JOHANNESBURG: If Southern Sudan, why not Southern Nigeria, or Northern Ivory Coast, or multiple Congos? The Sudanese vote has implications for all of Africa, signalling that the borders drawn by colonial cartographers are no longer sacrosanct. Some fear it may spur the Balkanisation of the continent.
''The referendum in Sudan could have a domino effect,'' said Shehu Sani, president of the Civil Rights Congress in Nigeria. ''It is likely to be infectious to other parts of Africa in the sense that most countries … are divided along the lines of Christians and Muslims.''
The continent's arbitrary borders - blind to ethnic, cultural and political faultlines - were drawn up by European powers at the Berlin conference of 1884-85. When the colonies began gaining independence 50 years ago, the Organisation of African Unity (now the African Union) declared the borders immutable because the alternative would look like a smashed window pane of thousands of warring states.
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