A Letter From The Publisher: Jan. 16, 1984

TIME Correspondent Marsh Clark, who originated the idea of a cover story that would survey Africa a quarter-century after independence, has worked in the southern part of that continent for three years. He is not one of journalism's "old Africa hands," but he thinks he knows the type well. They are, he explains, "the ones who have suffered Africa's bureaucratic indignities, its frustrations and inefficiencies, and its occasional dangers, but who still believe that the continent's shortcomings are far outweighed by its virtues: its heart-stopping beauty, its hospitable people, its primitiveness."

For the preparation of this week's story, which included reporting...

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