• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Was there any such thing as African nationalism before 1960?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Was there any such thing as African nationalism before 1960? African nationalism is a topic that stirs up much emotion in people because of what it has come to represent; the idea of Africans united under the same banner of opposition towards colonial rule. However, the term 'nationalism' is one that many use but few can aptly define which has become problematic in terms of its usage and the cause of intense debate amongst historians as to whether it is a suitable term to be applied to events that unfolded in Africa. The traditional definition of 'nationalism' is 'a state of mind in which the supreme loyalty of the individual is felt to be due to the nation- state'. However to most Africans, the only socio-political unit that provides any conscious sense of belonging has been, in its widest extent, the clan or tribe, and, in its smallest extent, the family or kinship group. Furthermore, African societies have possessed no indigenous unit of social and political organization comparable to the nation-state. Rather, they have comprised a galaxy of tribal groups, normally small in numbers (though some, like the Yoruba, Ibo, Kikuyu, etc., number in the millions), each of which has for centuries adhered to its own pattern of custom, belief, religion, and has in most cases possessed its own language or distinct dialect. ...read more.

Middle

This would have inevitably caused grievances and resentments on the part of Africans towards their colonial masters. This mutual feeling of anger and frustration was not just present amongst the general African population. The nationalist leaders of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s were also the products of colonial and metropolitan schools. For example Julius K. Nyerere of Tanzania studied in Great Britain, Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia studied in Paris, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Hastings K. Banda of Malawi studied abroad. These men were lawyers, doctors, journalists and intellectuals who were respected as national heroes and eventually spearheaded the nationalist movements in various African dependencies. These nationalist leaders were charismatic and drew many followers because they were able to tap into the general frustration and discontent of the masses as they had experienced discrimination themselves. These men had read the works of political and social philosophers from the Western world. They had learnt about the basic rights of man, democracy, freedom, justice, and the rights of self determination of peoples. However they soon realised that these noble concepts popularised in the Western world did not apply to them3. Arguably it was at this point that they became thoroughly aware of the theoretical glass ceiling that had been placed upon their heads; ...read more.

Conclusion

So what started out as the desire for a fair and equal education and the consequent opportunities that education provided turned into the realization that this was never going to be achieved under colonial rule. Ghanaian elites began to see themselves as pilots of the common people in Ghana. They were anti-colonial and anti-traditionalist and thereby African nationalists. From this base, they organized themselves behind the rallying cry of the discontented majority and pushed for Ghanaian independence from colonial control7. Considering that Ghana achieved its independence in 1957 under the leadership of nationalist Kwame Nkrumah it can certainty be suggested that African nationalism or at least early sentiments of it existed before 1960. Intellectual sentiments expressing the need for Africans to resist European domination were certainly present before 1960. Early pioneers of Pan Africanism such as Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912), W.E.B. Du Bois, and Marcus Moziah Garvey served as catalysts to the rise of African nationalism. Edward Wilmot Blyden was the forefather of the twentieth century black consciousness movement known as negritude which, in effect, asserted distinctiveness of the African personality and the uniqueness of the African cultural heritage for black people wherever they might live. He criticized foreign missions for seeking to Europeanize Africans and urged the setting up of an independent nondenominational African church. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 1920-1949 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree 1920-1949 essays

  1. Critical Analysis: Walking Since Daybreak. As a text rich with examples of postmodern ...

    Near the end of the book, we learn of Heinrich Boll, who upon seeing his first undestroyed city remarks "it seemed to me improper, a particularly deplorable form of disaster for the city to have escaped disaster in this way."18 Given the nature of the text and the way it

  2. Why US hegemony in the 20th century was inevitable.

    35), the Ottoman Empire would join with the Triple Alliance. What began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by a Bosnian nationalist in Sarajevo on June 28th 1914, soon escalated in a major war that involved the majority of the world through all of the great powers and their colonies.

  1. To what extent did the Tsarist and Soviet governments control and influence music in ...

    The evidence is conclusive: Testimony is a wilfully fraudulent publication which was swallowed whole by the western public amidst Cold War hostility, spawning a wave of fanatical hagiographies which no amount of rational scholarship will likely overcome. 9 MacDonald, Ian (1990), The New Shostakovich, pp.1-11, Pimlico (2006).

  2. Ireland Nationalists

    Unlike political nationalists, such as O'Connell, Thomas Davis with the group 'Young Ireland' believed that an essential part of the existence of a sense of nationhood amongst the Irish is the Irish folk culture. The group published The Nation newspaper in 1842, which inspired to look at the ancient Irish past.

  1. Erich Maria Remarque and Charles Chaplin: The Glorification of Nationalism and War in World ...

    The reality of World War One was that it was absolutely brutal and no amount of training could ever truly prepare a soldier for the nightmare. Chaplin conveyed his disagreement and disgust by with the military by poking fun at it by means of sarcasm and dark humor.

  2. Did post-1945 bringing about social equality and justice?

    Some countries even assured eighty percent of their original wages to the recently unemployed, who were a small group with the new full employment welfare schemes. As a result of almost full employment, more people benefitted from welfare schemes. Therefore, after World War Two, welfare capitalism proliferated and many in governments, civil spending rose up to twenty four per cent.

  1. An Analysis of Edward Saids Out of Place from a Postcolonial Perspective

    Throughout his life he always felt the crisis of identity of being a Palestinian Arab in the US and being a US citizen in the Arab lands, which he almost never reconciled. In the first chapter of his memoir he notes about his upbringing with dual heritage: ?With an unexceptionally

  2. Amongst the various acts of barbarism and repression in Europe during the 1930s and ...

    fuel rapid industrialization, next spawned the series of immense internal purges -- beginning in 1935 -- that sent millions of party members and ordinary individuals to their deaths, either through summary executions. The n**i - led holocaust was a distinct event that took place in European history.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work