Southern African Politics - a Broad Outline
Before the Second World War, the politics of Southern Africa was, as it was in most corners of the globe, the politics of colonialism and white minority rule. In 1948 white South Africa moved against a growing global trend towards democracy and majority rule, and embraced the conservative 'National Party', which was later to officially formulate the policy of Apartheid.
North of South Africa, however, things were changing and, in 1966, Botswana became the region's first country to gain independence. Zimbabwe followed in 1980, after a protracted bush war. In 1990 Namibia became independent from South Africa and, in 1994, the apparently impossible came to pass when South Africa transitioned peacefully to majority rule, and Nelson Mandela became the country's first democratically elected leader.
All four major countries of the region - South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia - are now multi-party democracies, holding regular elections. In all four countries, the parties which led their countries to independence and majority rule still hold office: the BDP in Botswana, ZANU-PF in Zimbabwe, SWAPO in Namibia, and the ANC in South Africa. Today Southern Africa is at the cutting edge of contemporary African politics, and is widely regarded as the politically most stable, and economically most prosperous, region of Africa.