Enumerate legacies of colonialism in Sub Saharan Africa. Can we rightly say that colonialism has benefited Africans? if no, why?

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saintfester's profile pic

saintfester | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The legacy of colonialism in Sub Saharan African is still very much a part of geo-politics today. First, there is the matter of the current boundaries. African’s political map is very much a result of colonialism where European powers redrew political boundaries without any concern for ethnic or tribal tensions. Although these modern nations could negotiate their own borders, this part of colonialism’s legacy had led to innumerable tensions within these countries today.

For decades, European powers robbed African nations of their mineral wealth. Nations were used as pawns in global political games played by European countries, and more often than not this process lent itself to cruelty. The Belgian Congo is one such example of a nation being “raped” by a European power in its quest for raw materials, and the people of the Congo are still recovering from this occupation decades later.

There are some positive part to the legacy of colonialism. Colonial rulers left many things behind after Africans countered and began asserting their independence. Foundations of law, government, forms of administration and military organization were all in place when they left. Also, many countries inherited the infrastructures built to transport raw materials back to Europe. Rail lines, telephones, heavy industry, water, sewers and power were all in place after colonial powers left.

One could definitely argue about the state in which all the above-mentioned “contributions” were left. Political structures that worked in Europe don’t always work in countries that are split between different ethnic groups who have a history of violence. In Rwanda, when the Hutu’s came into power one of the first things they did was slaughter the Tutsi’s, their ethnic rivals.

One could also argue that the above benefits are useless without the skilled labor needed to properly run them, but for the most part these have been beneficial contributions.

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mjay25's profile pic

mjay25 | Student, Graduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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One could argue that teh effects of colonialism never really went away, and that Africa has always been enslaved and indebted to the colonialists, through their forced presence they have always had access to Africa's natural resources at little to no price.

The after-effects of colonialism have sometimes devastating effects upon a culture and its people. It displaces their original culture and enforces a dominanting and strange alien one. Sometimes traditions are lost, people are left feeling confused about their identity. They are taught through the colonial system, yet they are African. They are taught the colonial language, but through language comes a sense of identity. E.g, people in Africa had to study western romantic literature and read about daffodils, when they have no expeirence of the flower.

One example, colonialism takes over a country whose traditions they don't understand. Like in Nigeria, there were the Igbo tribe, who had an egalatarian society, one where there was no chief, as they felt mistrustful of ppl taking more power and ruling over others. Instead they based their society on a principle of chi or balance. However, when colonial forces came in, they didnt understand this, and deemed the tribe as primitive and they needed to be civilised. After the colonialists made chiefs and mayors from the tribe, a cicl war broke out. The Africans were fighting Africans, they had been divided. They broke the peace in the country through their 'civilising' mission.

Just a small example. Hope ithelps to get you thinking along such lines to argue against the 'legacies' of colonialism.

 

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