British Empire Article

Wind of Change

Harold Macmillan's 'Wind of Change' speech to the South African Parliament in 1960 represented a real turning point in Britain's attitude to its African colonies. The fact that a Conservative politician was delivering such a stark message to the Apartheid white-dominated South African parliament could hardly have made it more apposite. White South African politicians most certainly did not want to hear the message that majority rule was inevitable and to be welcomed throughout Africa. Within a year, South Africa had left the Commonwealth and redoubled its racist and separatist policies. Britain, on the other hand, quickly divested itself of most of its remaining African colonies within a few years of this speech. The one exception was to be Southern Rhodesia which illegally tried to continue its white minority rule for another fifteen years when it declared UDI and withdrew from the Commonwealth.

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