Africa: States of Independence

Watch this video, which describes the historical underpinnings of the political power struggles and ethnic violence that took place in so many countries in Africa after they gained independence from their past colonial rulers after WWII.

In 1885, European leaders had carved up the geographical areas of the "Dark Continent" that would become their subjects in the Act of Berlin following the end of the Franco-Prussian War. Intensive exploitation of Africa's natural resources and various levels of ethnic subjugation followed.

In 1957, the rise of nationalism among African citizens led to calls for self-sovereignty. and independence from colonial rule. A sense of celebration and hopes for a future pan-African state took hold. Unfortunately, global geopolitics and a struggle for control over natural resources again "proved a disastrous mix". Ethnic differences and hostilities that colonial imperial rule had suppressed exploded upon independence.

The 1960s were a violent period when the new leaders faced the challenges of state-building, struggles for political power, ethnic and regional division, and competition among corporate multinationals for financial dominance. The video ends with examples of hope for the future among the new professional classes.

Source: Al Jazeera
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Last modified: Thursday, October 14, 2021, 10:08 AM