Communism cannot thrive in a prosperous societu

By Herman Labuschagne

I stopped at an antique shop that was busy closing down this week, and found two photo albums of a South African state visit by Prime Minister John Vorster to Malawi in 1970. The manageress said I’ve been buying from them for so many years that she wanted me to have the albums as a gift.

 

I was grateful. Mr. John Vorster is very distantly related, so from a genealogical point of view the gift was valuable. It also contained a big autographed photo of President Hasting Kamuzu Banda, as well as a copy of the speeches that were made.

 

Prime minister JB Vorster.

 

A section of Banda’s speech impressed me where he said, “I can assure you, Honourable Prime Minister, and through you, your Government, particularly the State President, that every single penny you have lent us, and will lend us in the future – because I am going to ask for some more – will be spent on the project we tell you that is what we want the money or. Nothing will go into my pocket, not a penny. Not a penny will go into the pocket of any of my Ministers, not one, not here. There is no 5% here, or 10% - as it happens in other countries. No Minister gets 5% of any contract here. Not here. So that you can be quite assured that every penny you lend us will be spent on the project for which we ask you the money; not in anyone’s pocket, at all.”

 

President Banda's Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III.

 

I have not heard such words in Africa for a long time. Dr. Banda was a controversial figure all his life, but a few things could be said in his favour: He was one of the precious few African leaders who resisted communist advances, who stood at South Africa’s side during its isolation years (despite enormous pressure), and who made a big issue out of hammering moral standards into his countrymen.

 

"There are, unfortunately, also other ominous signs, new threats to Africa. Certain foreign elements, whilst professing friendship with the peoples of Africa, wish to avoid economic stability and prosperity because it is only in chaos that they can reach their own goals.

 

I was, for instance, amazed the other day, Sir, to read that people who profess and who say that they have the interest of Africa at heart, that they want to do something for under-developed Africa – that they were the people who shouted loudest against the Cabora Bassa and the Kunene Schemes and other schemes which have as their sole aim the development of Africa. That sort of mentality, Sir, I, for one, cannot understand.

 

President Hastings Banda of Malawi.

 

Unfortunately, they are beginning to open a door into our Continent, establishing a new threat not only to your country and to mine, but to the whole of Southern Africa and even Africa.

 

But thank Heaven, Communism cannot thrive in a prosperous free society backed by law and order.

 

And this new threat that must imbue us with greater determination to proceed on our determined road of creating prosperity, of healthy co-operation and of maintaining law and order.”

 

– Prime Minister John Vorster, at State House, Zomba, in Malawi, on 20 May 1970.

 

Prime minister John Vorster and his entourage, flying commercially on a state visit to Malawi.