, however, the United States and Angola are ``privately'' discussing new proposals for breaking the deadlock.
Backed by the United States and South Africa, rebels of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola have been fighting the government since 1975. They operate throughout southeastern Angola and have a self-avowed policy of wreaking economic havoc in the countryside. Since 1985, US and Angolan officials have met periodically to draw up a plan that would end the civil war, send some 35,000 Cubans home, and end South African rule in Namibia.
Rebels of the Mozambique National Resistance Movement, backed by South Africa, have been fighting to overthrow the Maputo government for 11 years. This year they have made significant gains in the southern regions and have, for the first time ever, launched raids into Zimbabwe, which backs the Mozambican government forces with some 7,000 to 12,000 troops.
THE NEIGHBORING BLACK COUNTRIES
The nine black-ruled nations of southern Africa are tightly bound to South Africa. Their plans to loosen these bonds through sanctions and stronger regional economic activities are, by and large, making little progress. Angola: Ideologically, this war-torn nation is tied to the East bloc; economically, to the Western world. Its economy, which is heavily dependent on oil exports, is in shambles and it recently appealed for $116 million in food aid. The President has initiated austerity measures and begun making contacts with Western countries in search of economic investment. Botswana: The only nation in the region with a multiparty democracy, Botswana has one of the world's fastest-growing economies - even in its sixth straight year of drought. Though it is almost totally dependent on South Africa, it has no diplomatic relations with Pretoria. Lesotho: Since he took power in a coup in January 1986, Gen. Justin Lekhanya has moved this ``island'' surrounded by South Africa further under Pretoria's wing. Some 200,000 of its 1.4 million people work in South Africa. Last year the two nations embarked on a huge water project which will further link their economies. Tanzania: After 27 years of independence, Tanzania cannot feed itself, and spends most of its income on food imports. It is currently ndergoing a change of guard and the new ruler has taken steps to radically turn away from socialist economic practices and adopt Western-prescribed policies. Malawi: Alone among the leaders of independent Africa, Malawi's Hastings Kamazu Banda maintains full diplomatic ties with South Africa. He has long said it is the only way for his poor, landlocked, and overcrowded country to survive. He is under more pressure from his neighbors than ever before to cut those ties, and to halt alleged support for South Africa's efforts to destabilize Mozambique by backing the insurgency there. Mozambique: Looking for Western relief and investment funds, Mozambique's new leader, Joaquim Chissano, is trying to reshape the nation's Marxist-style economy. The policies he is pursuing were launched by former President Samora Machel, who was killed last year in a plane crash. Mr. Chissano refuses to negotiate with the South African-backed rebels. He has vowed to crush the insurgency, has changed the leadership in his Army, and is receiving increased support from the forces of neighboring countries. Swaziland: This tiny nation has a diverse and prosperous economy. Like Lesotho it belongs to the Pretoria-dominated Southern African Customs Union and has a large number of laborers in South Africa. Its refugee camps are bulging with Mozambicans fleeing civil war at home. Zambia: The recent appointment of Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda as head of the Organization for African Unity puts him in the spotlight. Economic problems this year stirred the first serious unrest Zambia has known since independence and pushed Mr. Kaunda to renege on his agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Zimbabwe: The strongest black-ruled nation economically and militarily in this region, Zimbabwe is at the head of regional efforts to influence events in South Africa. So far, however, it has been unable both at home and in the region to garner active support for stringent sanctions against Pretoria. Recently, Prime Minister Robert Mugabe has taken the final steps toward establishing a one-party state - a goal he has had since independence nearly seven years ago.