Regional Focus on Africa

Throughout this week, via our lectures and readings we have been focusing mostly on Africa as a continent and the catastrophic changes brought about by European colonialism. We examined the dramatic effects the scramble for Africa had on the African identity and the racist perception left behind following decolonisation in the late 19th century.

It showed us exactly how European involvement in Africa completely pushed aside Africa’s linear progression to a more widespread and advanced continent by displacing the culture and economies of the region. Firstly by making the colonies completely reliant on their overlords, their entire economy was shifted to the whim of them, making it so that those regions could not effectively develop wide ranging and diverse economies. Secondly, by displacing the culture they effectively eroded the sense of identity of thousands of cultural groups across Africa, perpetuating the idea of their inherent inferiority to their colonizers and pushing their imperial overlords cultures upon them. This created a sense of divergent identity still pervasive today, resulting in a complex form of entanglement which has altered peoples perceptions of themselves, thus not allowing them to develop independently in that sphere.

Following decolonisation, not only did colonisation leave an attached identity onto the colonial subjects but also on the nations that colonised them. Racist perceptions continue to persist on the nature of Africa, as shown in the Economist article with the entire continents current perception across the planet being one of disease and poverty, which is linked to a idea of African “laziness”. Which effectively completely ignores the widespread changes brought about by colonialism in a controlled narrative that doesn’t try and link back to the West. In reality it was directly the displacement of identity, economy and culture that places Africa in it’s current position in the world and the fact that the West continues to misidentify that only furthermore shows the complexity of the racial stereotypes that were created as a direct result of the scramble for Africa.

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