By:- Dr Mahrang Baloch (Navisht Issue-4 Article Brahui Part)
Translated by:- Fahad Baloch
“African nationalism came to the fore in a Strength form, when the European imperialism intensified the genocide of Africans in order to continue their colonial system”.
Africa is the world’s second largest continent, bordered by the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean, and the Red Sea. Africa is divided into five parts, called North Africa, South Africa, West Africa, East Africa, and Central Africa. The same culture, customs and history of Africans is called African nationalism. The African Nationalism is the name of the same nation, the same culture, and the national awareness of the Africans.
The Africans lived with their national identity before the occupation of imperialism. Later, due to imperialist conspiracies, borders were built, which then damaged the millennial social relations of Africans. And they were divided in such a way that their national consciousness was eradicated, and everyone abandoned his national identity for his own interests and adopted the same ethnic identity, which didn’t have any status before the Colonialism. The African nationalism is name of united African countries. There are 56 countries in Africa today, many of which have been made up by European imperialist countries. There are a certain number of intellectuals in Africa who believe in African nationalism and want to unite the countries of the continent in one federation. Nationalism is the name of uniting a nation as the one. In the same way, African nationalism is uniting African identity, so that the people of Africa, instead of calling themselves ‘Zulu, Sotho, xhoasa’, call themselves an African nation. Proponents of this theory say that, if Africans want to end-up the racial discord in the world, they have to restore their historical status. All Africans should be proud of being African, regardless of their citizenship, and create an United environment across the border, created by imperialism, to work for each other’s good and wellness. This is the ideology that has equality and impartiality. Once this is done, the racial discrimination will be eliminated.
Nationalism is a political ideology, and its history is as old as the history of the Nationa-state is. A nation is said to be that group of people, who share the same culture, national history , and live within the same geography. Similarly, nationalism refers to that ideology in which a nation strives to preserve its national identity, culture, history and land. The movement of nationalism commenced in the seventeenth century, when the people of the European empire formed their own separate Nation-state. This struggle is called nationalism, the proponent nation of this ideology forms its own independent and sovereign state. Just as the colonial system is designed for exploitation, in this exploitative system the colonies’ own economic system will be obliterated and the occupier will use all the resources of the colony to benefit his state, which provides more impetus to the nationalist movement. This colonial system destroys the national sense of identity, language, culture of the nations, and replaces them with its own culture and language, which affects the slave nation the most, and who then preserves its national identity and will strive to get rid of any oppression of the oppressor from his Nation. Colonial arrangement’s own plan of actions make the struggle of the oppressed a success, and as in the colonial system the villagers will migrate to the cities, as a result, they understand each other’s issues and struggle together for the success of the nation.
Pre-colonial African nationalism:-
The history of African nationalism predates the history of colonialism. The Africans lived on their land with their culture and historical status before the European nationalism. The collective life of human history was in the tribes. Many tribes later became ethnic groups. When these ethnic groups struggled for the configuration of their own state, they were called as nation. The struggle to protect one’s national identity was named as nationalism. And the nation’s state that was configured after this struggle was called as the nation-state. The European occupiers called nations as tribes against their national struggle in order to distort the history of a nation. And propagated that the subjugated states didn’t have their own state-system, but in fact it was the evolutionary process of human society that the basic unit of every human society was the collective tribes. Not much has been written about the history of African society before colonialism. This is due to the dominance of Western literature, in which the history of African nationalism commenced with the European occupation and was named as “The Rise of African Nationalism”. They say that after the European occupation, the spirit of nationalism was seen in the Africans, but an abundance number of African intellectuals and historians are scrutinizing the pre-colonial history of Africa. Before the occupation, African society was a successful state. Among them were Buganda, Buyogo, Bunyoro, Toro. Out of these, Buganda has been the subject of much probe. It was the most successful state, dating to before 16th century. Historians call Buganda a state of pre-colonial African nationalism. It has been shaped by the political, social, and economical demands of the African people. The government of Buganda was the African country of Uganda. The stories of Buganda’s national-heroes are written in the old poetries of Africa. It is said that the first king of Buganda was ‘Kabaka’, who shaped the first human population here. There are historical shrines of these kings in Africa. The custodians of these shrines are called the custodians of the history of Buganda, they know the history of Buganda and all the chiefs. Not much is known about the empires other than Buganda. Having Your own culture is very important in becoming a nation. As ‘Smith’ points out, two things are necessary for becoming a nation, the first is historical narrative that is the part of national memories, and the second is their distinct culture and identity that sets them apart from other nations. Pre-colonial Africa has met all of these requisites, as they had their own distinct history, language, religion and culture, and they had their own Land. The people of Buganda were followers of the same and one religion. This is called the ‘Bogundum’ religion, Their Deity were the people of their tribe and they were called as ‘Lubaale’. The deities were formed on a regional basis in addition to the hereditary, to which region the deity would be sent and was called the preacher of the great state of Buganda. Buganda’s religion was not an extremist, which makes it a distinct part of African culture. Pre-colonial African society had a separate geography. So the States used separate political system for their government functions. The chiefs of each tribe ruled over their own tribe, but were subject to the central government. The tribal chiefs and the central government were not hereditary. There wasn’t any concept of Royal Family. Due to the spirit of nationalism, there have been few wars (equal to non) among the tribes in African history, because the government had its own economic arrangements and laws. These laws distributed the resources very well. The law that gave every member of the nation the right to equality. For this reason, a system was made for equality in the society. The language of the people of Africa was ‘Luganda’. It is the ancient language of Africa. In European colonialism the church machinery tried to preach Christianity in that language, but Luganda is a different language, which caused the African machinery to fail. According to Smith, national history, culture, language, and land are essential to form a nation, and African society met all of these requirements, as Hastings says that if there were the ideologies of Nation-state in the 19th century, Buganda would then be the centre of African state, with its own history, culture, language, and successful government.
African Nationalism against the European Colonialism::-
- The Onset of Colonialism:-
In the history of African nationalism, when the whole of Africa was colonized by European imperialism, it was the era of African nationalism which came forward in a success manner. Since the beginning of the occupation, Africans were side lined by their own tribal and ethnic conflicts, and at the same time they struggled against colonial rule. As this system separated them on the basis of race and colour, it enslaved the people of Africa and forced them to run the machinery of the imperialist countries. It is a dark history not only of Africa but also of human history that human beings have been enslaved on the basis of race and colour. This conflict was carried-out by the colonial continuing states, including (Britain, France, Portugal). These contradictions persist even after the end of colonialism. From its inception to the present day in the twentieth century, genocide of Africans is taking place all over the world because of this racial contradiction of the African people, In this way, in a democratic country like the United States of America, people of African descent in America and in other countries launched a successful movement against their genocide in the name of the “Black Lives Matter”. Before colonialism, the people of Africa owned a great State and Empire. Research into the history of Africa shows that, there used to be an organized State in Africa, in which they settled on their land with their language, culture and traditions. Every foreign invader who has tried to snatch their land for occupation, Africans had resisted against them and defended their land. The history of modern African nationalism is intertwined with the history of colonialism, with the Industrial Revolution the world brought the capitalism to the fore. These capitalist countries include Germany, France, the British, Spain, Portugal and many other countries which colonized many nations of the world in search of new and easy markets within the capitalist system in order to get raw materials and labour at low prices. This era is called the era of looting and oppression from which no place in the world could escape. When European imperialism occupied Africa, it divided the African continent to make it easier to control and plunder these colonies. This division separated the millennial inhabited nations of Africa. Within these borders people belong to different nationalities, races, languages, separated, It is said to be part of the imperialist ‘divide-and-rule’ policy that has divided nations, and because of these policies, Africa has been plagued by various problems since independence. And it took them a long time to resolve their differences. The resistance of the African nation against colonialism is called modern African nationalism. And this resistance continued for over a century until the end of imperialist powerful occupation of their land. By 1960, many African colonies had gained their independence. Post-colonial nationalism begins in Africa after the colonial Era. This article will discuss the African nationalism and post-colonial nationalism and comment on the factors involved in this period.
- Investment and plunder of African resources:-
There are many reasons for the environmental crisis that the world is facing today, scientists have linked it to colonialism. As the capitalist system is new, the newly formed states of Europe have enslaved those nations of the world for the development and promotion of their state which had raw materials and labours at low cost. They plundered the resources of these nations and had no concern for the coming environmental crisis. It hoarded the resources of its own country, and plundered the resources of other countries to exploit the resources of Africa to run its modern states. Colonialism is, The domination of one nation over another & occupation by one nation over the other, and the taking over of the state affairs of a subjugated nation. As its first purpose is to establish political domination. The purpose of political domination is to facilitate the looting of resources. The history of this plunder is linked to imperialism. Colonialism is a form of imperialism. Its history in Africa from 1800-1960 is the history of African colonialism. The beginning of colonialism was a change of means of production in Europe after the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution introduced the system of capitalism in addition to human slavery, which was called the new system of production. As agriculture was not meeting the production needs of Europe. With the formation of the modern state came a great change in the African countries, as the rural people settled in the cities. And because of this growing population, many African countries, along with Britain, have resorted to seizing other countries’ resources to meet the needs of their people. For this reason, they wanted to take over the economic system of Europe. Once the African people were sent to the United States and other countries as cheap labour, now Europe wants to use the African people to invest in Africa because of the plunder of capitalist resources. For this, it needed to occupy Africa. As the trade system of that time failed to meet the production needs.
- Colonial Violence:-
The greatest weapon to perpetuate colonialism is colonial violence that, the European imperialism through which maintained its dominance. The countries of Africa have been forcibly occupied and the government has been taken over. Europe has first penetrated into the countries through trade agreements, then intervened in their governmental affairs, and has invaded and occupied territory against any country that has resisted against it. It has taken over the government affairs of the occupied country and used law and force to carry out its colonial plans. As Europeans forced the African people to work, it created a major humanitarian crisis. Abolished all means of livelihood. The lands of the landlords have been seized, and all the peasants have become helpless for the wages of Europe. All government institutions were in the hands of Europe, which enacted laws to force the people of Africa to work, so that anyone who refused to work would be punished by the government, in punishments these were including corporal punishment and imprisonment. In addition, Europe misused African cultural and pre-existing customs, such as before colonialism, every one had to contribute to the development of the nation in African society, so the government at the time had this option to get work from the African people according to their ability. This thing has been used by African rulers for their advantage that if anyone rebels against European rulers and refuses to work, the state has the power to imprison him, and to punish him for violating African laws. Many African people were tortured because of these tactics. Along with these European imperialism imposed heavy taxes on the African people, these taxes applied to all households. Anyone who could not afford to pay tax was forced to work. Taxes were also levied on tribal chiefs. The chief of a tribe who could not pay taxes had to be paid in return by the people of his tribe for wages for the European government. These conspiracies severely affected the pre-colonial structure of the tribes. The chief who had worked for the development and prosperity of the tribe was now forcing his own people to work as labour for the European. In addition, all forms of political struggle were banned. Every kind of voice of the people was suppressed by force.
- Political Struggle:-
The colonial system brought about a major change in Africa. Before the occupation of Africa, there were trade relations between Africa and Europe, but after the industrial revolution of the 17th century, economic relations between the countries of the world came to the fore in the form of imperialism and occupation. Europe benefited from the new technology of the Industrial Revolution, the telegram, the train and the steamboats. And through these they found a new way to get entry in Africa. This was the time when the African states opposed the European countries, when Europe started interfering in the political affairs of Africa under the pretext of trade. Africa’s political sovereignty, national culture and traditions were deeply affected. There were two major parts to the African national resistance. The first is said to be political, that colonialism has been arranged by the rulers and governments of Africa, and that the nation which the forefathers of Africa had built with their sacrifices has been taken over by others. One was the threst of the end of African culture, that the colonial rule of European imperialism had destroyed the social order of Africa. And the freedom to exercise one’s language, one’s culture and customs were taken away. The second major element of Africa’s national resistance was the threst to religious beliefs in the European occupation. In Africa, African religion, Islam and Christianity were not allowed to perform their religious rites. With the advent of imperialism, Europeans wanted to impose their country’s religion on the Africans. The aim was to free the African people from the worries of their national misery and to make them religious, so that Africans would consider the exploitation by European as their destiny. Through religious education they were taught to endure all kinds of oppression in Europe, that the world to come is the real world. Every person who sees more misery in this world will be rewarded in the next world. And this teaching made the nation of Europe superior to this (African) nation, and called the civilization of Europe greater than all civilizations. Because of all these European tactics, the people of Africa’s regional religious faith took part in the resistance against Africa. This system was not against White-men, but against the system that was destroying the harmony of African society.
The people of West Africa, including the people of ‘Ashanti, Ghana, Benin, Tchokossi, Kabye’, fought against colonialism with the national spirit. During the 1890s, the Tanzania’s Yoe nation resisted against the German imperialism. The king of the empire made this historic statement to the German occupiers.
“After hearing all your words, I do not see any justification for accepting your rule……… I will accept death before accepting this slavery………. If you people want friendship, I’m always ready for it………. But I cannot accept your slavery………. If you people want war I am ready for it but I am not ready to be your slave……… I will not bow down to you……… Because you are God’s people in the same way……….. I am the king of my land, you people of your land……….. But still I am not forcing you to obey me………. Because I know you are a free people……….. My answer is that I am not ready to accept your coercion under any circumstances……….. If you people still occupy my country with your power then I am ready for war”.
In the same way, the king of every African country rejected every conspiracy of European occupation and the European troops were replied that we do not need any kind of protection. We will oppose any protection in return for handing over our national sovereignty and our land to the occupiers. We are in no way inferior to any other nation in the world. Similarly, the king of Burkin, an African country, gave this reply to the French captain.
“I know the White wants to kill me in order to take over my land. And then you are falsely claiming that they want to help me to strengthen my country but for me my country is better in that condition. I don’t need them I have a lot of talent in my own people, I don’t need anyone else……… Consider yourself very fortunate that I am not issuing a decree to behead you………. And never return to my land”.
African nationalism comes to the fore in a strong way when European imperialism intensifies the genocide of the African people in order to continue its colonialism. Forced labour, high taxes, racial tensions, land grabbing, all these things made the people of Africa disgusted with the colonial system. And they fought against the colonial forces. With the onset of resistance, various institutions were created. Initially, a national-party could not be formed because of the conspiracy of European imperialism in which the African country was divided. This led to the formation of small institutions which opposed the plans of the colonial system and made their people aware and Conscious. Africa was occupied by separate colonial powers such as Britain, France, Germany and Portugal and in order to create a nationwide movement for the people of Africa. For instance, institutions were initially set up by European countries that ostensibly defended the rights of Africans but later escalated racial tensions among the Africans. And through these institutions, they worked against those institutions fighting for the independence of Africa. As MaoMao, an organization fighting for the independence of Africa, was portrayed as an extremist organization. And it was propagated that this is a group of people from Africa who are brutally killing White-men in order to abominate them, it’s aim was to mislead people and to keep them away from the movement, but in reality Africa, above all ethnic contradictions, was struggling only to end the occupation of its land.
The Africans formed political institutions against colonial oppression and raised awareness against imperialism. In addition, associations were formed in the European government to demand a variety of conditions, including education and hospital facilities, reduction of taxes, employment and eliminating of forced labour, and many other basic rights. The move was rejected by European officials because Europe did not have the money to spend for the Africans, The European didn’t believe to the Africans and neither they wanted their power to be distributed. Against this, European imperialism propagated that political freedom had never existed in Africa. The Africans are traditional, they have nothing to do with democracy. Nor can they run this administration/System. But the fact was that before the European occupation, African society was called a collective society, where for the betterment of the nation, the collectiveness/Union-mass was given more status than the individual. African society had independent political meetings/Summits. The leader was made the ruler by election. The leader who had oppressed the people or violated their rights was replaced by a new ruler.
- Armed Struggle:-
Colonialism was an exploitative system. Where Africans were humiliated, forced labour, and genocided. When political struggle was banned in Africa, most of the African countries fought an armed war against the tyranny of European colonialism. They waged armed struggle in small groups in the whole of Africa. Such resistance was part of the initial resistance. But they failed because they needed a safe party to organise. So all these uprisings were ended in the oppression. But over time, the Africans learned the techniques of guerrilla warfare. During the 2nd World War, many Africans joined the war and after that war they joined their national struggle. Armed organisations were formed in Angola, Kenya, South Africa, Algeria and many other countries which fought against the occupation of Africa. It was because of this political and armed struggle that the Africans became very conscious, and all of them resisted forced labour. And they caused a great deal of trouble for Europe.
- African Machinery Education:-
European education has a big part in the strengthening of African nationalism. Africans who studied in European educational institutions learned English and French. In the same way, they kept in touch with people of different languages. Educated Africans became the cause of social revolution. As the Christian missionary education system came to power in the 18th century to strengthen the colonial system in Africa. The mission of the education system was to educate the Africans so that they could preach the religious message, and to create a generation in Africa that adheres to European culture and to make clerks and talented employees in the European administration to become a machinery to run the colonial system, But the youth of Africa used the education they got from these educational institutions for the development of their nation. Those who became aware of the means of modern propaganda, in the form of newspapers and writings, informed their nation about the oppression on the people of the whole of Africa. The young people who left these education system became political members according to the new era. Colonialism brought its own destruction through knowledge.
- Impact of World wars over the African struggle:-
2nd World War also made the African National Movement a success. The Africans fought the Nazis with French and British troops. As well as being a soldier, they learned the use of weapons. They became aware about the weaknesses of the White Soldiers. The war had a profound psychological effect on Africans who were convinced in slavery that no one could compete with European soldiers, and that the life of slavery was now theirs. After becoming the part of this war, they realized that a white soldier is just like any other human being who can be killed. Many returning soldiers became the part of their national struggle.
The conditions created by the struggle against colonialism in the 1940s were beyond the control of Europe. The educated youth of Africa were the leaders of the movement that saw the weakening of Europe as the best opportunity to liberate their lands. The cause of Britain’s weakness in the war encouraged the people of Africa.
- African Leadership:-
From 1800-1960, Africans fought against colonialism on various fronts. African leadership has played a major role in the struggle for national independence, even after that independence, to get their nation out of the crisis that is brewing. Here we will mention some of the leaders, the first was ‘Kwame Nkrumah’ who was the leader of Ghana, he was a follower of Pan-Africanism. In 1949, they formed the Convention People’s Party. Through this party he spoke on the sovereignty of the African government. For this reason he was imprisoned, but his party won the election and became president of the Gold Coast. After the independence of Ghana in 1957, he became the Secretary General of Ghana and then the President of the country.
Ahmed Sekou toure:
Ahmed became the President of the African country Guinea. Ahmed was born in a Muslim country under French colonialism. After his secondary education, he became a clerk. From here, he pursued trade union politics, joining the RDA, a political party fighting the against the French occupation. Ahmed became the president of Guinea party, and launched a referendum against occupation by France . As the 1958 referendum was held, and Guinea gained independence from France. Ahmed became President of Guinea after independence. Ahmed was a Marxist ideologue after independence and made Guinea a single socialist party.
Leopold sedar Senghar:
Leopold Senghar became the 1st President of African country Senegal. Senghar was an influential African politician, philosopher and poet. His educational missionary came from educational institutions, after which he graduated from Paris on a scholarship. Here he received French citizenship and worked for a long time in Paris as a teacher. He joined the war during the 2nd World war. After the war he returned to Africa. Returning to Africa, he began his political career. And he became the Deputy of the French National Assembly. He formed a political party against colonialism. Through his writings, he rejected European culture and promised the Africans for the preservation of their own culture and language.
Nelson Mandela was known as the South Africa’s leader and revolutionary activist. Nelson Mandela became the 1st president of South Africa. Nelson Mandela overthrew his country’s oppressive government through peaceful struggle. When the government cracked down on his organisation, he became the follower of the armed struggle. Mandela spent most of his life in prison. Inside the jail cell, he fought for the oppressed masses. Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Prize for his struggle.
The Pan-Africanism movement became a great hope for African nationalism in the world. The founders of this movement were William W.E.B, Sylvester Marcus gavey, and Dubois. The beginning of this movement sought to integrate people of African descent from all over the world into its traditions. The African nation was made aware of the need to join the struggle against the tyranny and excesses of colonialism, that when we belong to one nation, our culture and national history are one and the same, so to protect each other’s individual rights we must be integrated on every forum. The founder of this movement, Dubois, held conferences in many countries of the world. Dubois believed that the only way to free oneself from racial contradictions in the New World for every African is to be proud of their national identity, land and culture. The conferences organized by this movement took place in many countries of the world and various agreements were presented for the rights of the Africans. The main theme of these conferences was the independence of African countries. In these conferences, people from different parts of Africa came closer to each other. Pan-Africanism was formed as a political movement but over time it became a movement for the liberation of African countries. As a result of this movement, the people of European countries were made aware of the atrocities committed by their armies against the Africans. This movement gave a sense of nationalism. And the African intellectuals who believed in this movement wished African countries to be part of a federation like the United States and a united Africa in the future because of this movement, but this movement weakened with time.
African strugglers/Warriors resisted European imperialism on both armed and political fronts. Where initially the formation of a large political party was not allowed, the Africans formed small institutions and associations and gave awareness to their people. By 1960, Africa had gained independence from many countries, from Britain and France. With more than a century of resistance, with very few resources, they carried forward their struggle for national liberation. As European education made them aware of the importance of the new-age struggle, they learned war tactics as they joined the world war, as the Pan-Africanism movement gave the African struggle for independence a worldwide recognition and All Africans were encouraged to stand together and fight for their homeland. African countries succeeded in their independence by fighting against the ‘divide and rule‘ policy of imperialism and all kinds of tyrannies. And this struggle vanished all previous divisions of colonialism. But British with it’s departure, gave the government to the White Settlers, these people were British supporters at the time of colonialism. After the liberation of Africa excess troubles arose.
Post-colonial African nationalism:-
There is another side to African nationalism after independence. The leaders of these new states wished to make their states a Nation-state, but Europe, under its colonialism, transformed African society to such an extent that after independence it became a major obstacle to the development of a nation. Behind this, was the conspiracy of the capitalist countries that the African countries could never be organised. Due to these conspiracies, even after 50 years of independence, African countries fell victim to civil war. And they killed each other, on the distribution of resources, and on the racial contradiction that Europe had created. The African leadership has not been able to resolve the differences that have arisen among its people since independence. The reason for this, was the lack of a good system to run the state in which every part of the nation should be together. And use theirs talents for nation building and development. In the beginning, a multi-party government was formed which pushed the country further back. Here each party worked for its own people. And national resources were wasted in corruption. As a result, African countries, which were already suffering from malnutrition, became more devastated. The whole of Africa fell victim to the economic crisis. And the children of the resource-rich state died of starvation. This led to a huge increase in the crime rate and destroyed the rule of law in the country.
To deal with all of this, African leaders have come up with various policies. Just as the first multi-party government, after its failure, formed a single party government, the leader of a single party was called the Supreme Leader and no one will be allowed to back down from his decisions. African intellectuals worked on such a nation-state policy but the single party agenda also failed. The reason for this was that, with the corruption of the Supreme Leader, all political movements against the incompetence of the government in the country were forcibly suppressed. But then there was the conspiracy of the colonialism system when it made African countries its colonies and created such boundaries between those countries that because of these boundaries the nations inhabited for thousands of years before colonialism were separated. And countries were created with more than one nation, with different cultures, lands, and histories, and this contradiction led African countries to civil war after independence.
The ideology of post-colonial African nationalism was Marxism and socialism. To end the civil war with their countries and bring them together, the African leadership struggled to change the economic system given to it by imperialism. After the 1980s, such as the neo-liberal market ideology and other programs, which removed the influence of the state from the economic system to eliminate corruption, but this system also failed that the people with racial contradictions also made it a victim of corruption. That is why African states are still among the countries in the global crisis. With the end of the Cold War, Africa’s ethnic groups moved toward the struggle for self-determination, and today they are struggling to establish their own separate state from African states. The break-up of the Soviet Union was a source of encouragement to these groups that they too could succeed.
Many elements in African nationalism, such as resistance against colonialism and, in addition, colonization of own system, which created an awareness among the Africans who continued their struggle for independence from that colonial system, and they succeeded. African nationalism has a long history of uniting the African nation with a national spirit, the spirit that they belong to the same nation. In the same national spirit and consciousness, the people of a separate nation of Africa created a modern state for themselves in 1960. After independence, the leaders of this independence became national leaders but many were imprisoned under the single party system. Nationalism was used for a business ethnic group. During the colonial era, Africans struggled to form their own government. After 70 years, a review of the political situation of many African nations reveals that Africans are continuing their struggle in a way for building the nationalism, nation, national identity and Nation-state.
Baloch Students Action Committee is a Student political organization that aims to work for the betterment of Education in Balochistan and politicizing the youth