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After independence

ole timer

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#1
After independence we will have to stand on our own and rely on our own resources, the unifying force, the cement…which had hitherto been supplied by the United Kingdom Government will be removed, and will have to be replaced by new virtues of our own which must be capable of keeping all the diverse elements of the country together, in mutual trust and harmony and with a common national purpose."
Excerpt taken from Awo, the Autobiography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo of Nigeria.

After the Second World War people in Africa wanted change. Only Egypt, Liberia and Ethiopia were independent at that point. But it was Indian self-rule which triggered the momentum leading to independence. Everywhere the mood was hopeful as people were inspired by the vision of a new society free of European control.

In Southern Africa, European settlers wanted to cut the ties with Britain and Portugal, but retain white minority rule, excluding the African population. The fighting resulting from this was violent and destructive to the infrastructure of the countries involved and their independent neighbours. Burdened by apartheid for decades, South Africans were the last people on the continent to attain majority rule. Meanwhile the Cold War conflict between America and the Soviet Union distorted politics at a regional level particularly in the South.

Attaining economic independence proved harder than gaining political independence. In some areas drought and famine destroyed agricultural production; elsewhere war has brought economic activity to a halt.

Political instability on the continent has been both the result and cause of economic difficulties. The cost of living has spiralled, hitting a fast growing urban population.

Attempts to create a strong manufacturing base failed in the main; many African currencies went through substantial periods when they could not be converted into Western currencies.

These negative trends have both caused the intervention of western economic institutions, like the IMF and World Bank, and been the result of that intervention. As a consequence there has been a steady migration of people from the continent to Europe and America looking for a better and more stable quality of life
 

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#2
Towards Independence

THE 1950's
The 1950's was a time of accelerated political change. At the end of the Second World War there were only three independent countries in Africa:

Liberia, which had been founded by freed slaves and declared itself independent in 1847.

Ethiopia, which was an ancient territory, had never been colonised by a European power despite the attempts of the Italians in the 1880's and 1930's.

and Egypt, which had achieved independence in 1922.

In 1951 Libya was granted independence from Hitler's former ally, war-weary Italy. Egypt renounced its historic control over Sudan. Britain had little choice then but to grant full independence to Sudan in 1956. In the same year, Morocco and Tunisia became independent of France.

INFLUENCES: INDIA
The country which made the biggest impact on African nationalists was India which was led to independence by Mahatma Gandhi in 1947. His confident doctrine of nonviolence, and his track record battling racial prejudice in South Africa made him a hugely influential model among African nationalists. He was assassinated in January 1948.

PAN-AFRICANS
Already in 1945 at the 5th Pan African Congress in Manchester, UK, there were a number of delegates who were later to bring their countries to independence. These included Hastings Banda (later President of Malawi), Kwame Nkrumah (later President of Ghana), Obafemi Awolowo (later Premier of the South West Region Nigeria) and Jomo Kenyatta (later President of Kenya).

But nobody could have predicted that within fifteen years of the meeting in Manchester, the vast majority of African countries would be independent. In the early 1950's, Julius Nyerere estimated that complete independence would not happen until the 1980's.

AFRICA & USA & SOVIET UNION
On the world stage America wanted an end to colonialism for reasons of free trade (easy access to African markets which had previously bought from Europe) and political influence. The Soviet Union wanted an end to colonialism and capitalism for reasons of ideology and to increase its sphere of influence.

While African nationalists took a pragmatic view of soviet style communism, the British government was concerned about the Soviet influence on Africa. And where African nationalists met with resistance or persecution from Europe, many welcomed the support and interest of the Soviet Union.

AFRICA & USA & SOVIET UNION
"…generally speaking, it is the detribalised native who responds best to communism, as he misses the narrow confines of tribal life and a leader on whom to bestow loyalty. This gives the Rand, with its inflow of immigrant labour, its special importance in the diffusion of communism in Africa…

Communism has made the least progress where the influence of Islam is strongest. Though in the past year the communist picture has been one of retrogression on some fronts, there are signs of increased interest in anti-colonialism from Moscow."
British Foreign and Colonial Office, Notes on the Aims, Strategy and Procedure of the Communists in Africa, 1 May 1950
 

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#3
French and British Colonial Styles

CONTRASTING PICTURES
People in Africa were burdened by colonial perceptions of who they were. The British believed Africans were essentially different from Europeans and would stay that way. This point of view invited racism, implying that Africans were not just different but also inferior.

The French, by comparison, were prepared to treat Africans as equals, but only if they learnt to speak French properly and adopted the values of French culture. If they reached a sufficient level of education Africans might be accepted as French citizens. To fall below the required level was to invite charges of racial inferiority.

France encouraged an increasing closeness with her colonies on the eve of independence and thereafter. Britain took the view that it would give limited support to its colonies as they moved into independence; for the British independence meant being independent of Britain.

Back in 1914 there was already an African politician in the French National Assembly (the equivalent of the British House of Commons). This was Blaise Diagne, representing Senegal. Another leading figure was Leopold Senghor. Before he became a politician, he was a teacher. In the 1930's he took the post of senior classics teacher at the Lycee in Tours, France. No British public school or grammar school at that time would have accepted an African as a teacher no matter how brilliant.

At a military level, there was a continued reliance on African soldiers by the French. Senegalese soldiers continued to be in the French army after World War II. This stands in contrast with the British, who immediately demobbed African soldiers after the war.

Acquiring the values and language of the French brought opportunities and prospects for people in the French colonies. But these were not enough for the growing number of nationalists.

In the 1950's African delegates in the French National Assembly came together to form the Rassemblement Democratique Africain (RDA) under the leadership of Felix Houphouet-Boigny from the Cote D'Ivoire. Senghor broke with the RDA in 1948 and formed the Bloc Democratique Senegalais, or BDS. He was determined that Senegal should be the leading political force in the region.

"I would like to assure the whites of our unshakable will to win our independence and that it would be stupid as well as dangerous for them to wish to make the clock march backwards. We are ready, if necessary as a last resort, to conquer liberty by any means, even violent ones."
Leopold Senghor talking in August 1946.


SOLDIER'S POINT OF VIEW
"I got into the French army during the colonial period...and first I was a private, then I became a sergeant in the army after four months....This was 26 July 1956. I really felt fine when I was in the French army...but unfortunately for me, after independence in my country, Senegal, our former Prime Minister, Mamadou Dia, asked us to leave the French army, but we didn't join our Senegalese army...instead I was sent to work in our ministry of finance.

I liked to be in the French army because it gave me more opportunities than the Senegalese army. With the French army, I could have easily become a captain, whereas with the Senegalese army that was not possible. This is why I really wanted to be a French citizen, because it gave me better prospects for my future.

I didn't become a French citizen because I was told at that time that if I became a French citizen I would no longer have the opportunity to see my family. This is the only reason why I decided not to become a French citizen and remain Senegalese."
Isidore Mandiouban, retired Senegalese soldier.

In 1960 independence came to most of the French colonies. In the same year Nigeria, the Gambia, Cameroun and Somalia became independent of British rule. Nigeria, because of its size and strong regional power bases, opted for a federal structure at independence.

Listen to Percy Nyayi on Gambia's independence

Sierra Leone was brought to independence under leadership of a Mende Prime Minister, Milton Margai, sending a message to the old Krio elite that their days were over.

Uganda's independence was affected by an uncomfortable alliance between the Kabaka (king) of Buganda and the Prime Minister, Milton Obote.

Under Nyerere and his party TANU (the Tanganyika African National Union) Tanganyika, (later Tanzania) swept to independence. Nyerere had the advantage of the Swahili language, which was an African lingua franca understood nationwide and beyond. This was a key element, along with his charismatic leadership, to the people of Tanganyika having a sense of national unity, despite the many ethnic groups in the country.

The neighbouring island of Zanzibar became independent of British rule, but remained under Arab domination until 1964
 

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#4
Gold Coast to Ghana

FIRST FOR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Unlike Portugal which was determined to hang on to its colonies, Britain had by the end of the war reckoned that running the Empire was more trouble than it was worth. At the same time African Nationalists were increasingly vociferous in their demands for self rule. But it was not clear how to dismantle the colonial machine, or when to dismantle it.

In the event it was African nationalists who took charge of events, starting in West Africa. People like K.B. Asante, former teacher and diplomat, who were educated and ambitious, also put their weight behind the independence movement.

Listen to former teacher and diplomat K.B. Asante talk about pre-Independence Ghana

The Gold Coast in the 1950's was a country with the highest level of education in the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Gold Coast supplied many of the civil servants working in Nigeria. Gold Coast nationalists had campaigned for home rule before the Second World War. But it was Kwame Nkrumah who harnessed his leadership to the mood of the people.

Already in 1947 Nkrumah was a full time politician, installed as General Secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention. He was imprisoned by the British for inciting people to revolt against the British but returned in 1948 and formed the more radical Convention People's Party, or CPP.

In 1951 he was imprisoned for inciting strikes. Later in the year, elections were held for a larger and newer Legislative Council, with Africans in the majority. The CPP won. Nkrumah was released. He negotiated a new constitution with the British and in 1954 he became Prime Minister. Independence was now on the cards and there was a sense of excitement abroad. Three years later he led his country to independence.

Listen to Kwame Nkrumah's talk about Ghana leading the way for African colonies to join the Commonwealth

Listen to Kwame Nkrumah on Ghana's independence

The touch-paper had been lit for the rest of Africa. In 1959 an independent Ghana hosted the Accra All African People's Conference. Hastings Banda and Kenneth Kaunda, among others, were there, ready to be inspired with the vision of a new political future for their countries: Nysaland (to become Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia (to become Zambia) respectively.

The path to independence in the Southern African states proved more problematic. The black majority was up against a white settler population who wanted independence. This minority was, in the main, hostile to majority rule.

At the same time the Portuguese refused to negotiate with the nationalist movements of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Sao Tome
 

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#5
The Nation State

GENERATING UNITY
The borders of the countries which African leaders inherited at independence were created by Europeans in the 19th century. This 19th century map was drawn up with no regard to the boundaries between different ethnic groups, linguistic variations and regional power bases.

Somalia stood alone as a unit which was uniform both ethnically and linguistically. There was general agreement among the new leaders of Africa to stick with these borders.

One of the major tasks facing these leaders was to generate a sense of national unity which went beyond the unity created by being in opposition to colonial rule. This meant creating an effective administrative machinery and good communications. It also meant having a shared vision and sense of identity. The obvious person to generate this vision was the head of state.

CULT OF PERSONALITY
Originally the cult of personality grew in response to a need to bring people together. Through oratory and image, the African leader himself became more than a leader, he became symbolic of something bigger, which brought all people together. So Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast was known as The Ram who Defends his People; Kenyatta of Kenya was The Flaming Spear of Kenya; Nyerere of Tanzania was Mwalimu or teacher. Banda of Malawi combined a severe European look of trilby, and three piece suit, with an extraordinary capacity to play the crowd.

THE ORGANISATION OF AFRICAN UNITY - OAU
In 1963, The Organisation of African Unity was established in Addis Ababa, providing a forum for all African heads of state. There were still another nineteen nations waiting to become independent, but the occasion was a moving one, representing the idea of an African collaboration and strength in unity. The main things on the agenda were:
colonial rule, especially in Portuguese colonies;

South African control of Namibia;

the white minority in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe);

and support for nationalist movements.

Many people attended the opening ceremony from different parts of the black Diaspora, including Miriam Makeba.

Listen to musician Miriam Makeba speaking about the independence of African nations

SOVIET FRIENDSHIP
In terms of philosophical outlook, socialism was attractive to new leaders. It rejected the premise of profit and accumulation of capital, which Europeans had so ruthlessly put to work in Africa. The Soviet Union was ideologically committed to helping newly independent countries, as well as increasing its sphere of influence in a world increasingly defined by the Cold War and antagonistic relations between America and the Soviet Union.

When Europeans turned their backs on the efforts and needs of new leaders, or else proposed economic and political relationships with African countries which were one-sidedly in favour of the West, the Soviet Union offered help, mainly military. In the hysterical climate generated by the Cold War, any African leader visiting Moscow or accepting material support was branded a communist.

IDEALS, PHILOSOPHIES AND VISIONS
Despite contact and support from the Soviet Union there was not a single Marxist Leninist among the first generation of African leaders in the 1960's. Rather, people like Nkrumah were searching to define different brands of African socialism. But many western observers were obsessed with trying to spot ideological converts, and so assign the status of Soviet puppet to leaders with policies they did not like.

Listen to Kwame Nkrumah's Independence day speech.

This was particularly so at the time of the Belgian Congo's independence.

Listen to Patrice Lumumba on the day of Congo's Independence.

Many African leaders had a sense of purpose which went beyond the borders of their own country.

Kaunda of Zambia, for example, became increasingly concerned with the problems of the front-line states confronting an aggressive apartheid in South Africa. At home he evolved an outlook called Humanism, combining socialist ideas with Christianity.


Nkrumah had a pan-African vision with a modern industrialised and socialist Ghana at the helm.


Colonel Gamal Abd al-Nasir (referred to by the British as Nasser) dreamed of a pan Arab unity and was a major influence on Nkrumah, introducing him to an Egyptian woman who became his wife.

Coming to power in 1954, after a coup in 1952 had overthrown a corrupt monarchy and aristocracy, Al-Nasir was a model for many African people and leaders. He distributed land among the peasants and defied the British and French by nationalising the Suez Canal, (a crucial shipping route for Europe), nationalising many businesses.

Despite his economic policy and his 'Philosophy of Revolution', al-Nasir was never a Marxist.


Sekou Toure of Guinea having said no to a union with France at independence, evolved a policy of what he called 'positive neutralism.' This amounted to continuous purges of those he suspected of opposition. He justified this in part by drawing on what he described as traditional collectivism:

"Africa is fundamentally communocractic. The collective life and social solidarity give it a basis of humanism which many peoples will envy. These human qualities also mean than an individual cannot imagine organising his life outside that of his family, village or clan…The ability of intellectuals or artists, thinkers or researchers, is only valid if it coincides with the life of the people…"
Sekou Toure, quoted by UNESCO General History of Africa Volume VIII.


In Tanzania Julius Nyerere took up major and largely unsuccessful social engineering. He believed in a form of collectivisation, bringing together different groups of peasant farmers, so that they might benefit from communal cultivation, shared facilities and infrastructure such as roads, schools and water.

In practice, people didn't want to move and when they did the new facilities were often not there.

MEMORIES OF RADIO CAIRO IN THE 1950'S
"We heard on the radio of the Egyptian revolution. We were told that this had put the people of Egypt in control of their destiny. So dreams were actually exported to us through the soundwaves into the island of Zanzibar, and we were living a dream as reality.

The Radio Cairo broadcaster talked about British Imperialism and came up with the phrase, 'the bloody dogs of imperialism.' I've never taken dope, but this was the nearest that I can imagine one would have felt, when I listened to Radio Cairo."
Journalist and political observer Mohammed Adam
 

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#6
Case Study: Guinea Conakry

The passage towards independence of Guinea and Algeria was traumatic in different ways. Algerian nationalists had to fight a bitter war against French white settlers and the French army.

Other French colonies - Togo, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Haute Volta (later Burkina Faso), Cote d'Ivoire, Chad, Central African Republic, Gabon and Mauritania - accepted the French umbrella, and arrived at independence relatively smoothly.

Madagascar's path to independence was violent. It underwent a major insurrection in 1947 which slid into a guerilla war in the course of which over 90,000 people were killed by the French.

By 1956, all French colonies in West Africa had internal self-government and majority rule. But this related only to domestic policy as France retained controlled over military and foreign affairs as well as economic planning.

In 1958, President de Gaulle offered a choice to Africans in West Africa: "Oui" or yes to a partnership with the French which was essentially paternalistic, or "Non" which meant total independence and the breaking of all links with France, and all support.

Guinea alone under Sekou Toure voted for a total break with France. Guinea and Sekou Toure paid the price for saying no. The French left en masse, depriving the country of all technical expertise and worse, removing all key government files, even ripping out office telephones. Sekou Toure responded defiantly. To general applause in the black Diaspora and the Eastern bloc he brought the country to independence in 1959
 

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#7
Case Study: Algeria

PAINFUL INDEPENDENCE
Algeria was the only French colony in Africa occupied by a white settler population. Known as the pieds noires they numbered nearly a million. They took the most fertile 23 per cent of the country's farmland, leaving seven million Algerians with the rest. The French government clung to the idea that Algeria was France. The Algerians were determined to be independent. The result was violence on an appalling scale, with widespread indiscriminate killing and torture of civilians.

Troops were even brought in from other parts of Africa to fight on the side of the French. In 1960, after six years of conflict, the French Government finally gave in and started to negotiate. In 1962, Ahmed Ben Bella, leader of one of the main factions fighting the French, led the country to independence.

A SENEGALESE VIEW OF THE ALGERIAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE

"Fighting African people on behalf of the Europeans doesn't mean that I'm not proud of being black. I'm very proud of being black. But what I want to make clear is that I had no choice. As a French soldier, I had to obey the orders. I fought my African brothers, simply because I didn't have a choice.

I was under the orders of the French army. When we first arrived in Algeria, the Algerians didn't want to shoot us, because we were black people - we were their brothers. But when they realised that we were obliged to fight them, they didn't hesitate to shoot at us.

I lost many of my friends and relatives in Algeria. And even now sometimes, when I sleep at night, I can see them in my nightmares - just the way I'm seeing you. This is a very painful situation. I an old man here in Dakar who walks the streets saying, "I'm going mad, I'm going mad", because it's still a nightmare. In 1956, the French were also fighting the Vietnamese; people who fought that battle, even now are still having nightmares. Even when they are not sleeping, they too feel they are going mad. So it is a very painful experience.

I regret a lot of things of course, because I lost many of my friends and relatives in the war, and because I had to kill many people. One of my friends and I were going on patrol and he was shot down by an Algerian and he was killed. That shocked me. We were recruited on the same day. We went into the field for training together. After that, we came back here to Dakar then went on to France, to Marseilles. After Marseilles we went to Strasbourg, and from Strasbourg we left for Algeria. And when we arrived in Algeria, we were in the same company and his bed was over mine. I was sleeping under him. And he was killed when we were patrolling together.

When I just returned from Algeria, I used to see the fighting quite often in my dreams. I used to have nightmares. And even when I look at my photos, those sad memories come back to my mind and I'm sad. But since I've been a civilian for a long time, I'm used to thinking of those sad images without being affected by them."

Isidore Mandiouban. Former soldier in the French army
 

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#8
Case Study: Congo

DR CONGO
(FORMERLY ZAIRE, BEFORE THAT, BELGIAN CONGO)

Independence for Congo followed a strange course of events unlike anything else in the rest of Africa. The Belgian Congo was huge and underdeveloped. After the war, new cultural organisations like ABAKO, Association des Bakongo and the Lulua-Freres, emerged in the 1950's.

But it was the attitude of the Belgians which bred a new political consciousness in the 1950's. In the first place, the Belgians like the Portuguese, were resolutely untouched by the drive towards independence in the early 1950's. De-colonisation was first discussed in 1956, but seen as something that would happen thirty years into the future.

On the eve of independence, the Congo, a territory larger than Western Europe, bordering on nine other African colonies/states, was seriously underdeveloped. There were no African army officers, only three African managers in the entire civil service, and only 30 university graduates. Yet Western investments in Congo's mineral resources (copper, gold, tin, cobalt, diamonds, manganese, zinc) were colossal. And these investments meant that the West was determined to keep control over the country beyond independence.

HANDOVER

Following widespread rioting in 1959, the Belgians to the surprise of all the nationalist leaders said elections for independence could go ahead in May 1960. This in itself caused confusion and a rush to form parties. In the event 120 different parties took part, most of them regionally based. Only one, Mouvement National Congolais or the MNC, led by Patrice Lumumba , favoured a centralised government and had support in four of six provinces.

The actual independence day was a mixture of huge excitement and bad temper on the part of the former colonial power. King Baudouin of Belgian made a patronising speech; and Patrice Lumumba's speech was spirited.

Listen to Patrice Lumumba's announcing Belgian Congo's independence followed by an Independence cha-cha-cha

Within days things fell apart. The army mutinied against Belgian officers. The main mining area, Katanga, declared itself a separate state under Moise Tshombe, but with strategic support and encouragement from Belgian mining interests. Belgian troops then intervened unasked; Lumumba invited UN peacekeeping forces to help but they steered clear of fighting Tshombe's Katanga regime.

DEATH OF LUMUMBA
Americans followed events closely. Lumumba's great speechmaking skills and his contacts with the Soviet Union all conspired to turn the Americans against him. He was described by Alan Dulles, chief of American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as a "mad dog" and President Dwight Eisenhower authorised his assassination. This was carried out through Lumumba's opponents in the Congo. In November 1960 he was kidnapped and taken to Katanga. In January 1961 he was shot in Elizabethville; his body was then dumped by a CIA agent. Tshombe eventually became Prime Minister, but not for long.

In 1965 Joseph Mobutu seized power with American backing in a bloodless coup. He had waited in the shadows for his opportunity since the late 1950's, all the while cultivating his pro-West image for the Americans. Once in power he began a 32-year reign of greed and corruption, indulged by America and the West in return for a solidly anti-Soviet pro-western stance
 

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#9
Case Study: Kenya

Kenya, during the 1950's, was dominated by the Mau Mau uprising against the British. A central feature of this revolt was a desire on the part of the Kikuyu, along with some Embu and Meru people, for land taken by the Europeans.

The Mau Mau uprising also marked a turning point in the struggle for independence. Kikuyu resistance to European colonisation was well established before the Second World War. The Kikuyu Central Association was active in the 1930's under Jomo Kenyatta who campaigned energetically for the Kikuyu in Europe.

In 1951, Kenyatta was arrested and imprisoned by the British for being a leading light in the Mau Mau movement. With his detention Mau Mau expanded.

In October 1952, the British declared a state of emergency, which continued until 1960. The State of Emergency was in response to an increase in attacks on the property and persons of white settlers, as well as African chiefs who were seen as collaborators.

There was also an increase in oath taking. This was a ceremony, affirming loyalty to the Mau Mau cause and war against the Europeans. About 2,000 Kikuyu were killed by Mau Mau fighters for refusing to take the oath. Private secretary J.M. Kariuki was one of the few people in post-independent Kenya prepared to speak in favour of oath taking.

Listen to J.M. Kariuki defending Mau Mau oath-taking

A far larger amount, about 13,000, were killed fighting the British, and a further 80,000 were kept in detention camps. The number of Europeans who died in the course of the emergency totalled just 32. The number of original Mau Mau fighters was hugely increased by Kikuyu squatters who were expelled from European land after 1952.

The main military leaders were Dedan Kimathi and Warihu Itote, also known as General China. Dedan Kimathi was captured and executed in 1956. General China was eventually released.

Kenyatta was not released until 1961. The Kenyan African National Union (KANU) had voted him their President while he was still in prison.

The other main party to emerge in the run up to independence was the Kenyan African Democratic Union KADU. In the event, KANU gained a majority in the Legislative Assembly and Jomo Kenyatta led Kenya to independence in December 1963
 

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#10
Education

ANCIENT LEARNING
The oldest institute of higher learning on the continent of Africa was al Azhar University founded over a thousand years ago and dedicated to a broad range of Muslim studies. In Timbuktu there was a flourishing university in the 16th century. The hunger for knowledge was great all over the continent. Of all the things that Europeans had to offer, education had been the most prized in Africa.

THIRST FOR EDUCATION
"The Katikiro (Prime Minister of Buganda, Apolo Kagwa) spoke and told the people how we wanted to learn to do work of all kinds, and wanted teachers; teachers both of the Gospel and also of handy work of all kinds - carpenters, smiths, builders, traders in cotton goods and other things, brickmakers and coffee planters. After he had finished, everyone clapped their hands and cheered…"
Ham Mukasa, secretary to the Apolo Kagwa, quoted from his book Sir Apolo Kagwa Discovers Britain, recording the visit of the Prime Minister of Buganda to Britain, in 1902.

Just as the Muslims of the north of the continent brought with them Koranic schools, so did the missionaries set up Christian schools. But while the Koranic schools for many centuries restricted their curriculum to religious texts, which meant working exclusively in Arabic, Christian schools taught in European languages and soon broadened their curriculum to take in more than the Bible and the liturgy of the different Christian denominations. A number of Muslims then took to attending both Koranic and Christian schools. Some Muslim schools organised broader curriculum to take in western subjects, but generally Christian and Muslim educationalists remained apart.

Everywhere, education became a key to change and self-improvement. In Angola, the Portuguese authorities took fright at the surge of ambition. In 1901, a law was passed stipulating that anyone wanting to be a telegraph operator had to pass exams in Latin and geography; Angolans were then unable to apply because these subjects were not taught in Angola.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES
At independence, governments were torn between providing more primary education and creating more universities and graduates. Only a minority of people in the continent had received primary education. Even Ghana, which next to Ethiopia had the highest level of primary education in Sub Saharan Africa, had a glaring contrast between the number of schools in the north and the south of the country.

In 1961, African leaders met in Addis Ababa to come up with a policy for not only expanding education but making it more relevant to the African child:

"African educational authorities should revise and reform the content of education in the areas of the curricular, textbooks, and methods, so as to take account of the African environment, child development, cultural heritage, and the demands of technological progress and economic development, especially industrialisation."
UNESCO report quoted in UNESCO General History of Africa Volume VIII.

A year later delegates met to discuss higher education at university level.

HIGHER LEARNING
Before World War II there were very few institutes of higher learning in Sub Saharan Africa. Young Africans had been sent to Europe for education since the 16th century when the son of the King of the Congo went to study in Portugal. Within the continent, Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone stands as one of the oldest colleges of further education, founded in 1827, with an academic reputation which extended throughout West Africa. The first women were admitted in the 1940's, led by Lati Hyde Forster, who went on to be principal of the Annie Walsh Memorial School.

Listen to Lati Hyde Forster, principal of the Annie Walsh Memorial School, recalling the humiliations she endured as a student and the way these made her study more

Liberia College was founded in the 19th century and Fort Hare in 1916 under the name of the South African Native College.

"Our history struggled through the white man's version of the so-called Kaffir Wars, the Great Trek, the struggles for control of South Africa and…we had to give back in our examination papers the answer the white man expected."
Z.K. Matthews lawyers and graduate of Fort Hare, quoted by Leonard Thomson.

In 1921, Makerere was founded as a Technical College, becoming University College Makerere in 1937. It was affiliated to London University and achieved independent university status in 1963. Lovanium College was established in 1949 in the Congo, although none was admitted until 1954. Ibadan University was opened in 1948, also affiliated to London University.

In all cases, girls' education lagged somewhat behind that of the boys. The earliest girls school on the continent was probably the Annie Walsh Memorial School founded in 1848 in Freetown Sierra Leone
 

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#11
Post Independence

CRACKS IN NATIONAL UNITY
For many African countries, the transition from colony to independent state was not easy. Every new state contained all sorts of conflicting interests, competing power bases and ethnic groups. Africa's nationalists had, on the whole, accepted the boundaries drawn up in the 1880's. But these were boundaries which cut across ethnic groups and across the grazing grounds of cattle owning people.

In other instances, two rival kingdoms or nations were put under one central administration. Somalia alone had a linguistic unity to strengthen its political unity.

BROADCASTING CHANGE: A SELECTION OF COUP ANNOUNCEMENTS
Two of Ghana's five coups:
Acheampong (announcement).

J.J. Rawlings (announcement).
Kenya
In 1982, attempted coup.

Zambia
In 1990, a coup is launched and cancelled.

Gambia
Attempted coup in 1981. Alhaji Ismail Suso describes being made to announce a coup.

Sierra Leone
In 1992, Valentin Strasser's announces a coup.

Sudan
Osman Khald Mudawi explains to Robin White how he failed to launch his coup, because he didn't know how to operate the radio station.


The Post-Independence years have been punctuated with changes of government all over the continent. These have sometimes been military coups or civilian takeovers. The first inkling people would have would be from a radio announcement. And radio stations were, and continue to be, commandeered for that purpose.

For some countries, a deep and continuous divide has remained unresolved. Sudan and Chad, for example, are divided between an Arab Muslim north and an African Christian south. Both countries have suffered destructive civil wars over the decades. In Uganda, the divide was very broadly between the Baganda of the south and Acholi northerners.

President Milton Obote manipulated the divide both times he was President. The first time in power, during the 1962-71 term, he burnt the Palace of the Baganda down and drove the Kabaka (king) into exile. The second time he took power, during 1980-85, he launched a military campaign of destruction in the south. It was left to President Yoweri Musseveni to harmonise the different regions when he came to power in 1986.

In Nigeria, one of the largest countries in Africa with an estimated population of 120 million, the divide went very roughly three ways: the Muslim north, Ibo east and Yoruba south. In 1967, the country collapsed into civil war with the eastern part (Biafra) led by Colonel Ojukwu declaring Biafra an independent state.

Listen to Colonel Ojukwu leading the Biafran secession

The forces of President Gowan took three years to defeat the Biafran forces. Since 1967 Nigeria has, despite its wealth and population, held together despite tensions between Muslim communities and Christians ebbing and flowing.

Listen to General Jack Gowan leading the Federal Forces in Nigeria's civil war

BORDER DISPUTES
In addition to internal stresses and strains, a number of countries have nursed disputed borders since independence, despite the broad acceptance of the boundaries set by Europe in the 1880's.


Chad and Libya have fought over the Aozou strip in northern Chad.

Ethiopia and Somalia were locked in a battle over the Ogaden region.

Nigeria and Cameroun have disagreed on the border at Bakassi.

Morocco continues to contest the border running along the Western Sahara.

REALITIES
Whatever vision African leaders have had for their countries, there were a number of factors beyond their control, undermining the practical realisation of their ideals:

drought and famine in east and southern Africa.

plummeting commodity prices for a wide range of products, including agricultural and mineral products, on the world market.

A leap in oil prices in the 1970's for non-oil producing countries.

mounting debts resulting from money borrowed.

weak currencies many of which became non-convertible.

pressure from the IMF and World Bank, forcing governments in the 1980's to remove subsidies on the sort of products which the urban populations of Africa relied on, most importantly sugar and petrol.

All this created tension and unrest which had huge political consequences
 

ole timer

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#12
One Party States

RISE AND FALL
Very soon after independence, multiparty democracy gave way to the one party state or military rule. The problem with multiparty democracy was that it had led to the formation of many parties, each with a regional outlook, and none representing the interests of the country as a whole. The rise of the one party state was also influenced by the Soviet model, which declared the people and the party as one.

In the 1970's, the first self proclaimed Marxist Leninist leaders took charge in Africa, setting up one-party systems.

In 1974, the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was deposed in a revolution. He was eventually replaced by Mengistu Haile Mariam who initiated a purge of all opponents. In response Somalia under Siad Barre switched from being pro-Soviet to pro-western. It was the only country in Africa to do this under the same government.

MULTIPARTY REVIVAL
The collapse of Communism in the Eastern bloc in 1989 signalled a revival of multiparty democracy. Rulers found themselves under pressure: firstly from the people, disenchanted with the track record of single party rule, and secondly, from the IMF and the World Bank, which made it a precondition of further loans and aid
 

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#13
Forces For Change

PETROLEUM
The discovery of petroleum in Africa created immense wealth for some countries in the early days, and balance of payment problems for other countries when the international price of oil went up. In the long term oil rich countries sometimes found their wealth distorted economic growth; Nigeria is a good example.

TELEVISION AND RADIO
Radio came to Africa under colonial rule in the 1920's. It had a profound effect on people's sense of national unity at the start of independence. State-run radio stations in many countries made great efforts to record and broadcast the voices and songs of different parts of the country.

BEVERAGES FROM TINNED MILK TO GUINNESS
Certain tastes acquired under colonial rule stayed in Africa. Tinned milk, Guinness and beer are good examples. The brewing industry is one of the most successful on the continent, even in times of war
 

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#14
Independence Timeline





Before WW2 - Ethiopia
Liberia
Egypt


1950s - Libya
Sudan
Morocco
Tunisia
Ghana
Guinea

The year 1960 - Cameroun
Togo
Senegal
Mali
Madagascar
Zaire
Somalia
Benin
Niger
Bourika Faso
(originally Upper Volta/Haute Volta)
Cote D'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Chad
Central African Republic
(called Oubangui Chari at independence)
Congo (Brazzaville)
Gabon
Nigeria
Mauritania


1961 - Cameroun (British part)
Tanzania
Sierra Leone


1962 - Burundi
Rwanda
Algeria
Uganda


1963 - Zanzibar (union with Tanganyika 1964)
Kenya

1964 - Malawi
Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia)

1965 - Gambia

1966 - Botswana
Lesotho


1968 - Mauritius
Swaziland
Equatorial Guinea


1974 - Guinea Bissau

1975 - Mozambique
Cape Verde
Comoros
Sao Tome and Principe
Angola
Western Sahara


1976 - Seychelles

1977 - Djibouti

1980 - Zimbabwe (formerly Southern Rhodesia)

1990 - Namibia (formerly South West Africa
 
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