Decolonisation Of Africa

Although the colonised countries of Africa no doubt longed for independence, it was only really in the 20th century that they began to see any sort of reward for their efforts. By that time, practically the entire continent had been colonised by the Europeans.

Then, in the Second World War, political alliances saw English-colonised African countries stand in opposition to German-affiliated African countries. In addition, the war hampered trade and development between the African countries and their international allies. This forced Africa to boost its local industries from within if its people were to survive. This, in turn, led to increased urbanisation as well as improved literacy and infrastructure.

In 1941, the Atlantic Charter was implemented as a result of discussions between Franklin D. Roosevelt(the President of the United States of America) and Winston Churchill (the British Prime Minister). This document covered many aspects of the post-war world, but one of these was the independence of imperial colonies. Churchill intentionally mistranslated the Atlantic Charter to Parliament so that “the colonies” became “recently captured countries by Germany”. This allowed for the Charter to be passed and for the imperial colonies to gain autonomy. However, democratic government was only introduced at local levels as Africa was still considered to be too politically immature to govern itself completely.

Image of Ajman "world peace" series stamp.
Ajman “world peace” series stamp.

There were some African political leaders that had been educated in Western universities by the colonial powers in the decade before the Atlantic Charter. These ones became instrumental in rising to the challenge in terms of fighting for independence. They represented countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya and Senegal. Unfortunately, independence was usually only achieved after a period of war, during which time much of the landscape and population was ravaged. The entire decolonisation movement spanned from 1922 to 1975.

One of the major results of decolonisation was the migration of officials and natives to their original homelands. Migrants also moved to areas in West Africa, which were more financially lucrative, as well as to the European countries that had once colonised them.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s, many immigrants left Cape Verde, Angola and Mozambique and moved to Portugal, where they needed labourers to replace the Portuguese workers that had relocated to other parts of Europe. The 1960’s also saw a large proportion of the Asian people in East Africa moving to the United Kingdom, which has resulted in a huge population of English Asians even today. In fact, there were approximately 29 000 of these immigrants during the 1960’s alone.

Decolonisation was, therefore, responsible for introducing significant proportions of non-whites into Europe, contributing to its modern cultural diversity. At first, these ones faced serious opposition and racial inequality in some of their new homelands. But, the 1980’s were a time of enforcing equality for all, promoting the ideals of granting equal education, medical care and infrastructure to all.

Effects Of Climatic And Environmental Changes On Ancient African Civilisations

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the entire planet earth looked very different to what modern man experiences today. Continents were not yet divided, and the vegetation and animals were different. Significantly, the climate was also vastly different to what it is today. Climate plays an integral role in determining the plants and animal that live in a certain areas, as well as how habitable a place is for human beings.

In fact, even the theory of the evolution of man was dependent largely on the climatic influences on our ancient ancestors. It is hypothesised that the ancient versions of man were forced to walk upright, lose body hair and develop their coordination for survival in a changing environment. New skills also needed to be learned as farming techniques and living habits had to be adapted.

Ancient Africa experienced major vacillations between mega-droughts and Ice Ages, although these fluctuations occurred over thousands and thousands of years. As humans continued to develop and evolve through these phases, they needed to make major adaptations, not only to their ways of life, but also to their personal body structure. Prior to 135 000 years ago, the whole of Africa was lush and fertile, with a tropical climate. Then, the most intense mega-drought ever to occur hit the continent in the period referred to as the early part of the Late Pleistocene epoch. This is believed to have led to the migration of most of our human ancestors into other areas that were more habitable and fertile. Lake Malawi has been used by scientists as a rain gauge to ascertain water levels in ancient times. Research has shown that, during this mega-drought, the lake’s level dropped at least 1968 feet, or 600 metres! Evolutionists claim that this severe lack of water not only pushed ancient man from the area, it also forced aquatic animals (such as fish) to develop the facilities to be able to survive on dry land, thus evolving into land animals.

As people flocked out of the continent, only a very small proportion of this specific generation remained. Humankind as we know it is widely believed to have come from these few remaining on the continent, who evolved significantly and in response to the climatic changes.

These conditions continued until about 70 000 years ago, when the climate was again characterised by wetter conditions. These led to the growth and renewal of fresh vegetation, as well as an increased water supply to the region. More people were in the area during this time of abundance, and the population grew. This increase in numbers eventually led to migrations due to space limitations and the ownership of land.

Then, about 20 000 years ago, an Ice Age overcame the entire earth. This meant that the planet underwent a long-term period of cold temperatures over most of its surface. In places like North America and Eurasia, giant ice sheets covered enormous proportions of the land, making it impossible to farm and, sometimes, even live in these areas. This final Ice Age lasted for about 9 500 years. It forced most of the populations to migrate to the highlands, where they would be relatively protected from the ice sheets. Again, these civilisations had to adapt their farming methods, and change their diet, social habits, clothing and migratory patterns. This forced an evolution to a certain extent. Body hair was necessary to keep people warm, their skin lightened due to a lack of the harsh rays of the sun that they experienced during the mega-droughts, etc…

When this Ice Age came to an end 10 500 years ago, areas like the Sahara were left fertile and healthy. This made it and the other areas like it the ideal spots in which to settle as ancient man began to descend from the highlands. Animals and plants thrived in this environment, which made it very desirable in the eyes of mankind. The abundance of food, water and sunshine again changed the habits and physical structures of our earliest forefathers.

These conditions lasted for some time, but the Sahara in particular continued to experience fluctuations between humid and dry conditions. These eventually left the entire area unable to yield crops or sustain life for any extended period of time. Today, it remains a large stretch of desert. Then, approximately 2500 years ago, the group of people who had made their home in the Sahara began to follow the direction of the Nile River, which held promise of a rich water supply. The arid conditions of the Sahara and its surrounds continue to the present day.

Africa has, since prehistoric times, proven to be a place of fascination, life and evolution. Changes in the climate were often dramatic, and these were, to a great extent, responsible for determining the ancient civilisations that inhabited this vast continent. It is no wonder that many researchers and scientists maintain that Africa is the Cradle of Mankind, and research continues to yield fascinating evidence of this theory.