Harold MacMillan’s Wind of Change Speech is blowing through this continent (Still does today)

Made to the South Africa Parliament on 3 February 1960:

It is, as I have said, a special privilege for me to be here in 1960
when you are celebrating what I might call the golden wedding of the
Union. At such a time it is natural and right that you should pause to
take stock of your position, to look back at what you have achieved,
to look forward to what lies ahead. In the fifty years of their
nationhood the people of South Africa have built a strong economy
founded upon a healthy agriculture and thriving and resilient

No one could fail to be impressed with the immense material progress
which has been achieved. That all this has been accomplished in so
short a time is a striking testimony to the skill, energy and
initiative of your people. We in Britain are proud of the contribution
we have made to this remarkable achievement. Much of it has been
financed by British capital. …

… As I’ve travelled around the Union I have found everywhere, as I
expected, a deep preoccupation with what is happening in the rest of
the African continent. I understand and sympathise with your interests
in these events and your anxiety about them.

Ever since the break up of the Roman empire one of the constant facts
of political life in Europe has been the emergence of independent
nations. They have come into existence over the centuries in different
forms, different kinds of government, but all have been inspired by a
deep, keen feeling of nationalism, which has grown as the nations have

In the twentieth century, and especially since the end of the war, the
processes which gave birth to the nation states of Europe have been
repeated all over the world. We have seen the awakening of national
consciousness in peoples who have for centuries lived in dependence
upon some other power. Fifteen years ago this movement spread through
Asia. Many countries there, of different races and civilisations,
pressed their claim to an independent national life.
Today the same thing is happening in Africa, and the most striking of
all the impressions I have formed since I left London a month ago is
of the strength of this African national consciousness. In different
places it takes different forms, but it is happening everywhere.

The wind of change is blowing through this continent, and whether we
like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political
fact. We must all accept it as a fact, and our national policies must
take account of it.

Well you understand this better than anyone, you are sprung from
Europe, the home of nationalism, here in Africa you have yourselves
created a free nation. A new nation. Indeed in the history of our
times yours will be recorded as the first of the African nationalists.
This tide of national consciousness which is now rising in Africa, is
a fact, for which both you and we, and the other nations of the
western world are ultimately responsible.
For its causes are to be found in the achievements of western
civilisation, in the pushing forwards of the frontiers of knowledge,
the applying of science to the service of human needs, in the
expanding of food production, in the speeding and multiplying of the
means of communication, and perhaps above all and more than anything
else in the spread of education.
As I have said, the growth of national consciousness in Africa is a
political fact, and we must accept it as such. That means, I would
judge, that we’ve got to come to terms with it. I sincerely believe
that if we cannot do so we may imperil the precarious balance between
the East and West on which the peace of the world depends.

The world today is divided into three main groups. First there are
what we call the Western Powers. You in South Africa and we in Britain
belong to this group, together with our friends and allies in other
parts of the Commonwealth. In the United States of America and in
Europe we call it the Free World. Secondly there are the Communists –
Russia and her satellites in Europe and China whose population will
rise by the end of the next ten years to the staggering total of 800
million. Thirdly, there are those parts of the world whose people are
at present uncommitted either to Communism or to our Western ideas. In
this context we think first of Asia and then of Africa. As I see it
the great issue in this second half of the twentieth century is
whether the uncommitted peoples of Asia and Africa will swing to the
East or to the West. Will they be drawn into the Communist camp? Or
will the great experiments in self-government that are now being made
in Asia and Africa, especially within the Commonwealth, prove so
successful, and by their example so compelling, that the balance will
come down in favour of freedom and order and justice? The struggle is
joined, and it is a struggle for the minds of men. What is now on
trial is much more than our military strength or our diplomatic and
administrative skill. It is our way of life. The uncommitted nations
want to see before they choose.