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The formation of African independence movements

African nationalism is an umbrella term which refers to a group of political ideologies, mainly within Sub-Saharan Africa , which are based on the idea of national self-determination and the creation of nation states. However, the term refers to a broad range of different ideological and political movements and should not be confused with Pan-Africanism which may seek the federation of several or all nation states in Africa. Nationalist ideas in Sub-Saharan Africa emerged during the midth century among the emerging black middle classes in West Africa.

Early nationalists hoped to overcome ethnic fragmentation by creating nation-states. African nationalism first emerged as a mass movement in the years after World War II as a result of wartime changes in the nature of colonial rule as well as social change in Africa itself. However, African nationalism was never a single movement and political groups considered to be African nationalists varied by economic orientation and degrees of radicalism and violence.

African nationalism in the colonial era was often framed purely in opposition to colonial rule and was therefore frequently unclear or contradictory about its other objectives.

Rotberg , African nationalism would not have emerged without colonialism. African nationalists of the period have also been criticised for their continued use of ideas and policies associated with colonial states.

African nationalism exists in an uneasy relationship with tribalism and sub-national ethnic nationalism which differ in their conceptions of political allegiance. Many Africans distinguish between their ethnic and national identities. During the late s and s, scholars of African nationalist struggles have primarily focused on the Western-educated male elites who led the nationalist movements and assumed power after independence. The history of studies of women's involvement in African nationalist struggle, mobilization, and party politics can be traced along intellectual and political paths that initially followed, later paralleled, but have seldom deviated from or led the course of Africanist historiography.

The goal of these women involved in the African nationalism movement was to recover Africa's past and to celebrate the independent emergence of independent Africa. It was necessary to raise awareness of this cause, calling to the new emerging generation of African women, raised in a better, more stable society. Although, the challenges they faced seemed increasingly more significant, they however had it better than past generations, allowing them to raise awareness of the African Nationalist moment.

Whereas women's historians interested in effecting changes in the process and production of American or European history had to fight their way onto trains that had been moving through centuries on well-worn gauges, the "new" Africanist train had barely left the station in the early '60s.

With a few exceptions, scholars have devoted little more than a passing mention of the presence of African women as conscious political actors in African nationalism. Anne McClintock has stressed that "all nationalisms are gendered.

In , a prominent organization called the African National Congress Women's League used its branches throughout the country to build a national campaign. As leaders and activists, women participated in African nationalism through national organisations. The decade of the s was a landmark because of the significant number of women who were politically involved in the nationalist struggle. A minority of women were incorporated and affiliated into male-dominated national organisations.

Founded by women in , The National Council of Sierra Leone was to become, in , the women's section of the ruling All People's Congress and dedicated primarily to the vigorous support of head of state, President Stevens. Women activists extended and conveyed militant behaviours.

Nancy Dolly Steele was the organizing secretary and co-founder of the Congress, and has been noted for her militant political and nationalist activities. In the same way, throughout Africa, the influence of trade union movements, in particular, became the spawning ground for women organisers as such. South African women, for instance, emerged as primary catalysts for protests against the Apartheid regime.

These women first participated in resistance movements through women's branches of the larger male dominated liberation organizations, as through the African National Congress ANC. Nevertheless, in , the ANC adopted a new constitution which included a new position for women to become full members of the national movement. Women also formed their own national organisations, such as the Federation of South African Women in , which boasted a membership of , women.

Though at the time women viewed themselves primarily as mothers and wives, the act of their joining in political organisations illustrated a kind of feminist consciousness. Women were fundamental nationalist leaders in their own right.

Mohammed, who was semi-illiterate, was an impressive orator and later combined her nationalist work in the s with her political ambitions. She was one of the most visible Tanganyikan nationalists during the struggle against colonialism and imperialism. Her legacy as a leader, speaker, organiser and activist is testimony to the pivotal role played by many uneducated women in spreading a national consciousness, a political awareness and securing independence from British rule in Tanzania.

Whilst some female-oriented initiatives may have been conceived and presented to women by male party-leaders, others were clearly created by women themselves. These women used nationalism as a platform to address their own concerns as wives, mothers, industrial workers, peasants, and as women affiliated to the ANC.

The s Anti-tax protest in Tanzania involved the women of Peasant Pare, where women employed methods of direct confrontation, provocative language and physical violence. Explicit use of sexual insult was also central to the powerful Anlu protest of the Cameroon in , where women refused to implement agricultural regulations that would have undermined their farming system. Market women in coastal Nigeria and Guinea also used their networks to convey anti-government information.

However, although these women contributed to African nationalist politics, they had limited impact as their strategies were concerned with shaming, retaliation, restitution and compensation, and were not directly about radical transformation. This problem was a reflection of the extent to which most African women had already been marginalized politically, economically and educationally under colonial regimes in Africa.

From the s up to Gambia's independence , Cham Joof as he is commonly referred to , held a series of campaigns against the British colonial administration. In , he spearheaded the All Party Committee - the purpose of which was for self-governance and to determine the political direction of the Gambia free from European colonialism and neo-colonialism.

In , he organised the Bread and Butter demonstration from outside his house in Barthurst now Banjul , and led his followers to Government House to lobby the British colonial administration.

Jones were indicted as "inciting the public to disobey the laws of the land" and charged as political prisoners. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with black nationalism which defines national identity in purely racial terms. Du Bois Yosef Ben-Jochannan. This section is written like a personal reflection, personal essay, or argumentative essay that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic.

Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.

November Main article: Alieu Ebrima Cham Joof. See also: Politics of the Gambia and History of the Gambia. Retrieved African Affairs. McClintock, A. Mufti, E. Shohat United States, Geiger, J. M Allman and N.

Hay and S. Stichter London, Party Politics in The Gambia — , p. The root cause of the bread and butter demonstration. Party Politics in The Gambia — ,, pp. Kairaba Archived at the Wayback Machine.

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Journal of Women's History

Published in: Africa Spectrum , Vol. About fifty years after the independence of most former colonies on the African continent, books on African nationalism again rank high on the agenda of the international academic discussion. A selection of three recent publications demonstrates the advances made in scholarly analysis in the meantime as well as the wide range of related subjects. The new nationalism in Africa and elsewhere shows remarkable differences both in its roots and its impact, compared with that of the national independence movements of the early s. States and Citizenship in Africa.


Nationalism and the struggle for political independence in Africa have spanned the pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial Request Full-text Paper PDF.


African nationalism

This first comprehensive and thoroughly documented study of the political development of two of the newly formed nations of Central Africa presents the full story of the successful efforts of the people of Malawi and Zambia to achieve self-government. Following a detailed examination of the impact of British colonial rule, the author provides a new interpretation of the earliest demonstrations of native discontent and he explains how the forces of protest found expression through proto-political parties and the formation of religious sects and millennial movements. He also interprets the objectives and tactics of the ruling white settlers in their abortive effort to establish the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

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There thus developed a general feeling among the intelligentsia that the colonies were being deliberately exploited by ever more firmly entrenched European political and economic systems and that there had developed a new, wider, and mobilizable public to appeal to for support. The result, during —50, was the virtual suppression of the RDA in Africa by the colonial administrations. In the established politicians brought in Kwame Nkrumah , who had studied in the United States and Britain and had been active in the Pan-African movement , to organize a nationalist party with mass support. In European trading houses were boycotted , and some rioting took place in the larger towns. An official inquiry concluded that the underlying problem was political frustration and that African participation in government should be increased until the colony became self-governing. In , therefore, a new constitution was introduced in which the legislative council gave way to an assembly dominated by African elected members, to which African ministers were responsible for the conduct of much government business.

Nationalism and the struggle for political independence in Africa have spanned the pre-colonial, colonial and postcolonial epochs, with the nature and character of struggle determined by the aspirations of the people and peculiarities of each period. On the eve of European imperialist incursion into Africa from the last quarter of the nineteenth century, pre-colonial African kingdoms and states staged resistance against the invaders in order to preserve their respective local independence. Nationalist struggle and eventual independence from colonial rule was achieved in some parts of Africa such as British West Africa through constitutional and relatively peaceful means, while the road to independence in Lusophone Africa and the Maghreb was marked by considerable violence and bloodshed. The chapter concludes that the nature and travails of colonialism, nationalism and independence in Africa have continuously negatively affected nation-building and national development in most postcolonial African states. Skip to main content.

African nationalism

African nationalism is an umbrella term which refers to a group of political ideologies, mainly within Sub-Saharan Africa , which are based on the idea of national self-determination and the creation of nation states. However, the term refers to a broad range of different ideological and political movements and should not be confused with Pan-Africanism which may seek the federation of several or all nation states in Africa.

2 Response
  1. John S.

    It is now a half-century since most countries on the African continent saw the end of colonial rule.

  2. Fiascapexin

    Nationalism and the struggle for political independence in Africa have spanned the pre-colonial, colonial and Download chapter PDF.

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