Prime Minister B.J. Vorster predicts South Africa will become leading state in the Southern Africa


Prime Minister B.J. Prime Minister B.J. Vorster Source:

Sunday, 16 May 1971

The South African Prime Minister B.J. Vorster declared that if the positive signs of cooperation with the rest of Africa are interpreted accurately, South Africa could become the leading state in Southern Africa. Ten days later, South Africa signed mutual articles of agreement on the Southern African Regional Tourism Council.

South Africa continued to have good relations with white colonial governments in Angola and Mozambique in the hope that together they would prevent the spread of socialist and communist influences into the sub continent. The fall of the Portuguese government in a coup in Lisbon led to the fall of colonial governments in the colonies, leaving South Africa vulnerable. In just under a decade of having made the prediction, South Africa was encircled by new socialist and Soviet-backed states eager to contribute to bringing apartheid in South Africa to an end.    

From the mid 1990s South Africa became increasingly involved in the continent.  After 1994 the country became a key member of Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC). As an influential member of the SADC, South Africa played a key role where it attempted to broker peace agreements in the continent. This increasing involvement of South Africa in Africa came almost 20 years after Vorster’s remarks.

• O’Malley P. ‘1971’, from O’Malley, [online], available at (Accessed: 13 April 2012)
• South African History Online, ‘Timeline: 1970s’, [online], available at (Accessed: 13 April 2012)

Last updated : 14-May-2015

This article was produced by South African History Online on 09-May-2012

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