Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
With independence, Africa has found itself with challenges in the political and economic areas. Africa before colonialism was not the same Africa during or after. The tribes that existed were no longer. European powers had redefined areas of Africa causing tribes to be split apart and meshed with other tribes. These redefined areas were “created at the whim of European politicians with little or no regard “ for previous African’s community relations. (1) Africa had to redefine itself under European rule. That redefinition was enhanced as independence was found. Who were they? Where did they belong? They had to find a national bond that was unique and strong. The economic problems came about from the way Europeans ruled using Africa as a source for manufacturing instead of creating an economic infrastructure. (2) Once Africa was on its own, there was nothing to help sustain the nations. In a sense, they had to start from scratch.
All of these challenges have helped create an Africa today that is strong. There are still problems in various areas as the political climate goes back and forth between groups causing civil war and military coups. Africa is not quite there yet as a whole, but gradually they are shaping themselves into powerful countries that can participate on the world stage.
I think too often Africa has been looked down upon by larger and more powerful countries. The problem is that Africa was the “abandoned child” and had to fight for what it has today. Europe used it as a playground and a source to plunder and then let go. Many lessons can be taken from Africa including how not to deal with native tribes and communities. Powers need to not colonialize. Instead, they need to work alongside other nations instead of trying to dominate. The result has never been positive. History needs to be studied by everyone as anyone is a potential leader, and history is the greatest teacher. It shows what not to do more than anything else. If one can avoid the past mistakes, they have a better chance of success.
(1) Kevin Shllington, History of Africa, (New York: MacMillan Education, 2005), 417.
(2) Kevin Shllington, History of Africa, (New York: MacMillan Education, 2005), 419.