Show MoreThere is an ongoing debate between many scholars on how contemporary political and economic failures in the continent of Africa can be traced back to the advent of colonialism. There is a great deal of evidence that illustrates the impact that colonialism and an imperialistic intervention has had a negative impact on the development of present history of Africa. This essay will attempt to examine the geographic, political and ethnic impact European colonialism has played on the development of the African, and these contributions have put Africa on its current trajectory.
Initial Europe interest in Africa appeared as humanitarian. Many of the imperial nations appeared interested in acting on behalf of the African states, in issues of…show more content…
Several European nations took it upon themselves to assimilate the people of Africa to what the Europeans considered as civilized. Peter Schraeder put it best in his article, Political and Economic Impacts of Colonialism, when he said, “Britain’s portrayal of its efforts as the ‘whites man’s burden’ and France’s pronouncement of its “mission civilisatrice”, were offered to justify European domination over peoples deemed ‘backward,’ ‘ignorant,’ ‘uncivilized,’ ‘barbaric,’ ‘savage,’ and ‘godless heathen.’” It certainly must make one wonder why, would one country take the role of a protectorate if it viewed the African’s in this light. This must have also been on of the reason that the Britain established the institutions they did during colonial rule.
One of the most significant impacts and methods introduced by the colonial powers to civilize the African people was the implementation of nation-state system. Many pre-colonial African nations and kingdoms varied in respect to their polities and general structure. For instance, some lived in small families or clans, with authority and leadership usually given to the elders, while governed under kingdoms encompassed large areas. In pre-colonial Uganda, there were an array of kingdoms ranging from the Buganda to the Ankole and even the Toro. Before the advent of present day Uganda, the area “was a heterogeneous area, with a variety of customary practices, social and
Colonialism and Africa Essays
1687 Words7 Pages
Modern African states have several problems ranging from corruption, to armed conflict, to stunted structural development. The effects of colonialism have been offered as a starting point for much of the analysis on African states, but the question of why African states are particularly dysfunctional needs to be examined, given the extent to which they have lagged behind other former European colonies in many aspects. In the first section, I will consider the problems with African states from the level of the state. That is, the nature of the states' inceptions and the underlying flaws may explain some of the issues that have been associated with African states today. Next I examine the development of, or lack of, civil…show more content…
Whatever the exact nature of the various African ethnogenesis processes, the states gaining independence were populated by groups which had differing loyalties. This scenario would fall foul of many theories of the state, in which the absence of the coherent link between the population and the power structure of the state calls it into question. Ethnic cleavages has been a factor in many of the numerous coups d'etat and armed conflicts throughout Africa, as rival groups see the power of state apparatus as a prize worth fighting for(Warner 2001, p89). One example of ethnic cleavage which can be traced directly to colonial foundations is that of the African/Asian(Indian) divide in Kenya and Uganda. Paul Vandenberg explains the racial privileges which the Asians enjoyed under British rule, leading to their concentration as a relatively successful ethnic group. As migrants flowed within the British empire, Asians who arrived in Kenya were given greater access to social, educational and capitalist opportunities by the colonials, as a result of higher 'racial' status(also Bennell 1982, p131). This expanding community naturally reinforced itself, in part due to the issues of trust and networking, in the absence of openly available commercial institutions(Vandenberg 2003, p450). Another consequence of inheriting the colonial state is the diversion of resources to maintaining the integrity of these states post-independence. The