Regents Prep: Global History: Nationalism
Nationalism in Africa
Imperialism Sparks the Pan-African Movement
Shortly after the end of World War II, most European nations were in the process of ending Imperial control of Africa.  Pan-Africanism was becoming prevalent on the continent of Africa.  Pan-Africanism is a nationalistic movement that calls for the unity of all African nations.  While is does have tremendous influence, such as the African National Council (or ANC), it has never succeeded in uniting all of Africa.  Disunity and many of the problems facing Africa since the end of WWII into present-day can be blamed on European Imperialism.  Political corruption is rampant because European imperialists left without establishing stable governments.  Ethnic tension exists because European borders were made without any thought given to the tribal system.  Tribalism is one of the biggest hindrances to Africa because traditional enemies were contained within one European-made border.  A good example of ethnic tension is the conflict between the Hutus and Tutsis in which 1,000's on both sides were massacred and many more fled to Zaire to seek refuge.  Both the nations of Rwanda and Burundi had significant populations of Hutus and Tutsis, both traditional tribes.  Despite the overwhelming problems, there have been some major accomplishments where nationalism has resulted in positive change.

Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah
During the days of Imperialism, the nation now known as Ghana was called the Gold Coast, an English colony.  The nationalist leader Kwame Nkrumah called on hearts of the African people by renaming the obviously imperial European "Gold Coast" to something that hearkened back to the golden age of western Africa, the Empire of Ghana.  Nkrumah was a believer in the principles of Mahatma Gandhi.  He established autonomy for Ghana through civil disobedience and passive resistance.  Through the pride and courage of Nkrumah and the Ghanaian people, Great Britain left .  To quote the words of Nkrumah, "No people without a government of their own can expect to be treated on the same level as people of independent sovereign states.  It is far better to be free to govern or misgovern yourself than to be governed by anybody else . . . "

Kenya and Jomo Kenyatta
The situation in the British colony of Kenya was much the same as that in Ghana.  The exploitation of Kenyan resources and oppression of its people were the typical trademarks of British imperialism.  The road to autonomy, however, was dramatically different.  Kenya's nationalist leader, Jomo Kenyatta, began his movement using passive resistance.  However, Great Britain refused to end its imperialization of Kenya and had imprisoned Kenyatta for guerilla warfare he may or may not have called for.  Regardless, the Mau Mau, Kenyan guerilla fighters, resisted British troops until Great Britain released Kenyatta and left in 1963 with Kenyatta as the prime minister of a free Kenya.  

South Africa and Nelson Mandela
The most famous of all African nationalist leaders was Nelson Mandela.  The situation in South Africa was different.  It had  experienced imperialism but the country had gained autonomy at the turn of the century.  White setters called Afrikaners had control of the South African government and had imposed a social structure known as apartheid.  Apartheid consisted of two social classes:  upper white and lower black.  The races were kept separate and unequal with the black population suffering terrible abuses.  Examples are pass cards for blacks only, voting rights for whites only, and segregated reservations called Home Lands.  Mandela, while speaking out against apartheid, was imprisoned for 27 years and not released until the early 1990's.  South African president F.W. De Klerk freed Mandela and ended the racist institution.  In 1994, South Africa had its first free election and Mandela was elected president.  Mandela and De Klerk would earn the Nobel Peace Prize together for their efforts.