Tag colonialism


At the opening of Mukono Hospital (Lady Stanley Hospital).' Photograph by Dr. A.T. Schofield. 1931

At the opening of Mukono Hospital (Lady Stanley Hospital).’
Photograph by Dr. A.T. Schofield. 1931


Colonization is a function of power differentials (broadly conceptualized) and the desire and willingness to use such power differentials to dominate others i.e., “Libido Dominandi.” Once the power and the means are there, what remains is the political will to act. Unfortunately, there is no any indication in history that simply because people are Black Africans they are immune from this human problem or condition.

In its essence, colonization does not have to be Europe vs. Africa. Indeed, there is a whole body of literature on “internal colonialism.” Even within Africa, within African countries and within the same ethnic group, “colonization” can take place in so far as there are power differentials and the powers that be have the desire and the determination to use their power to dominate others. Such a problem is not an essentially European problem but a human problem which has manifested itself in different times and social spaces in different forms.

Across Africa, I see ruling classes using different means to mentally colonize ordinary people either on religious, ethnic or regional lines. There is nothing to suggests that educated Africans simply because they are educated are inherently immune from this kind of moral corruption that comes when power differentials and political will are combined to justify the domination of others. Indeed, many of the African elites including the educated ones have supported leaders in Africa whose policies are not aimed at liberating Africans but making them beggars , subservient and colonizing their minds to believe doing so is right because the elites come from the same ethnic and religious group, or region.

Police photo in uganda's early 1950s.Jim McGillavray is front row 3rd left

Police photo in uganda’s early 1950s.Jim McGillavray is front row 3rd left

For the African to liberate his or her continent, he or she needs to know not only the history of his or her continent but the evolution of the mindset, history and culture of others and other regions. This is particularly important in this era of globalization.Sometimes I feel that if there was serious study of Latin American development experience, Africans should have avoided some of their mistakes if they were very serious. And learning about East and Southeast Asia can make a huge difference in terms of understanding how we compare to other regions. Lee Kuan Yew was trained at Cambridge University but yet looked at the Westerners in the eye and told them that their system is not the only possible one in the world. He came up with a kind of hybrid of his own and succeeded. But one cannot do that without deep and serious knowledge and reflection. It is an easy position to take in our world today.

Nyerere’s numerous speeches and writings show that he was influenced by what he learned in the West but he did not see that as something that he would replicate in his country or Africa verbatim. He saw his country in a different light after learning about great social changes that took place in Europe.And interestingly, Paulo Freire’s conscientization approach to education clearly shows that human beings might be free but in chains.

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