Moi University School of Arts and Social Sciences BAS 302: NATIONALISM AND AFRICAN STATES BA/118/18 COLLINS KIMAIYO [email protected] 0719220322 4 th JULY 2022 1
Define the concept of African Nationalism Within the context of African colonial experience of African countries. "Nationalism," according to Benedict Anderson "is the expression of national feeling; the expression of a radically changed form of consciousness." and it is also "the awakening of a nation to self-consciousness: it invents nation where they do not exist" according to Gellner. African Nationalism is a term used to define the set of political ideologies within the African continent. African Nationalism was based on the demand of self-rule and played a significant role in the decolonization process across Africa. In the African context, the nationalism as a movement has been under the control of the African elites. It is a natural response to foreign oppression and exploitation through imperialism and colonialism. Nationalism in Africa can be traced back to the Berlin conference of 1884. Prior to the Berlin conference Africa as a continent was divided into 'ethnic-nations.' Johann Gottlieb referred to people sharing a common language, religion, culture, history, and ethnic origins , that differentiate them from people of other nations., that differentiate them from people of other nations. After the division of the African continent in the beginning of the 20th century, colonies appeared, and different ethnic peoples and cultures were forced to live in territories with borders. So, from then Africans were under different European political administrations in the colonies.The origin of African nationalism also started at that period because Africans faced lot of problems under the oppression. The colonial policies led to the growth of African unhappiness through force labor, high taxation, land alienation for example in Togo and Namibia under German colonization, racial discrimination, slashing etc. All those bad attitudes made African hate the colonial masters and the colonial system and nationalism feeling has started growing in their heart. Nationalism in Africa was the result of the colonial economic status in Africa because the traditional economic system has been affected seriously due to the European capitalist 2
method which brought African into the world economy. This new system is no more suitable to the Africans who have started having reaction against colonialism and from these reactions appeared nationalism as a movement in reaction to the wealth of the imperial rules. Nationalism in Africa has been established through western education who led to the rise and growth of African nationalism. Few African who went to school acquired colonial language like French or English, and communication became extremely easy between different tribes. Jomo Kenyatta, Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah are just but a few of the Africans educated by the colonizer and later were pro-African Nationalism The 1930s/40 S was an era of growing anti-colonial nationalism and colonial regimes across Africa were under intense pressure from organized nationalist movements for independence led by an emergent class of educated African elites who saw the war as an opportunity to put pressure and to obtain the independence of colonies. The war and his effects directed the minds of Africans more on liberation and independence and it has strengthened the sense of nationalism and hastened the emergence of African political voices in several ways The experiences of the WWI and WWII war veterans who came back with information about a changing world bolstered the African nationalism spirit. The Second World War was a major factor which encouraged African nationalism. Africans were enrolled in French and British armies, as soldiers and they knew the use of guns, the military weakness of white people, and, they were influenced by American soldiers about democracy and freedom. War propaganda provided an opportunity for Britain to rally her West African subjects against Nazi system, but this war also permitted the African elites to articulate their nationalist demands about freedom and self-determination that underline British war propaganda. Another factor involved in African nationalism was the position of the American President Franklin Roosevelt and the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Atlantic Charter in 1941. The two leaders declared that they respected the right of all 3
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