From the early 1960s, and throughout the 1970s, southern African liberation movements successfully waged wars of national liberation, forcing white minority regimes to negotiate independence under black majority rule. This success partly stemmed from extensive diplomatic, military, and material support extended to various liberation movements by regional alliances such as the frontline states and transnational state actors and solidarity movements. This article examines salient aspects of Zambia’s contribution as a prominent regional actor to the liberation wars in southern Africa. In doing so, it underlines the nature and significance of Zambia’s support for the liberation movements. I argue that Zambia’s authorities employed a dual strategy, war and diplomacy, in seeking to secure black majority rule in the region, but for mainly economic reasons, they were more inclined to pursue diplomatic approaches rather than exclusively relying on violence. They backed armed struggle only to the extent that it was a necessary instrument to coerce the white minority regimes to the negotiating table, but this strategy had limited success, and created numerous tensions and contradictions. Some nationalist leaders accused Zambia’s authorities of undermining the liberation wars. Based extensively on new Zambian archival documents and interviews with former Zambian leaders, this article brings fresh evidence about the intricacies of Zambia’s contribution to the liberation wars in southern Africa.
"A Good Measure of Sacrifice: Aspects of Zambia’s Contribution to the Liberation Wars in Southern Africa, 1964-1975,"
Zambia Social Science Journal: Vol. 6:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/zssj/vol6/iss1/3