There have been various responses on the impact of colonialim. Four samples:
Comment No. 1 by Sisay Asefa
Why is an African country like Ethiopia, who has never been colonized
( with the exception of a brief war with Italy 1935-40, and which by the way defeated Italy in the Battle of Adowa in 1896,) is sruck in a poverty trap similar to other African states.
Please do not respond to this question with a long garbage as an anwer, I want a short and concise answer if you have one.
Sisay Asefa, Professor
Department of Economics
Western Michigan University
1903 Oliver Street
Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA, 49008
COMMENT NO. 2 by Ayittey
Don't give up yet :) I call myself Musugu Babazonga, President-for-Life
of the coconut republic of Tonga in the Gulf of Guinea but I like Baba
Mzuri. What does that mean?
I downplay "slavery, colonialism, artificial borders, and Western
imperialism," NOT because they did not or don't happen to us but because
of the following reasons:
1. As I explained in a general post of gratitude, we have OVERPLAYED
2. Corrupt African despots have for years used these same factors to
conceal their own incompetence and failures. Instead of taking
responsibility for their failures, they always blamed colonialism,
slavery and Western imperialism.
3. These "external" factors are beyond our control. If you insert them
into every African problem, however ill-conceived that might be, you
render the problem INSOLUBLE. Because you have made the solution
dependent upon SOMEBODY ELSE changing their behavior, which you do not
have control over.
4. We may rail all we want about colonialists and imperialists but they
ain't gonna come and solve our problems for us in Africa. When have they
solved our problems for us? So what is the sense in taking our problems
5. Even if they come to solve our problems, they will do so to THEIR
So, you won't hear or see me WASTING my time whining about slavery,
colonialism, imperialism. For 40 years we did so and it NEVER got us
COMMENT No. 3 By Rita Kiki Edozie
The subject of colonialism/neo-colonialism/imperialism's role in Africa's contemporary political and economic development prospects couldn't be more poignantly illustrated by re-examining the country case of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
As my African Politics students and I viewed the movie, 'Lumumba' to understand these themes, the truth couldn't have been starker.
Watching the movie, my predominantly all white class was stunned, shell-shocked! They, young impressionable Americans, had previously been 'taught' to understand Africans as peoples without culture and civilization, hapless, primitive, mired in self-induced conflict (tribalism), and thus needy (if a liberal) or not worthy (if a conservative) of the world's (their) charitable intervention.
In 'Lumumba', they watched the beauty of the Congolese culture and peoples (Soukous), the charisma, vision, nationalistic, democratic and humanitarian impulses of the country's only democratically elected leader, Patrice Lumumba. They then watched how Belgium, the UN, the US conspired with Lumumba's once-best-friend-turned traitor-opportunist military commander, 'Joseph Mobutu' to oust and brutally assassinate Lumumba and place their 'client' dictator in power over the Congolese people (Belgium has officially apologized for this). This is AFTER colonialism. The rest is the contemporary history of the Congo: 'Mobutism'(a client of Reaganism), brief 'renaissance revolution', 'counter-revolution' 'regional war, 'collapse' and eventually a 'SADC/UN peace deal under Kabilla II'.
A political science/IR professor, I filled them in with the most recent contemporary politics. Eighty percept of the world's coltran (used for cell phones) comes from the Eastern Kivu regions of the DRC. There, 3 million people have been estimated to have been killed over what the UN has described as a 'resource mobilization war' between new 'western' 'client' countries (Rwanda especially), ethnic militias, and multi-national corporations such as Becktel. Kabilla II recently met with Bush on mutual cooperation between the two countries. International diamond companies sponsored the event.
My students thank me for raising their 'human' awareness.
Comment No. 4 by Paul Idahosa
Sister Rita, I'm not doing George. We've had too much of that. But to calm the political nerves, a tiny-- well, elaborated-- footnoting amendment. The congolese music in the movie, Lumumba, is acoustic Congolese rumba. "L'indépendance Cha Cha Cha" is one of the beautiful songs that you heard in the movie, and is a famous nationalist Congolese Rumba piece, reproduced lovingly in Peck's film, and recently reactivated (a section of it, anyway) on Papa Wemba's latest CD. Soukous is really the fast, somewhat frenetic, dance music of the 1980s and 1990s, consisting of dazzling, driving, if increasingly, repetitious, guitar work, and a great deal of electronics. Although having its origins in the eccentric competitiveness of musical and groupie sapeurs in Kinshasa, Brazzaville, and later Abidjan, it became formulaic music that was more or less developed as much for the Parisian and outré diasporic, dance floors-- most of it was actually produced in Paris or Antwerp-- as it was for that of Kinshasa. Many Soukous musicians actually call that music Congolese Rumba too, with an emphasis upon stressing the cultural continuities with the Congolese past, as much as with Cuba (an emphasis which they, ironically, "thank" Mobutu for!), from where they borrowed the rumba form you heard in the movie.
Why is footnoting about music important? In part because the earlier music was written, produced and recorded in the Congo, whereas the music you refer to as soukous was primarily generated in France, Belgium, and even the UK and the U S, but all for very different audiences, all of which symbolized and represented the changing dynamics of global cultural production, and the fact that many of the Soukous musicians no longer live in Congo; indeed, some have had to move to the US because they are not French citoyens Any suprise there? There's been a slight change under Kabila, but not significant-- it's more like cultural return and engaging younger-- and actually cheaper-- musicians, who like their soccer playing cousins, all want to end up in the metropolis. With the possible exception of the very exceptional Cairo and Johannesburg, the vast majority of African music that generates value added-- that is dollars, pounds or Euros and increasingly Yen, as a lot of African musicians are popular in Japan--is actually produced outside of the continent. This may or may not be a good or bad thing (Fela and Manu Dibango have both complained bitterly about the lack of a serious indigenous music industry), but it is a reality too.
My students don't thank me for any awareness; they just want to hear the music.