Last Updated 18 Nov 2022

A History of the Colonization of Africa and Its Modern Inhabitants

Words 6187 (24 pages)
Views 5

It was in the early 17th century that the first white man set foot in what was or perhaps even is the most intriguing land of all Black Africa. It was the age of exploration. European explorers went around the world, visiting various lands and coming in contact with all kinds of people, people that were they knew nothing about. In retrospect that age was the probably the beginning of the diminishing world but it was to lead to perhaps one of the most controversial political systems of all time colonialism by which powerful European countries went into, traded and finally governed various parts of the world that were technologically inferior to them and were thus unable to resist subjugation. Africa, though the birthplace of humanity, had little to offer it. So, it is not surprising that much of it had migrated to lands that were less hostile climatically and had more fertile soil. The people that had remained had not changed much since those days and were still members of various tribes, speaking dozens of different languages some steeped in pagan worship and cannibalism. However, their culture was ancient and mystical and their mission was survival as opposed to the determination of their migrant brothers to develop. This difference was soon to be considered as proof of African barbarianism. It was with casual interest that the first European came to Africa. They returned full of tales of the savage people and their barbaric customs. However, another thing that they had also noticed was the various opportunities of trade available. Africa had a lot to offer in the shape of raw materials, cheap sources of labor, slaves etc. Thus, the trader followed the explorers into the black continent and laid the foundations of colonial rule. A century or so later, European powers were locked in a struggle for occupying more and more land in Africa. Some Africans resisted the takeover, but their spear wielding armies were swept aside by the Maxim gun and the repeater rifle. Much of Africa gave in without a fight, its kings signed away sovereignty with a thumbprint. Many allied with the intruders believing they would help them fight with other tribes. Others were overawed by the technology they saw in the shape of guns and other weapons. Thus, various European powers blast! ed or signed their way through Africa. When the scramble as it is called threatened to cause a rift among the Europeans, they decided to meet and sort out their differences.

This resulted in the partition of Africa by the powers into spheres of influence. This partition was done in a way that displayed the indifference the Europeans felt for the African people. The partition was done by diplomats sitting thousands of miles away by simply drawing straight lines on a map without a thought for the people that they be might separated or the geography. That was perhaps the least of their worries. Posing as parents to the Africans, The Europeans counted them taxed them and ordered into tribes and where there werent any, they created them. The best land was taken for plantations and the minerals dug out and shipped back to Europe. Africans saw little of their lands wealth. The European occupation of Africa was short-lived barely a generation in some areas. Throughout their rule, the European version of politics was kept exclusively for Europe, only a few references were made to it while they lowered the flag. Africa was left psychologically and politically impoverished. Much of it is still so. Modern Africa Floods in Mozambique, threats of famine in Ethiopia, mass murder in Uganda, he implosion of Sierra Leone, and a string of wars across the continent. The new millennium has brought more disaster than hope to Africa. However, a few candles of hope are still flickering or a brief moment in the 1990s there were signs of improvement. World Bank figures showed some economic growth in the continent, enough to take more people out of poverty than in years. At the same time, multi-party democracy spread across the continent and new leaders emerged- Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia. This new breed'' wanted to make life better for all their people by providing basic health care and education. They seemed to understand that peace and good government were essential. Though most of them had been socialists, they embraced the free market.

Democracy and liberalization seemed to flourish. There was talk of an African renaissance. It was an illusion. The new leaders became embroiled in wars, some with each other, and the cheerful statistics were the result of good rains and bad accounting. Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole had a growth rate of less than 3% in that period, which just about kept step with the rate of population increase. So no one was getting richer. The figures not to mention the recent crop of disasters and wars--now suggest that Africa is losing the battle. All the bottom places in the world league tables are filled by African countries, and the gap between them and the rest of the world is widening. According to Paul Collier of the World Bank, only 15% of Africans today live in an environment considered minimally adequate for sustainable growth and development. At least 45% of Africans live in poverty, and African countries need growth rates of 7% or more to cut that figure in half in 15 years. Only three countries in sub-Saharan Africa Congo-Brazzaville, Angola and Rwanda--are growing that fast. The first two are oil producers, and oil is notorious for destroying other economic life forms in Africa. Rwanda's growth is aid-driven. Last year, sub-Saharan Africa as a whole grew by only 2.5%. Most of these countries cannot do better, says the Economic Commission for Africa, because, apart from South Africa, Botswana and Mauritius, they lack the basic structures needed to develop. AIDS deaths are rising, especially among the young urban middle class who could bring about Africa's political and economic revival.

Order custom essay A History of the Colonization of Africa and Its Modern Inhabitants with free plagiarism report

GET ORIGINAL PAPER

The next generation will be more numerous, poorer, less educated and more desperate. With most African countries tottering on their feet and some on the brink of collapse, some people ask whether the problem is due to Africas colonial experienceinherent inadequacies of the African? For apologists of colonialism, the answer is simple. Whatever the shortcomings of colonial rule, the overall effect was beneficial for Africa. Ofcourse there had been exploitation but the economic gap between Africa and the West had been reduced. Colonialism had laid the foundations for economic and intellectual growth. It brought enlightenment where there was ignorance. Slavery and other barbaric practices were suppressed. Africans were given a taste of formal education and enjoyed the benefits of modern medicine. Modern communications and new industries were established. Africans were reformed politically as well. Where there had been tribes, there were now modern states. The political turmoil in Africa is not due to colonization but because Africans were unable to take advantag! e of its inherited institutions. Critics of colonialism say that this theory is racist. They maintain that colonialism left Africa poorer than ever. African labor and resources were exploited and Africans never saw the wealth of that their country possessed. Guyanese historian Walter Rodney in his book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa contends that under colonialism "the only thing that developed were dependency and underdevelopment." The African people are survivors. Living in a land where soils are poor, lasting only a few planting seasons, the sun burning harshly, the rain either not coming or washing everything away (Mozambique), the beasts and bugs big and diseases fatal, they have survived the greatest calamities known to man. Besides these indigenous forces of destruction, he also survived the invasion of first the Semantics and then the Caucasian, the Maxim rifle, the slave traders, laboring away for a master that he never knew, imported diseases, mineral exploitation. However, when it was all over and the African people were free, they found themselves unable to survive the huge responsibility of existing on their own. The disease that plagues them is not AIDS, it is dependency.

The most damaging effect of imperialism on the black man was not physical. I f it had been perhaps he would have survived it. It was psychological. The Europeans that had come to Africa had no appreciation for the mystical culture of the Africans. In their minds, all Africans were barbarians with no civilization, culture or religion. They needed to be led out of their ignorance which the Europeans were very happy to provide. Therefore there came with the traders and the explorers, the missionaries who came to give the Africans enlightenment. However, while doing their noble task of educating the African people, they first had to make the people believe that they had to learn and respect all things European and in that way realize the inferiority of their own culture and civilization. The missionaries passed on to their pupils contempt of indigenous culture and civilization. European education and Christianity were thrust upon the natives the material that was taught talked o! f the superiority of the European races. A class of Africans was created that had European education and very little self-confidence. One example: the East African reported recently that a white foreigner had been appointed to head the Kenya Commercial Bank, since `it became clear that the appointment of an indigenous Kenyan might lead to a run on the bank.''

In disrupting pre-colonial political systems that worked for Africans and imposing alien models, colonialism laid the seeds of political crisis. By redrawing of the map of Africa, throwing diverse people together without consideration for established borders, ethnic conflicts were created that are now destabilising the continent. African states were not forged by ethnicity, nationalism and war. They were simply bequeathed by departing imperial powers who left highly centralised, authoritarian states to a tiny group of western-educated Africans who rushed in and took over. The new nation-states were artificial and many were too small to be viable. Fewer than a third of the countries in Africa have populations of more than 10 million. Nigeria, the major exception to this, was imbued with ingredients for its self-destruction. Western multi-party democracy imposed by colonial powers polarised African societies. "It was the introduction of party politics by colonial administration ! that set off the fire of ethnic conflicts in Nigeria," wrote one Itodo Ojobo in the New Nigerian newspaper in 1986. Some of those states, such as Congo, were established by Europeans as businesses to be milked for profit. Their successors simply continued the practice. Africa has an abundance of valuable minerals and some good land, attracting outsiders to extract the raw materials and ignore the rest. Independence often meant little more than a change in the colour of the faces of the oppressors. The new rulers made few changes on the surface, except to tweak constitutions to favour those in power. The African state, as invented by Europeans, has been neither deconstructed nor reconstituted.

In some places, however as in Somalia it has been destroyed. The new elite proclaimed national unity and denounced tribalism; but they soon found, like the imperial powers before them, that manipulating tribal affiliation was essential to preserving power. It is not just unluckly coincidence that Africa has had such a poor crop of leaders. Colonialism was forced upon Africa. It was a dictatorship in which people had no right to self-determination. However, when it was time to leave, an alien institution was imposed upon the people and they were expected to adopt it obediently. Leaders emerge from a society, and they remain a part of it. Therefore, Africans are just as lost as their leaders. The proof of this can be seen every day in the waiting rooms of Africa's presidential palaces. Slumped on the sofas will be diplomats waiting for an audience, foreign businessmen often dodgy ones looking for a contract, and members of the president's family or clan in search of money for school fees or a funeral. Whatever the diary says, most presidents try to satisfy the family first. The demands of Africa are more powerful than those of the outside world. Thus, tribalism is a part of the African and it cannot leave him no matter what the! IMF says. In most countries, a man standing for office tries to demonstrate that he shares the concerns of the common man. In Africa, a politician has to show that he has escaped from ordinary life: that he is a Big Man, powerful and rich, a benefactor far above the people whose support he seeks. Many African leaders grew up in dire poverty, and like to demonstrate their change of circumstances through conspicuous displays of western wealth. Few African palaces have anything in them made in Africa. By personalising power, African leaders have undermined rather than boosted national institutions. The recent apparent spread of democracy in the continent is often a sham. Traditionally, African societies, with a few exceptions such as those of the Somalis or the Ibos in Nigeria, were not very democratic, though many had checks on the powers of the ruler. Today, only a few countries have a middle class, a body of professionals and businessmen with an allegiance to a national entity, laws and institutions, which they regard as greater than the ruler or his party.

Zimbabwe, which should have such a middle class, has shown in recent weeks that, apart from a few brave judges, officials consider their allegiance is owed to the president, not to the state. There are elections in Africa, but little democracy. Some rulers, like Uganda's Mr Museveni, argue that party elections are actually bad for Africa, because parties divide people along ethnic lines. Aid donors have finally reject! ed Mr Museveni's no-party democracy, and are sceptical of Ethiopia's opposite experiment with parties based on ethnicity. Nor have other African countries taken up these ideas. The aid donors, whose support is essential for African rulers, demand multi-party democracy on a western model. But they have applied it inconsistently. Cynics call it donor democracy just enough fair voting and respect for human rights to satisfy the aid donors. Certainly, there would be few elections in Africa were it not for outside pressure. Yet democracy does not have much to offer Africa. Democracies there are no more stable than dictatorships, and civil wars are just as common. In the economic sphere, autocracies may find it easier than democracies to keep to IMF and World Bank conditions such as tight money supply, low inflation and fewer civil servants. Sudan, an international pariah with no democracy and no international assistance, is doing as well as anyone these days, with a current growth rate of more than 7%. Much of Africa is ruled more by rainfall than politics. Another phenomena that not only colonialism but present day Imperialism has created is that of a shell state. The African ruler finds himself trapped. He wants power and control; but the outside world makes demands about democracy, human rights and good governance, which weaken his position and could cost him his job. If he cannot use the treasury as his private bank account and the police as his private army, he tries to create alternative sources of wealth and power.

This is why more and more African rulers are turning their countries into shell states. On the outside, these have all the trappings of a modern state: borders, flags, ministers, civil services, courts. Inside, they have been hollowed out. The supreme master of the shell state was Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire, which was renamed Congo when he was thrown out in 1997. During Mobutu's 35-year rule, Zaire had ministers and a cabinet, ministries and governors, officials and diplomats. These appeared to make up the structure of a government. In fact, they were Mobutu's personal networks, through which he stole the wealth of Congo. In the early 1990s, the Ministry of Mines in the capital, Kinshasa, was empty except for one floor. Its officials used their positions for the perks: an office with a telephone, perhaps a car. During office hours, however, they engaged in other business. On the top floor, the minister presided, protected by a couple of soldiers (A little sweet for us, please,'' they would ask each visitor), and a secretary. The waiting room was packed with Zaireans coming to beg favours, many of them relatives, and half-a-dozen Europeans clutching bulging briefcases. They were there to bribe the minister for mining permits. He could keep the money for himself, unless Mobutu called him to ask for cash; in which case, he would have to disgorge some of his takings.If Mobutu thought someone was becoming too powerful, he would sack him or even jail him. Once back in favour, however, he might be posted to another lucrative feeding ground. The state treasury probably never saw a cent; the people we! re robbed, often directly and brutally, by junior officials, soldiers and policemen in the street. When Mobutu was under pressure to democratise in the early 1990s, he urged his unpaid army to go and loot. They did, destroying what was left of the country's commerce and creating chaos--which Mobutu promptly used as an excuse to postpone elections and make his rule indispensable. There are parts of Liberia that appear to be normal functioning institutions of a conventional state. Some ministers are not corrupt, and Mr Taylor himself can talk to visitors well enough about his worthy aims for the country. The visitors are often impressed. But are they right to be? What is happening on the surface may be no clue to the way the country is run behind the scenes. Mr Taylor recently passed a law that gives him the right to dispose of all ``strategic commodities''.

These are defined as all mineral resources, all natural forest products, all art, artefacts and handicrafts, all agricultural and fishery products and anything else the president chooses to call strategic. Liberia is, in fact, Charles Taylor Inc. In Kenya and Zambia, powerful politicians, not necessarily the presidents, use their political positions to amass fortunes which they then use for political ends. They work through hidden networks, with their placemen in key positions in important ministries. Kenya still has the remains of a credible civil service, which, though corrupt, still handles the country's official paperwork. At the same time, a hidden network intervenes and blocks whatever is inconvenient for the men who are really in charge. Zambia has such a network too, more powerful than the state. It is hard to say who is responsible for Africas ills. It is just as hard to give a balance-sheet on colonialism. What is unequivocal is that it was an imposition of alien rule. Whatever may have been its pluses and minuses, colonialism was a dictatorial regime that denied peoples right of self determination. It brought death, pain and humiliation to millions of its victims. To meet their economic and administrative needs colonial powers built some infrastructure, like railway to carry export commodities, and they educated a few Africans to help them run the colonies. But nowhere in Africa were positive contributions made to any substantial extent. Countries like Nigeria and Ghana, which were among the better endowed colonies were left with only a few rail lines, rudimentary infrastructure and a few thousand graduates. This was better than others. For instance, the Portuguese left their colonies with very little. At independence in 1975, Mozambique had only three dozen grad! uates. If the legacies of the different colonial powers were rated by Africans today, the powers that bequeathed the greatest amount of western culture to its colonies would likely score most votes.

Only reactionary aristocrats in northern Nigeria would today thank the British for keeping out western education in their region. It is clear to most northerners that they were placed at a disadvantage to the south by the educational gap between the two regions. When Flemish missionaries in the Belgium Congo learnt African languages to teach local children in their mother tongues, the children did not thank them. Young Congolese protested repeatedly and demanded to learn French because this was the way to gain access to the wider world. It is impossible to say what would have been the shape of contemporary African history had colonial rule never taken place. Some Western historians have argued that most less developed regions of the world, particularly Africa, lacked the social and economic organisation to transform themselves into modern states able to develop into advanced economies. "If they had not become European possessions the majority would probably have remained very much as they were," wrote Cambridge historian D.K. Fieldhouse. African nationalists dismiss this claim. "It is not true that Africa couldnt have developed without colonialism. If it were true, then there is something wrong with the rest of world which developed without it," the late Nigerian politician Moshood Abiola told a conference in 1991. Africans point out that Japan, China and parts of Southeast Asia were never colonised, yet they are today major world economies. These countries, however, had certain attributes in the nineteenth century that enabled them to adapt more easily to modernisation than might have traditional African societies in the same period. The Asian nations had more educated labour force and were technologically more advanced. Most importantly, their ruling classes were more ideologically committed to social progress and economic development. It is, of course, a presumption that modernisation is desirable. The fact that western society is more complex than traditional African society does not necessarily mean that it is better.

Complexity does not equal human progress. Pre-colonial African societies were materially less developed than societies in other regions of the world, but they were no less balanced and self-contained than any elsewhere. Africans were no less happy or felt less accomplished than Europeans or Japanese. Who is to say whether people living in agrarian societies are less developed as human beings than inhabitants of industrialised ones? However, had Africa not been colonised, the likelihood is that its elite would still have wanted to consume the products and services of western industrial nations. It is unlikely that African chiefs and traders would have been content with the simplicity of communal life to shut off their communities from Western advances. If during the slave trade, rulers and traders happily waged wars and sold fellow humans to buy beads, guns and second-hand hats, one can only imagine what they would have done if faced with offers of cars, televisions, MacDonalds etc. Undoubtedly, without colonisation African societies would still have sought industrialisation and western type modernisation, as have peoples in virtually every other region in the world. As there is no basis to assume that Africans would have independently developed electricity, the motor engine and other products of advanced technologies, it is fair to suppose that if Africa had not been colonised it would today still have to grapple with problems of economic development. Africa would have needed to import western technology and therefore would have had to export something to pay for it. Like other pre-industrial societies, African nations would invariably have had to trade minerals and agricultural commodities for western manufactures. So Africas position in the international economy, particularly as a producer of primary products for industrialised countries, should not be blamed solely on colonialism. It is largely a function of unequal development. Therefore, it would be fair to say that the exploitation of colonised Africa was far greater than its development. The states that were created were artificial and threw together diverse people and separated tribes. This has resulted in a series of wars that have rocked Africa and consumed much of the money that could have been used for development. African never saw any of its wealth as indigenous industries were not developed and all the mineral resources were shipped off to be used in Europe.

The only positive effect that colonialism had was in the social sector with the abolition of slavery, cannibalism and the spread of the knowledge of western medicine. Much of Africa is still a slave to the West. It is dependent on it for financial aid. The West in return for aid is doing Africa another wrong; it is forcing its own political system on it once again. It ha to realize that Africa needs to develop its own programmes and policies. Aid is ambiguous in its effects. In the Horn of Africa, for example, the aid that helps to rescue famine victims also benefits Ukrainian arms-dealers. It has to realize that Africa needs to develop its own programmes and policies. More than anything, the African people need to regain their confidence in themselves and each other. Only then can they end wars and build political institutions that they believe in. Introduction It was in the early 17th century that the first white man set foot in what was or perhaps even is the most intriguing land of all Black Africa. It was the age of exploration. European explorers went around the world, visiting various lands and coming in contact with all kinds of people, people that were they knew nothing about. In retrospect that age was the probably the beginning of the diminishing world but it was to lead to perhaps one of the most controversial political systems of all time colonialism by which powerful European countries went into, traded and finally governed various parts of the world that were technologically inferior to them and were thus unable to resist subjugation. Africa, though the birthplace of humanity, had little to offer it. So, it is not surprising that much of it had migrated to lands that were less hostile climatically and had more fertile soil. The people that had remained had not changed much since those days and were still members of various tribes, speaking dozens of different languages some steeped in pagan worship and cannibalism. However, their culture was ancient and mystical and their mission was survival as opposed to the determination of their migrant brothers to develop. This difference was soon to be considered as proof of African barbarianism. It was with casual interest that the first European came to Africa. They returned full of tales of the savage people and their barbaric customs. However, another thing that they had also noticed was the various opportunities of trade available. Africa had a lot to offer in the shape of raw materials, cheap sources of labor, slaves etc. Thus, the trader followed the explorers into the black continent and laid the foundations of colonial rule. A century or so later, European powers were locked in a struggle for occupying more and more land in Africa. Some Africans resisted the takeover, but their spear wielding armies were swept aside by the Maxim gun and the repeater rifle.

Much of Africa gave in without a fight, its kings signed away sovereignty with a thumbprint. Many allied with the intruders believing they would help them fight with other tribes. Others were overawed by the technology they saw in the shape of guns and other weapons. Thus, various European powers blast! ed or signed their way through Africa. When the scramble as it is called threatened to cause a rift among the Europeans, they decided to meet and sort out their differences. This resulted in the partition of Africa by the powers into spheres of influence. This partition was done in a way that displayed the indifference the Europeans felt for the African people. The partition was done by diplomats sitting thousands of miles away by simply drawing straight lines on a map without a thought for the people that they be might separated or the geography. That was perhaps the least of their worries. Posing as parents to the Africans, The Europeans counted them taxed them and ordered into tribes and where there werent any, they created them. The best land was taken for plantations and the minerals dug out and shipped back to Europe. Africans saw little of their lands wealth. The European occupation of Africa was short-lived barely a generation in some areas. Throughout their rule, the European version of politics was kept exclusively for Europe, only a few references were made to it while they lowered the flag. Africa was left psychologically and politically impoverished. Much of it is still so. Modern Africa Floods in Mozambique, threats of famine in Ethiopia, mass murder in Uganda, he implosion of Sierra Leone, and a string of wars across the continent. The new millennium has brought more disaster than hope to Africa. However, a few candles of hope are still flickering or a brief moment in the 1990s there were signs of improvement. World Bank figures showed some economic growth in the continent, enough to take more people out of poverty than in years. At the same time, multi-party democracy spread across the continent and new leaders emerged- Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Yoweri Museveni in Uganda, Meles Zenawi in Ethiopia. This new breed'' wanted to make life better for all their people by providing basic health care and education. They seemed to understand that peace and good government were essential.

Though most of them had been socialists, they embraced the free market. Democracy and liberalization seemed to flourish. There was talk of an ``African renaissance''. It was an illusion. The new leaders became embroiled in wars, some with each other, and the cheerful statistics were the result of good rains and bad accounting. Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole had a growth rate of less than 3% in that period, which just about kept step with the rate of population increase. So no one was getting richer. The figures not to mention the recent crop of disasters and wars--now suggest that Africa is losing the battle. All the bottom places in the world league tables are filled by African countries, and the gap between them and the rest of the world is widening. According to Paul Collier of the World Bank, only 15% of Africans today live in an environment considered minimally adequate for sustainable growth and development.' At least 45% of Africans live in poverty, and African countries need growth rates of 7% or more to cut that figure in half in 15 years. Only three countries in sub-Saharan Africa Congo-Brazzaville, Angola and Rwanda are growing that fast. The first two are oil producers, and oil is notorious for destroying other economic life forms in Africa. Rwanda's growth is aid-driven. Last year, sub-Saharan Africa as a whole grew by only 2.5%. Most of these countries cannot do better, says the Economic Commission for Africa, because, apart from South Africa, Botswana and Mauritius, they lack the basic structures needed to develop. AIDS deaths are rising, especially among the young urban middle class who could bring about Africa's political and economic revival. The next generation will be more numerous, poorer, less educated and more desperate. With most African countries tottering on their feet and some on the brink of collapse, some people ask whether the problem is due to Africas colonial experienceinherent inadequacies of the African? For apologists of colonialism, the answer is simple. Whatever the shortcomings of colonial rule, the overall effect was beneficial for Africa. Ofcourse there had been exploitation but the economic gap between Africa and the West had been reduced. Colonialism had laid the foundations for economic and intellectual growth.

It brought enlightenment where there was ignorance. Slavery and other barbaric practices were suppressed. Africans were given a taste of formal education and enjoyed the benefits of modern medicine. Modern communications and new industries were established. Africans were reformed politically as well. Where there had been tribes, there were now modern states. The political turmoil in Africa is not due to colonization but because Africans were unable to take advantag! e of its inherited institutions. Critics of colonialism say that this theory is racist. They maintain that colonialism left Africa poorer than ever. African labor and resources were exploited and Africans never saw the wealth of that their country possessed. Guyanese historian Walter Rodney in his book How Europe Underdeveloped Africa contends that under colonialism "the only thing that developed were dependency and underdevelopment." The African people are survivors. Living in a land where soils are poor, lasting only a few planting seasons, the sun burning harshly, the rain either not coming or washing everything away (Mozambique), the beasts and bugs big and diseases fatal, they have survived the greatest calamities known to man. Besides these indigenous forces of destruction, he also survived the invasion of first the Semantics and then the Caucasian, the Maxim rifle, the slave traders, laboring away for a master that he never knew, imported diseases, mineral exploitation. However, when it was all over and the African people were free, they found themselves unable to survive the huge responsibility of existing on their own. The disease that plagues them is not AIDS, it is dependency. The most damaging effect of imperialism on the black man was not physical. I f it had been perhaps he would have survived it. It was psychological. The Europeans that had come to Africa had no appreciation for the mystical culture of the Africans. In their minds, all Africans were barbarians with no civilization, culture or religion. They needed to be led out of their ignorance which the Europeans were very happy to provide.

Therefore there came with the traders and the explorers, the missionaries who came to give the Africans enlightenment. However, while doing their noble task of educating the African people, they first had to make the people believe that they had to learn and respect all things European and in that way realize the inferiority of their own culture and civilization. The missionaries passed on to their pupils contempt of indigenous culture and civilization. European education and Christianity were thrust upon the natives the material that was taught talked o! f the superiority of the European races. A class of Africans was created that had European education and very little self-confidence. One example: the East African reported recently that a white foreigner had been appointed to head the Kenya Commercial Bank, since `it became clear that the appointment of an indigenous Kenyan might lead to a run on the bank.'' In disrupting pre-colonial political systems that worked for Africans and imposing alien models, colonialism laid the seeds of political crisis. By redrawing of the map of Africa, throwing diverse people together without consideration for established borders, ethnic conflicts were created that are now destabilising the continent. African states were not forged by ethnicity, nationalism and war. They were simply bequeathed by departing imperial powers who left highly centralised, authoritarian states to a tiny group of western-educated Africans who rushed in and took over. The new nation-states were artificial and many were too small to be viable. Fewer than a third of the countries in Africa have populations of more than 10 million. Nigeria, the major exception to this, was imbued with ingredients for its self-destruction.

Western multi-party democracy imposed by colonial powers polarised African societies. "It was the introduction of party politics by colonial administration ! that set off the fire of ethnic conflicts in Nigeria," wrote one Itodo Ojobo in the New Nigerian newspaper in 1986. Some of those states, such as Congo, were established by Europeans as businesses to be milked for profit. Their successors simply continued the practice. Africa has an abundance of valuable minerals and some good land, attracting outsiders to extract the raw materials and ignore the rest. Independence often meant little more than a change in the colour of the faces of the oppressors. The new rulers made few changes on the surface, except to tweak constitutions to favour those in power. The African state, as invented by Europeans, has been neither deconstructed nor reconstituted. In some places, however as in Somalia it has been destroyed. The new elite proclaimed national unity and denounced tribalism; but they soon found, like the imperial powers before them, that manipulating tribal affiliation was essential to preserving power. It is not just unluckly coincidence that Africa has had such a poor crop of leaders. Colonialism was forced upon Africa. It was a dictatorship in which people had no right to self-determination. However, when it was time to leave, an alien institution was imposed upon the people and they were expected to adopt it obediently. Leaders emerge from a society, and they remain a part of it. Therefore, Africans are just as lost as their leaders. The proof of this can be seen every day in the waiting rooms of Africa's presidential palaces. Slumped on the sofas will be diplomats waiting for an audience, foreign businessmen often dodgy ones looking for a contract, and members of the president's family or clan in search of money for school fees or a funeral. Whatever the diary says, most presidents try to satisfy the family first. The demands of Africa are more powerful than those of the outside world. Thus, tribalism is a part of the African and it cannot leave him no matter what the!

This essay was written by a fellow student. You can use it as an example when writing your own essay or use it as a source, but you need cite it.

Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses

Starting from 3 hours delivery 450+ experts on 30 subjects
get essay help 124  experts online

Did you know that we have over 70,000 essays on 3,000 topics in our database?

Cite this page

Explore how the human body functions as one unit in harmony in order to life

A History of the Colonization of Africa and Its Modern Inhabitants. (2022, Nov 18). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-history-of-the-colonization-of-africa-and-its-modern-inhabitants/

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Run a free check or have your essay done for you

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer