Nature of the Issue
The term colonialism means the rule or dominance of one country over the other. This control is established through the social, political and economic spheres. This colonialism began in Africa during the latter half of 1400s. The colonizers were the Europeans who had arrived in Africa and settled down there. They wanted to establish trade posts in Africa and utilize the resources and the labour for the trade purposes. However with time, the Europeans realized that Africa has richly adorned with natural resources so the Europeans slowly started exploiting the same. Europeans became greedy and wanted to utilize the huge natural resource of Africa for fulfilling their personal goals and objectives (Rosa, 2014).
Why this issue is a concern
The Europeans started ill-treating the inhabitants of Africa. They started overpowering the African people and also made them accept the European standards of living under compulsion. The Europeans thus did not make attempts to uplift the Africans but utilized them for their own good (Fitzgerald, 2014). However, just as there are two sides of the same coin any move or historical revolution also has both advantages and disadvantages. Same was the case with colonialism in Africa. With the arrival of the colonizers that is the Europeans within Africa, there came many European influences that changed the lifestyles of the Africans (Duignan & Gann, 2013). There was a large scale development brought in the field of science and technology. There was a great improvement in the electricity production and electricity generation and also in the field of transportation and communication.
At the same time one has to, look into the deeper layers of these improvements that the Europeans brought in Africa. There was a large scale development brought in the social, cultural, legal; and economic system of Africa. The very first form of colonialism was seen through the arrival of the Christian missionaries who wanted to convert the Africans into Christianity. However not every African gave their consent in this conversion and they were often forced by the missionaries (Lloyd, Metzer, & Sutch, 2013). The Christian missionaries took the undue advantage of the illiteracy and the ignorance of the Africans and wanted them to give up their own religion and adhere to Christianity. The Christian missionaries acted as the connector between the Africans and the Europeans. These missionaries claimed to give their assistance in solving disputes between the Europeans and the Africans. However there was also a trick hidden behind it (Lloyd, Metzer & Sutch 2013). The Christian missionaries moulded the minds of the Africans with several false ideas and beliefs that made them refuse the advices of their own local chiefs. Though the European colonizers promised to bring several developments in the legal system as well but in reality they wanted to establish the policy of divide and rule. Many African rulers had either joined hands with the colonizers or they were totally reluctant in looking towards the needs and demands of the native Africans who were under their jurisdiction. The Europeans took the advantage of this and called for partition. However this partition was not done in order to establish a sound legal system for the Africans but was done only for the benefit of the colonizers. This was evident from the fact that the partition was not done in a planed manner. It was not done evenly (Agbor, 2015). In other words the division of the different provinces of Africa was not evenly done. There was a very bad and uneven method of distribution of the natural resources. The uneven partition of the continent of Africa had greatly upset the existing legal system (Davidson, 2014). This is because after this uneven and disorganized partition some provinces had one border like that of Gambia whereas there were many borders like that of Mali, which had seven borders. So, it was easy bait for all the criminals and anti socials to carry on illegal activities like that of smuggling without any fear. It was really very difficult to provide security over a large and uneven partitioned country. However at the same time it is this partition that has helped the African people to become independent.
The transportation and communication infrastructure was built during this period. However it was well connected only to the areas that were the bases for trading in cash crops. The transportation system was not properly distributed in the colonies. The colonizers forced the Africans to cultivate cash crops, each crop by each province which the colonizers could export and earn money (Rosa, 2014).
As a result of this, the Africans were forced to produce that what they did not consume and this greatly hampered the traditional agricultural practices of Africa. So, the net result that was seen during this colonialism was that the poor were not gaining anything. The rich became richer and the poor became poorer. The rich section of Africa was given the path to walk towards the summit of Globalization. It is because of the influence of Western world that several trade links were opened for Africa. It is also needless to say that it so the European influences that is responsible for bringing in the modern technologies. So, it can be said that the rich section of the Africa has been benefited to a great deal from the colonization but the poor sections of the society gained nothing (Agbor, 2015). It was because of this colonialism that slave trade emerged in South Africa. The colonizers wanted labour from the African civilization.
Steps being taken to address the issue
The steps that can be taken to deal with this issue can be done in many different ways. The first and foremost step that can be taken is to make sure that both the rich and the poor people get the equal opportunities (Lloyd, Metzer & Sutch 2013). As it is known that it was only the rich upper class people of the society who were benefitted from colonialism, the class discrimination has to be removed. Slave trade is one of the major evil impacts of colonialism which was mainly imposed on the poor sections of the society. Government has to make sure that the natives of Africa are not smuggled to other countries. Everyone must have the freedom of living as free people and freedom must not be kept concentrated only among the richer sections of society.
What must be done about the Issue
It is the prior duty of the Government to make sure that there are equal opportunities available to all classes of people. There must not be any discrimination made between people based on their skin colour or their economic status. As colonialism was beneficial only to the richer sections of the society, the sufferings of the poor were always unheard. They were denied the right of getting educated. So, the Government must make sure that ample support is given to the poor sections of society. They must be given proper educational facilities. It is the duty of the Government to support them financially (Agbor, 2015). There must be proper distribution of electricity among all classes of people. People living in the remote sections of the society must be getting proper electricity and water supply. The roadways and railways must not be connected only to the rich and posh industrial areas rather they must be connecting the remote regions to the main cities (Davidson, 2014). This will help the poor people to get a smooth transportation facility. Proper security has to be imposed on the borders so that no slave trade or human trafficking can take place. The Government must also boost up the traditional agricultural activities of Africa which were overlooked and suppressed during the colonial rule.
Agbor, J. A. (2015). 13 How does colonial origin matter for economic performance in Sub-Saharan Africa?. Growth and institutions in African development, 117, 309.
Akyeampong, E., Bates, R. H., Nunn, N., & Robinson, J. (Eds.). (2014). Africa's development in historical perspective. Cambridge University Press.
Davidson, B. (2014). Modern Africa: A social and political history. Routledge.
Duignan, P., & Gann, L. H. (2013). Burden of empire: an appraisal of Western colonialism in Africa south of the Sahara. Hoover Press.
Fitzgerald, T. (2014). Religion and the secular: Historical and colonial formations. Routledge.
Lloyd, C., Metzer, J., & Sutch, R. (2013). Settler economies in world history. Brill.
Rosa, M. C. (2014). Theories of the South: Limits and perspectives of an emergent movement in social sciences. Current Sociology, 62(6), 851-867.