African Nationalism and the Conquest to Abolish Foreign Injustice
African Nationalism and the Conquest to Abolish Foreign Injustice As the Scramble for Africa came into effect, European settlers colonized Africa. The advanced technology and power of the Europeans overcame the Africans, which caused them to lose control of their continent. In terms of nationalism, nationalism defines a person’s ability to demonstrate their loyalty, interest and unity to their own body of land. When the Europeans imperialized Africa it is understandable that Africans would want to regain their territory back. They wanted to reunite what they had established before the Europeans conquered. This caused nationalism to display. Just because African’s control diminished doesn’t mean that they lost their nationalism. African nationalism demonstrated Africans fight to eliminate all foreign rulers in the continent to regain their freedom. “The desire for Africans to need all forms of foreign control and influence so as to be able to take charge of their political social and economic affairs (Factors for the Growth of African Nationalism). This characteristic influenced Africans to take back their land. To begin, the gain for African independence commenced after World War II ended. The goal to decolonize Africa was challenging, hence calling it the “Struggle for Independence”. Africans needed to construct an effective strategy to defeat European powers. The African anti colonial movement, for example, was a form of decolonization that responded to European imperialism. The African anti colonial movement also influenced the political awareness of African discrimination persuading other countries to begin abolishing segregation throughout Africa. Political parties began to form once people recognized the major inequality of the African people. The first activists of the political parties formed by Africans who had received their education from missionary schools. Western education and Christianity influenced the parties as well. They tried to ally with Chiefs because of similar demands, but left the idea due to the uncertainty of the Chiefs wanting unity to African nationalism. Conversely, the South African National Natives Congress did support unity for all ethnic groups making them a valuable asset in fighting against colonial inequity. “ This approach led to black people and African political parties becoming increasingly radical. After the war, most of these demanded independence from colonial rule” (The fight against colonialism and imperialism in Africa) When these political parties consolidated, it created a push back against the British colonies that seek to overthrow the land. The possibility of overcoming discrimination lightened when African political parties came together.In effect, Africans response to European rule swayed two ways. They either did it with peaceful boycotts/negotiations or violence. (Anticolonial Movements, Africa). Two countries in Africa that are great representations of the detachment of British control are Ghana and Kenya. The first country, in 1957, that decolonized was the west African country, Ghana. Kwame Nkrumah was the leader of Ghana’s independence and the driving force of the country’s separation from British control in the gold coast. He was a nationalist who had goals for his people and determined to abolish the western imperialism. Nkrumah threw peaceful strikes to fight for independence. He was imprisoned for nine years for rebellion against colonialism, but after Ghana gained independence, he became the president of the country because his courageous actions. Secondly, in one of East Africa’s country , Kenya, decolonization occurred differently than in Ghana. The British declared a state of emergency in the colony and banned all political protests of Africans (Decolonization in Africa). The protests were first peaceful, but after not seeing any improvement or change the Africans saw they needed a different approach lead by Jomo Kenyatta. This conversation with leader Kenyatta and African civilians, explains their understanding on how they needed to dissolve British colonial rule.( “ In a meeting Kenyatta asked us if whether we want to fight for our land we replied, “yes”. “Are you waiting them until the white man had bred into this country like rabbits.” “No”, we replied, “ We want to fight now”. Then realize that the tree of freedom is red not with water, but with blood” (The rise and fall of the British Empire ( Jomo Kenyatta and the Mau Mau oath) ). While rebelling against Britain affairs Kenyatta was put into prison. Protesters behind Kenyatta continued to push for independence. The plan was to murder Europeans if they did not grant them liberty. British began to bomb African protest homes, forcing and send hundreds of Africans in solitary camp. Even with this the rebellion continued. Later, released from jail, Kenyatta, negotiated for Kenya’s independence with Britain, and successes with this action. Both leaders, Nkrumah and Kenyatta advocated Pan-Africanism. This was an external influence of the African movement. Pan-Africanism, founded Henry Sylvester-Williams and fathered by Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, is a racial movement of nationalism used to reunite Africa. “ The Pan Africanist political movement, espoused by Kwame Nkrumah, was a form of macro-nationalism which has been described variously as a racial movement, a cultural movement, and a political movement. In fact, it is all three, since at various times it has used or emphasized all of themes as a method of building African unity” (Cowan, 68). Pan-Africanism pushed for greater cooperation in obtaining independence and eliminating colonialism. Ghana and Kenya were countries that were able to peaceful act on the fight for independence, but others weren’t so fortunate. Next, in Northern Africa, France dominated Algeria and was not willing to grant independence to the country. There were valuable resources like, grain, oil, gas fields, etc., and the French were not about to give that up. “Algeria had been exporting grain and olive oil to France since the eighteenth century” (Shillington, 280) . France threatened Algeria declaring, if the colonies tried to decolonize then France would stop granting them protection. The National Liberation Front, a political party nationalism organization (National Liberation Front), fought against the French in the Algerian War that lasted from 1954- 1962. The leader of France, Charles de Gaulle, saw that the fight for independence was not going to fade away so he created a vote in Algeria to determine if Algeria would become an independent country. Algeria agreed to become an independent nation, so both France and Algeria signed the Evian Accords establishing Algeria’s freedom (French Declaration of Algeria). To continue, in South Africa, white settlers had taken over. When they established in Southern Africa they depended on cheap labor. The whites wanted to keep the reservations within the land and separate the Africans from their families. Both British whites and the more rural Boers wanted to maintain control of the Africans to gain cheap labor. This encouraged segregation throughout Southern Africa, which began the drive towards apartheid. To restrict Africans from starting any type of action against white supremacy, the British formed laws making it easier to put Africans in jail and turn them into labor workers. But even through the strict laws, Africans continued to abolish the discrimination. “ Much of the overt opposition to apartheid came from black movements. As blacks grew more desperate and despaired at all forms of discrimination, they become bolder in organizing opposition even against the apartheid government’s harsh laws forbidding such protests” (Fyle, 91) In due time, Nelson Mandela became an extreme activist to fight against the discrimination. In 1944 he joined the African National Congress. “ It was when I came into the African National Congress that I realized that Xhosas are only a part of the African people. That the task of the ANC was to unite the African people, and out of them, build a nation- Nelson Mandela” (Biography of Nelson Mandela). Unfortunately, Britain’s apartheid army shot down the ANC’s peaceful protests. This forced Mandela to go underground to fight against white domination. Mandela was sentenced with treason for his actions and sent to jail for life, along with other ANC activists. Under the circumstances, this did not stop his movement. His wife along with other leaders from around the world began to fight against apartheid while Mandela remained in jail. Some of these protests were peaceful and others supported with violence and harm. The apartheid movement went on until 1980’s “ In the late 1980’s, a mid a tide of world pressure the South African government was forced to accept the inedible and began dismantling apartheid” ( Biography of Nelson Mandela). At 71 years old Nelson Mandela discharged from prison. He later became the first black president of South Africa. “ Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another” (Biography of Nelson Mandela).Once Africans gained their independence, they created constitutions for each country with the foreigners. This clarified the certainty of freedom to African civilians. In addition, internal factors in the lives of the Africans varied from exploitation, taxation, forced labor, payment of low prices to peasants’ products, dictatorial nature of the colonial government, role colonial education, formation of independent churches, the role of trade unions, etc (Influence of External Forces and the Rise of Nationalism and the Struggle for Independence). But, the most powerful factor was within the Africans themselves, the ability to continue the rebellion without a head leader. Hundreds of people were protesting against apartheid, but not everyone went to jail. The people imprisoned were the leaders of the rebellion for example, Nelson Mandela, Kwame Nkrumah, and Jomo Kenyatta. The Europeans most likely sent the leaders away thinking that if the leadership of the rebellion is removed then the protest is destroyed. Africa was fortunate that this did not faze the movement. This changed the roles of the Africans who supported their movement. They had to continue harping the message their leaders were preaching to be able to achieve independence. Mentioned before, Nelson Mandela's wife along with other activists fought against apartheid during Mandela’s jail time. They continued the resistance. When leadership is removed, the other members are still able to forge ahead. If this did not take place, the Europeans would still have power over the Africans. In conclusion, African nationalism is based on Africans desire to win back their freedom taken away by foreign rule. To be able to achieve this life changing goal they needed to create African Anti-colonial sentiments, and protest in the most appropriate way. Some countries were able to become independent through peace like South Africa and Ghana, but other need to use brute violent force; Kenya and Algeria. Pan-Africanism was an outside factor that helped influence the abolishment of foreign power, and while there were many internal factors to African nationalism the continuation of the movement during the loss of a leader is what made the protest a success. Eradicating European rule was not an easy nor speedy act, but the Africans knew what they were fighting for; independence, and that’s what they received. So it doesn’t matter how long it takes to overcome.