Our Africa: Europe’s Debt Pt.1

Our Africa: Europe’s Debt Pt.1

By Afroz ‘Ali

The slow process of most regions of Africa to attain independence from colonisation was only hastened when the native Africans decisively rose against the European hegemony. New states emerged one after another. In 1961 it was Sierra Leone and Tanganyika (today’s Tanzania). In 1962 it was Uganda; in 1963, Kenya and Zanzibar. In 1964 it was Nyasaland (today’s Malawi) and Northern Rhodesia now known as Zambia. In 1965 it was Gambia. In 1966 Bechuanaland got its independence and now known as Botswana, as did Basutoland now known as Lesotho. And Swaziland got its independence in 1968.

Even after at least a century of oppression and subjugation, most African state leaders were courteous and reconciliatory to their colonizers upon upon handover of government. This was in many cases sincere and in many others purely strategic and some cases simply self-serving. But the tributes the African leaders paid to their previous masters need a mention. Malawi’s newly elected Prime Minister Dr. Hastings Banda said of his imprisonment by the British, “It was the best turn the British ever did for me.” Kenneth Kaunda, the first President of Zambia, jailed twice for his political stance, was proud that Zambia’s independence was attained “without bitterness”. Botswana’s Seretse Khama, who was once chased out of his own homeland Bechuanaland because of his marriage to a white British girl, remained closely attached to the British government. Nigeria’s Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa said of British colonialism, “First as masters, then as leaders, finally as partners, but always as friends”. But it was Kenya’s founding father, Jomo Kenyatta’s summary of British colonial rule which was at least interesting and hopefully out of humility,” We do not forget the assistance…

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