Injustice And Mismanagement In Post Colonial
The Impact of Colonization in Africa
Starting this chapter by retracing the situation that comes slighting before the independence cannot be ignored. In fact it turns out to be very important to recall the past. As history shows it, colonization was characterized by the loss of historic initiative of the colonized people who were, once, the source of power in a system of organization built by their forefathers. Now, which transformed the blacks as mere subordinates? And what is special in that relationship is that the white fancies himself as superior which makes him look down on the black. As a result the natives were culturally alienated by the colonizers culture. And in their approach to the alienation phenomena as it was lived in the colony, Albert Memmi, J.P.sartre and Georges Balandier have rough by defined the colonial situation as a ―restrictive system of a legal, economic and ideological nature altogether5 ‖ 6i . Any way diving in that relationship would be very hazardous; rather, let us consider the impact colonialism has on Africa. The impact of colonialism in Africa is a very controversial issue. Some writes and singers pretend that colonialism was a blessing but others argue that it was a harmful operation for Africa. For example ―colonization is a necessary evil‖ Senghor said. The impact was positive as well as negative. As a precaution, it must be said that most of the position aspects were not deliberately calculated. They accidentally come from activities and reassures put down by the colonizers in order to promote their own interest. We can also say the same as for the negative as aspects. Now, let us start drawing the balance sheet in the political field beginning first with the positive and after with the negative sides. The establishment of continuous peace and stability following the consolidation of colonization is the first positive political impact. The nineteenth century has caused a great deal of instability among which the Fulani Jihads, the rise of the Tukulor and Mandingo empire and so on. That instability continued two or three decades more in the colonial era. Then out of the numerous clans, kingdoms and Empires, many modern states were born. Indeed in those kingdoms and empires, there were no clearly marked boundaries. This fact has gigantic contribution to the geopolitical appearance of the modern states in Africa. Thirdly, two new institutions were introduced in most part of Africa: a new judicial system and a new bureaucracy or civil service. Up to now, that new judicial system still exists 5 Jacques chanvrier, Littérature nègre, Paris, 1984, op.cit., P.183 6 17 in nautically all the independent states but the Muslim ones lastly, we can notice the birth of a new type of African nationalism and pan African insights. The African nationalism awes promoting a sense of identity and consciousness at the level of various ethnic groups that live in the new states. It was manifested in various movements, political parties, youth leagues and associations, news papers and so on. As for the pan-African insights, it was a sense of identity of black men the world over, and it was mostly manifested by pan-African congresses. Next to these positive aspects, there were negative ones. The first negative effect we noticed stemmed from some oppressive, discriminatory, humiliating and exploitative measures introduced by the colonial rulers. As a consequence, that policy gave birth to the development of nationalism and it generated for the natives a senses of anger, frustration and humiliation. Secondly, from the new geopolitical environment emerged even greater problems. The artificial boundaries of the newly emerging states were the source of those problems. In fact, some of those boundaries cut across some pre-existing ethnic groups and kingdoms. As a result, there caused a wide spread social disruption and displacement. It was because of the arbitrary nature of the boundaries that each African nation-state was made of a medley of peoples with different cultures, origins and language. Also the colonial system has contributed to the weakening of the indigenous system of government. If we take the example of the French, we will see that they have abolished some of the traditional monarchies and ruling families: where as the British and Belgians retained them and even created some where they did not exist in order to administer through them. The manipulation of the institution of chieftaincy caused a loss of prestige and respect for the traditional rulers in the eyes of their subjects. What is more, with the spread of Christianity and the way justice was mainly administered by the colonial rulers, the spiritual basis of the authority of the beings was undermined. The impact of colonialism in the political field has created among the African the mentality that government and all public properties belonged not to the people but rather to the white colonial rulers and could and should therefore be taken advantage of at the least opportunity. The mentality suggests that the natives educated or not, must not interfere with the government property. Thus, a majority of Africans are eliminated from the decision making process. As we will see it in the next chapters, that mentality is still in most Africans and it somehow explains why the government property is recklessly handled in the two novels understudy.
The Struggle for Independences
Between 1931, year of colonial exposition of Vincennes that marks the height of colonization, and 1960 that witnesses the majority of African countries get independence, open out a new literature, deeply original, while with its committed character than with its quality: the negro-African literature of French language. The apparition of a new literature is an exceptional phenomenon that needs explanation. A literature comes in its time, when it is ―ready‖, when a number of factors are gathered. Now, it is the years 30 that are going to link the bundle of convergences that are going to bring the hatching of a movement at the same time political, cultural and literary. The B lack Renaissance, to take again the happiness phrase of Americans. As part of a partial introduction, limited on the only theme of waking up, it is not about studying in detail the literary history of this movement, even limited to its birth. We will focus ourselves then here on reminding the most important facts. First of all, it‘s in Paris, town of welcome and liberty for intellectuals and artists of the worldwide, that meet black Americans such as Claude Mac Kay, Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, etc., the west Indians such as Léon Gontran Damas, and Aimé Césaire, the Africans like Leopold Sedar Senghor, Birago Diop, Ousmane Socé, etc. In this Paris of the years 30 then, Africa is the agenda. The craze for Black Art, already introduced for a long time by some initiated of whom Apollinaire, and Picasso, begins to spray, notably among certain private collectors. These art works, apart their esthetic qualities are at the same time more appreciated than the works of the great ethnologies African it‘s allow to re-place them in their cultural context. It‘s indeed at that time that the researches of Frobenius, of Delafosse, of Leiris, etc., reach, if not the great audience, at least the cultivated circles of Paris and outside. Simultaneously, the colonial problem is spread in all its acuteness by so importants writers than André Gide and Paul Morand. Some years later, the famous Batouala written by Réné Maran the Guyanese won the Goncourt prize and a passionate serie of polemics. Also at the same epoch the Jazz, of which the black origins are unquestionable, triumph in Europe also in America. Better, and it is a sign of triumph, the ―black fashion‖ invades cabarets and showing rooms: Joséphine Baker reigns at first on the theatre of ―champsElysées‖ after on the casino of Paris. At the end, last bundle of convergences that, at first, were not linked with the black Renaissance, but that will participate if not of its maturation, at 24 least to the creation of a favorable climate in their ideas of which expression will find in easiness: psychoanalysis, Marxism. Psychoanalysis, privileging subconscient and the dark forces of instinct, show in the capital role in the formation of the personality. Surrealism, itself, questions the primacy of reason, frees writing and, rejoining psychoanalysis, and finds in the irrational new sources of inspiration. As for Marxism, it proclaims the bankrupt of the middle-class‘s capitalism and colonial. In this historical, cultural, political context, West Indians will be the first to wake up of this long torpor in which colonization had thrown the black world. Around Etienne Lero, a group is formed that publishes ―Légitime Défense‖ in 1932; first shout of revolt against white imperialism. This magazine will have only one number, but already the movement reforms and widens itself: to Césaire and Damas, join other Africans of whom Senghor. In 1934, they published ―l‘Etudiant Noir‖ (the black student). The Negritude Movement was born. Immediately, these men define and proclaim their role and their cultural and political responsibilities: they will be the examples, the heralds, and the ambassadors of their enslaved people. They will be the guides and heads in the fight for the recon quest, then the affirmation of their cultural identity that will end on the trial of colonialism, revolt and freedom. Celebration of a black African identity was the major focus of Negritude as defined by Senghor and his contemporaries. In their view, colonization had stripped their cultures of not only their uniqueness, but also the means of expressing it, via a transposition of a foreign language. While writers of the Negritude movement did not use their indigenous languages, they did use French and other languages in new ways, using them to express symbolically their connection to traditional African culture, rituals, and symbols. In fact, according to Senghor, Negritude defined the best means of expressing the essence of black identity, and he often stressed the existence of a unique black psychology. In one of his many essays on the subject he stated, ―Emotion is black as reason is Greek.‖ Ironically, Sartre, whose preface provided such impetus to the movement, viewed Negritude as a phenomenon that would eventually disappear once the black/white racial conflict was resolved. Many black writers, including Frantz Fanon and Chinua Achebe, rejected Sartre‘s denial of race as an integral component of Negritude and black identity. In contrast to Senghor, however, and in agreement with Sartre, many others did view the reclaiming of the African self as defined by the Negritude movement as only one step in an ongoing journey to overcome colonization and finally establish a truly national culture. Modern scholars also seem to concur, acknowledging that although Negritude stressed racial differences, it was nonetheless a significant precursor 25 to decolonization. In fact, argues Pal Ahluwalia in his overview of Negritude, as an ideological phenomenon, Negritude is a movement that needs to be recognized as an important part of the decolonization process in Africa, one that eventually led to political independence.