Title : The consequences of colonization: an interpretation regarding the nature and causes of the ongoing issues around nationalism, ethnicity and stately power in sub-Saharan Africa since decolonization.
Colonial occupation and the manner in which independence was gained and free states were organized may be a possible explanation for the matters of contention revolving around ethnicity, nationalism, and states in Sub-Saharan Africa to this day. A first part will expose the reasons for multiple ethnicities being situated in the same territory, and contrast it with the mainly mono-ethnic governments. A second part will deal with the consequences of this colonial inherited and induced system, holding that the nature of most sub-Saharan African states and their relations to the nations encompassed within their territories does not necessarily lead to secession, violence or power-contestations, but may partly account for the problems faced by these countries.
Many of the territorial boundaries in Africa today have not changed since their definition by colonizers at the Berlin Conference (1884-1885); native societal systems were barely taken into account, the emphasis having been on the maximization of territory and resources (p93, Cole 2007). The individual colonial institutions and territories formed the "inescapable frame" that African nationalists had to confront and operate within to effectively challenge colonial occupation (p11, Young 2004). Mobilizations against the colonial states thus had to identify to and mobilize through the territory and populations 'imprisoned' by this state, and thus colonial boundaries were kept as models for the new rising civic nationstates. "The hyphenation of nation and state" embodied ideological requirements to be impersonated to legitimize a discourse of independence in the eyes of European powers (p164, Hutchinson 2004). All groups encompassed in one delimited colonial territory thus needed to be presented as one nation claiming its rights to selfdetermination and due national territory, through a demotic form of nationalism (Preface, E. K. Francis 1968) with respect to the specific colonial power occupying it. As Robert Stock explains, "much of the weakness in African political institutions can be traced back to the colonial period", especially to the transition of political powers with the gain of independence (p136, Stock 2004). The governments put into place were composed by an African elite highly influenced by western values and ideologies, having benefited of colonial education (p70, Potter 2008). Elections were impacted and controlled by the colonial power's efforts to set up governments (p7, Saha 2010) "that would not seriously challenge the interests of the metropole" (p136, Stock 2004), hereby staying implicitly imperialist to keep economical advantages, to not be challenged politically, to impose their political ideologies on these rising free states, and to keep an upper hand on the exploitation and trade of resources in the globalizing economy. The new African governments were thus closely correlated with the previous colonizing powers, and were not necessarily a reflection of the people and nations within these states, of their desires and interests, but rather of that of a designated elite monopolizing the power in its own interest. Autonomy itself came from a popular strive of Africans, and vast independence movements fighting for political and economical freedom, encompassed in the continent-wide Pan-Africa ethnic phenomenon as a unitary reaction to colonization (p106, Cole 2007). But the consequent autonomous states set up did thus not rise from
a common will of the people, but of 'westernized' decisions and a certain disguised...