Whereas Chapter 6 dealt with the invasion of the political arena by the Armed Forces shortly after independence, here we are largely concerned with a different face of militarism: namely, the phenomenon of the liberation movement. In the Portuguese colonies, it required sustained guerrilla warfare before the last vestiges of European rule were removed from African soil in 1974/75. Apart from Djibouti, that only left white minority rule in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and South Africa, and the latter’s dominion over South West Africa (Namibia). Here liberation wars were also fought, but with differential levels of success. In each of the cases under consideration, a retarded liberation also brought a significant reappraisal of basic objectives. Whereas the first generation of African leaders were only too happy to accept the reins of power from the departing colonial power, the initial optimism surrounding independence had dissipated by the end of the 1960s. The liberation movements therefore envisaged a different kind of freedom, which would not merely substitute black faces for white ones,but transform the very nature of power itself. In the Portuguese territories, Rhodesia and (to a lesser extent) SWA, nationalists embarked on a ‘people’s war’ — a term which signified that liberation would benefit the mass of the population, but equally that it would result from their active participation.
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