The World: Black Africa a Decade Later

THE ritual was staged again and again a decade ago. The stadium would fill with cheering Africans. The band would play a tattoo. Schoolchildren would scramble forward to slay papier-mâché dragons representing poverty, ignorance and disease. Fireworks would ignite the southern sky. At midnight a throaty cheer of "Uhuru!" (Swahili for "freedom") or "Kwacha!" ("dawn" in Bemba and Nyanja) would shake the ground as the flag of the colonial power was lowered and the colors of the new nation raised.

In all, 17 of Black Africa's 34 countries (see map) marched to independence...

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