Liberation from colonial control

Liberation from colonial control

Decolonisation in Africa

  • Post-1945: This period marks a turning point in African history characterised by a strong global movement towards decolonisation.
  • The role of WWII: The aftermath of World War II hugely impacted the colonial control in Africa. The European powers, weakened from war, were unable to maintain their colonies.
  • Rise of Nationalism and Independence Movements: This period saw the strengthening of nationalist movements and parties, who demanded sovereignty and the end of colonial rule.
  • United Nations & International Pressure: The formation of the United Nations also contributed to the liberation from colonial control, as its charter emphasised self-determination, human rights, and equality.

Key Players

  • Kwame Nkrumah & Ghana’s Independence: Kwame was pivotal in organising mass protests and strikes in the Gold Coast (now Ghana). Ghana gained independence in 1957, the first sub-Saharan nation to do so.
  • Jomo Kenyatta & Kenya: Jomo led the struggle for independence in Kenya. It was a bloody conflict known as the Mau Mau Uprising.
  • Impact of the Cold War: The rivalry between the USSR and the United States indirectly influenced the decolonisation process in Africa, with both superpowers seeking to influence African nations.

Process of Decolonisation

  • Negotiated Decolonisation: Many colonies gained their independence through peaceful negotiations with their colonial masters. Notable examples include Ghana and Nigeria.
  • Armed Struggle: In some cases, liberation was achieved through violent conflicts and guerilla warfare, such as in Kenya, Algeria, and Mozambique.
  • The Role of Pan-Africanism: The concept of Pan-Africanism, that all people of African descent shared common interests and should be unified, played a significant role in strengthening liberation movements.

Post-Independence Challenges

  • Political Instability: Many new African nations struggled with political instability, with some falling into periods of civil war or under the rule of dictators.
  • Economic Challenges: Countries often faced challenges transitioning from colonial economies reliant on raw material exports to more diversified, self-reliant economies.
  • Ethnic and Tribal Divisions: The arbitrary borders drawn up by colonial powers often led to conflicts between different ethnic and tribal groups within new nations.