Africa Notes: Seven Scenarios for South Africa - October 1985
October 29, 1985
South Africa has seven possible destinies. From left to right the seven rubrics are: (1) Revolution, (2) Substantial Regime Change, (3) Power Sharing, (4) Limited Power Sharing, (5) Concessions, (6) Change But No Change, and (7) Reaction and Retrenchment.
The least likely scenarios-those hardest to imagine being realized-are the two extreme ones at either end of the continuum. This is a testimony to the extent to which South Africa has evolved politically. No matter how virulent and enduring the unrest of 1985, the country's ruling cadre has clearly undergone a profound shift in outlook since the days of Prime Minister Vorster. South Africa is no longer a country where whites believe that apartheid as a political program can ensure the continued dominance of whites over blacks. Likewise, Africans no longer accept their subjugation or believe that whites can magically make the power of black numbers disappear. A process of evolution has begun and is accelerating. The violence and repression of 1984-85 have hastened the pace of change objectively and also in terms of both white and black thinking. Political participation has emerged as the only sure bridge across the abyss dividing black and white aspirations for this beautiful, rich, and potentially powerful country.