The Effects of Colonization on Modern African Cultures Essay
In November1884 – 1885, Europe met for The Berlin Conference in which Africa was
sub-divided giving each current European powers a part to govern. This scrabble for Africa was an official degradation of all African future political power and present government. The utilization of African land, resources and people to build European powers was imposing and came with extensive consequences. The new European map sub-divided Africa injudiciously taking no consideration of current languages, traditions or cultures.. The new map brought together different ethnic groups most of which didn’t get along leading to wide spread tension.
At the time of the Berlin Conference France, Germany, Great Britain, and Portugal were at the height of their power with primary control of Africa. The modern day countries of Africa are based on the politico – geographical map drawn up by European powers. The Berlin Conference showed a lack of restraint, morality and comprehension of Africa as a continent. The African people tried to resist the changes with wars that they could not win. The Berlin Conference is better off titled the re-enslavement of the African people. European powers exploited every inch of Land they got their hands on taking natural resources and killing anyone who got in their way. In the scrabble for Africa, Great Britain claimed Egypt, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. The British controlled Nigeria and Ghana as well. France claimed Mauritania, Chad, Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
The list continues but among them Belgium and King Leopold II claimed Democratic Republic of Congo. This acquisition was exploitation of Africa at it’s finest King Leopold II enslaved the Congolese people and used them to mine their natural resources of rubber. This slavery and subsequent abuse led to the death of over 10 million Congolese people. The remarkable part of the Berlin conference are the resulting Berlin Acts “Article 34 of the Berlin Act states that any European nation that took possession of an African coast, or named themselves as “protectorate” of one, had to inform the other powers of the Berlin Act of this action. If this was not done then their claim would not be recognized”.
Article 34 of the Berlin Act shows Europe’s blatant superiority complex. At the time of the Berlin conference 80% of Africa was under traditional rule. They took no consideration to even invite any African leaders they simply divided a continent among themselves to avoid blood shed on their side. After the scrabble for Africa there were now 50 countries where thousands of former kingdoms, empires, and states once ruled; the dismemberment of a continent complete. Pre- colonial African government were organized around cultures and ways of life. There were hunter gathers, coastal trading towns and farmers. In that sense few kingdoms grew to be a reflection of Africa’s old kingdoms like Kemet, Nubia and Mali. In this structure of things lay the problem, Africa was not progressing at the same rate of the European powers the motherland wasn’t consumed with ruling the world, it was traditional and modern juxtaposed.
This juxtaposition led to Africa being easily divided as there was no centralized scheme of government for the whole continent. Doubting what government could rule an entire continent as varied, and as large as Africa. The European imposition of slicing and dicing was a failure from the beginning for creating an Africa that could stand alone when they had plundered all it’s resources. Africa has suffered through slavery, civil wars, genocide, apartheid, disease, but it’s undoing will be the failure to unite while Europe, Asia and America rule the world on its resources. In 2011 the plan for a United Africa has not come through and in light of recent world events will continue to be staled.
In 2011 the recolonization of Africa begins again starting with the Paris Conference 2011. In the 2011 Paris conference the Western and European world again came together to discuss matters that affect the African continent. The Paris conference was hosted by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron. The American secretary of state Hillary Clinton was also present. The topic of discussion was a plan for Libya’s economic and political future post leader Muammar Gaddafi; whom was in hiding at the time.
Libya is located in North Africa and was an Italian colony from 1911- 1951. In September of 1969 Muammar Gaddafi led a small group against king Idris launching a Libyan revolution. Under the rule of Gaddafi Libya introduced free health care, education and became one of Africa’s richest countries based on it own natural resource of oil. Libyan life under Gaddafi was not ideal but he did turn Libya into a self sufficient country. In turn Libya clashed with the west especially in the 70’s during the oil embargo when the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC. The oil embargo cut of oil to the United States for
supplying the Israeli army with weapons this strategic plan was led by Gaddafi. On October 20, 2011 Muammar Gaddafi was murdered in Libya, ending the war with NATO. Gaddafi’s body paraded and dragged through the streets with no respect. One can not justify his actions in life but he was the lesser of two evils vying for control. What is to come is not democracy it is recolonization.
At the Paris Conference in March of 2011British Foreign Secretary William made this ironic statement “the world is coming together to support Libya’s future”. The world coming together as such, doesn’t seem to ever included African leaders. At the Paris Conference Algeria was present although many African leaders were not present and don’t recognize the Nato enforced National Transitional Council (NTC) as the new government of Libya. In the corridors of the Paris conference post war contracts were already being drafted about infrastructure, resources and above all the vast resource of oil. The countries who have come together at this conference are the same ones who will lay waste to Libya’s independence and with it any hope for African Independence. The recolonization has begun, just as it had in 1884.
Currently the countries present at the Paris Conference are the same one feeling entitled to a stake in Libyan oil. Libya has the largest oil
reserves in Africa “estimated at 44 billion barrels. Before the war, Libya was producing about 1.6 million barrels of oil a day. France was its second biggest market, second only to Italy, with over 15 percent of its imports coming from Libyan oilfields”. This sums it up, moving forward there will be no peace or a truly independent, self reliant African country the world powers will not allow it, no other continent makes the
rest of the world feel in control and superior the way Africa does.
If up against the worlds super powers there will never be a fair chance for Africa to stand as long as there are resources that can be exploited. In 2011 there is no such thing as a fair trial and racial equally, there is no humanity, no progress, no change. Africa again drifts backwards further. As a result of Gaddafi never being put on trial many questions will remain unanswered like what really happened in the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie in Scotland of Pan Am flight 103.
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