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Africa S Development
The European powers had created a situation of economic dependency, political fragmentation, and technological stagnation from the first days they set foot upon African soil. According to Walter Rodney, a black activist from Guyana, slavery and colonialism were the very movements Europeans implemented to divide and conquer the Africans, and exploit African resources for their own purposes. Walter Rodney is not alone in his beliefs, since many writers, movie producers, and activists have followed the same trend Rodney so intricately wrote about in his book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. These other writers, producers, and activists strongly support Rodney s thesis in their own works. However, although it can be seen that the colonialists are to blame for the underdevelopment of African, one fault on the part of the current African population is that they have become strong admirers of European culture. Therefore, the undermining of African culture continues even today. This fault can be attributed to the Europeans for pushing their culture into the minds of the Africans, and against the Africans for not remembering their roots. Although slavery and colonialism implemented by the Europeans thoroughly underdeveloped Africa, the Africans of today must not only realize this, but also rid themselves of European admiration yet continue to struggle against the challenges they will face in the future.

The first step in the architecture of aggression against the Africans was the triangular slave trade pattern between the Americas, Europe, and Africa. The slave trade began as early as the 1500s, not long after Columbus had discovered the New World. Essentially, the triangle followed a sequence, in which the first step involved the African slaves being shipped from all regions of Africa to the Americas. The slaves worked on farms and grew raw materials that were then shipped to Europe, where the raw materials were then used in the manufacturing of goods. The goods were then exported to slave traders living in Africa. The effects of the slave trade were magnanimous. Not only did the slave trade separate countless loved ones from their families and kill several million Africans en route to the Americas, but it also created a new kind of individual, the African-American.

The forces and implications of slavery can be seen from primarily two perspectives, looking within Africa to find to what extent Africans themselves are responsible for being enslaved, and looking at forces outside of Africa that caused its people to become enslaved. In Maryse Conde s Segu, the author shows European haughtiness through characters such as Anne Pepin, a French woman, and Manoel de Cunha, a Brazilian, who participated frequently in the selling and trading of human beings. However, Conde also emphasized in her novel that the blacks as well kept slaves, and therefore Africans are partly to blame for the encouragement of slavery. Conde implies that, concerning the slave trade, the Africans had underdeveloped themselves in addition to being exploited by the Europeans.

An alternative point of view concerning slavery and the slave trade is raised by Haile Gerima s film entitled Sankofa. From Gerima s standpoint, underdevelopment due to slavery came solely form the European colonialists. He directly holds the Europeans responsible for initiating and implementing the triangular slave trade. The European characters in Sankofa portrayed roles that imply total domination over the black Africans. For example, Master James can be seen to dominate the Africans physically, shown by his ruthless actions, such as raping Shola, the lead female character, on a whim, whipping slaves for fun, and not showing any remorse for killing a pregnant slave. Another character, Father Rafael, dominated the African slaves mentally by Christianizing them, and imposing his religion and way of life upon them.

The second step in Europe s conquest for power was to colonize the African land by dividing it up amongst the European nations. The need to colonize grew with the fact that resources and precious metals were discovered to be in abundance in African soil. With this realization, the European powers exploited the land of the black Africans by establishing private industries that benefited only the colonialists, and left the Africans with nothing. This was a major factor in the underdevelopment of Africa in economic terms. For example, in the 1870s, large diamond deposits were uncovered in South Africa. The amount of diamonds was so substantial that a monopoly on the world s supply of diamonds could be established. Without further ado, De Beers Consolidated Mines had amalgamated and concentrated the diamond industry and possessed a virtual monopoly in diamond sales through a London syndicate by 1899 (Curtin, 448). Additionally, Witwatersrand gold had also been discovered in South Africa. This industry was also under command of the Dutch in South Africa.

In the context of literature, Chinua Achebe s Things Fall Apart gives a classical depiction of a traditional Igbo society being taken over by English colonialists. The source of the future political fragmentation and underdevelopment was the English interference in the African traditional way of life. The main point Achebe desires to convey is that the English were able to gain a foothold in the African land because they had divided the Igbo society by offering strength and recluse to the Igbo efulefu, or those perceived as empty, worthless men. One of the great leaders of the Igbo tribe was Okonkwo, a man whose famous wrestling skills and fearlessness in wars had earned him a high place in this society. However, his attributes were counter-effective, since his son Nwoye becomes fed up trying to please Okonkwo, and enlists himself in an English missionary. England s post-slave trade involvement in the African land was highly divisive, separating families and tribes from each other, with some Africans rejecting the English presence, and others embracing it. Not only were traditional groups such as families and tribes separated, but the future of African politics also were affected.

In Buchi Emecheta s The Joys of Motherhood, colonialism is already instituted, and power remains in the hands of the British due to their control over money, land, and armed forces. It can be...
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Africa's Development. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 12 Oct, 2010 from