Colonialism: A Disease that Destroyed Africa

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“Before the twentieth century, it would have been incorrect to speak of the Igbo as a single people” (XIX, Achebe). Although all these people lived in Igboland, there were hundreds of different variations of Igbo, resulting in cultural differences and differences in language so great, that one Igbo group could be misunderstood by another only thirty miles away (XIX). Colonialism, a disease that spread through Africa causing destruction, disarray, and fear, was also directly responsible for the overall unity of the Igbo people observed throughout the twentieth century. Although colonialism broke up the unity of villages and forced different political, social, and economic lifestyles on the groups of Igbo people, colonialism also had a direct impact in forming national unity; in forming “a common Igbo identity” (XIX). Although colonialism diminished the values each Igbo group held dear to them throughout the generations, this was necessary in the development of the identity of Igbo people as a whole as they were becoming part of a new, industrialized world. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe, showed both how destructive colonialism was and how detrimental it was to the close-knit Igbo villages. Destruction of entire clans by massacre was not out of line for white men during the beginning of colonialism, as this was the punishment of the Abame clan for killing the first white man they saw. The Umuofia and Mbanta clans knew better than to kill any white men before discovering their purposes, and reluctantly allowed the white, Christian missionaries to enter their villages. Okonkwo, a strong, important man from Umofia, was serving his seven-year exile in his motherland Mbanta when these missionaries became more profuse and active. He despised the white men and their new religion, and wanted action to be taken against them. At first, the churches were only able to attract people without a title, however, as time progressed, outcasts were attracted and women who...
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