European Imperialism heavily impacted the African continent through culturally, economic, and political ideas. This era of history is heavily drenched in the aspect of ethnocentrism, which is the belief that one’s own culture is superior that of another. The Europeans colonized Africa believing that they could bring civilization, but they were often ignorant of Africa’s very complex societies. The European powers divided up the continent of Africa among themselves, without any consent from the people who actually lived there. The tribal stratification was changed to a caste system where racial, ethnic, and religious differences were of utmost importance, as delegated by European rule.
On the other hand we have perception of Africans towards Europeans, African thought of them as superior “creatures” that came to take everything, probably sent by their gods as a punishment of their actions. Under Leopold’s barbarous rule, African’s were forced to work for him, to satisfy Leopold’s desires which turned into an imperialism. His desires were: political (his need of having more colonies to compete with other European nations), economic (exploitation of raw materials), religion (the need to spread Christianity to change their culture), technology (slaves to work on industrial revolution). His desires turn Africa into a land of human rights abuse which in turn turned into an alteration of perception towards Africans.
While Collins does a succinct job of examining the economic and political factors that heightened colonization, he fails to hone in on the mental warfare that was an essential tool in creating African division and ultimately European conquest. Not only was the systematic dehumanization tactics crippling for the African society, but also, the system of racial hierarchy created the division essential for European success. The spillover effects of colonialism imparted detrimental affects on the African psyche, ultimately causing many, like Shanu, to, “become victims to the white man’s greed.”
The European imperialistic colonization in Africa was motivated by the desire to control the abundant natural resources an... ... middle of paper ... ... reasons. They wanted new land and the natural resources that can only be found in Africa, they wanted the new market opportunities that having colonies in Africa would open up to them, and the wanted to stay in competition with other European countries. The motives of the Europeans quickly deteriorated as they started exploiting the native Africans and abusing the slave trade that they had promised to abolish with the three C’s. The African people suffered a great deal as many of them were killed, harmed, or forced into slavery for the smallest civil unrest. The Europeans involved in the imperial take over lost their humanity as they started to treat fellow humans as though they were no more than cows lined up for slaughter.
Although the slave trade was ... ... middle of paper ... ...(Kipling). Europeans planned to use the African people as workers for profit in which the Europeans would claim. The African people would do all of the work, however the Europeans would reap the economic benefits. In the final stanza, Kipling alludes to the terrible conditions African society is exposed to: “Fill full the mouth of Famine.” Kipling also asserts that when the Europeans are satisfied with the revenue brought in, they will no longer “work to help develop Africa.” This solidifies the true reason for imperialism. 19th century imperialism in Africa was fueled by greed and arrogance rather than the supposed willingness to help by the Europeans.
Europe also pillaged the continent with the brutal institution of colonization. The manacles of colonization inspired great suffering in the lands and lives of Africans examples include Land exploitation, labor exploitation and most significantly exploiting the minds and spirits of Africans through inhumane treatment. The disabling affliction imposed upon Africa by the White race was the driving force behind the idea of a Pan-African awareness. The narration at the beginning of the documentary King Leopold’s Ghost best articulates the driving force behind European Colonialism. “Natural resources inspire the most unnatural greed”.
Perhaps the Heart of Darkness refers to the colonialism and imperialism that the Europeans were practicing at the turn of the 20th century. In the setting that Joseph Conrad gives the characters in the Heart of Darkness, Africa was still greatly unexplored by Europeans. It was thought by many Europeans to be a dark place of savages and strange beasts. As the author Gary Adelman writes in his book Heart of Darkness Search for the Unconscious, "As the journey proceeds from the Coastal Station to Kurtz’s outpost, darkness increasingly becomes associated with savagery, cannibalism, and human sacrifice, with Africans as the embodiment of these ideas" (p.87). Conrad depicts his ideas about Africa in this way as well as through the character of Marlow.
There are many actions taken by the Europeans of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that, in retrospect, modern people view as abhorrent. Among these practices, and possibly at the top of the list, is European imperialism in Africa. Really beginning in the late 1870s and early 1880s, European imperialists managed to subdue an entire continent of people in less than 40 years. However, before one dismisses these actions as a lapse in human reasoning and morality, he or she must consider the motives and attitudes of the Europeans towards their imperialistic actions in Africa. Though to the modern observer these actions may appear wretched and evil, Europeans of the time did not see them as such.
According to Lois Tyson, the colonizers think that they set up examples for the colonial people, so the colonised people “were considered ‘other’, different, and therefore inferior to the point of being less than fully human” In other words, the colonizers ... ... middle of paper ... ...me greedy. As Gene M. Moor has stated, Conrad hated imperialism in central Africa of its savageness, selfishness and devastation. Kurtz’s final words, ‘the horror’, ‘the horror’, are about how a civilized man can change to savagery when there is no restriction” Therefore, Kurtz can be considered as corruption brought to Africa from Europe. The death of Kurtz can be regarded as subversion of colonialism as it destroys both the colonizers and the colonised people. Heart of Darkness reflects the realities of world in the 19th century, that is Africans suffered and died because of European brutality during slave trading and colonialism.
The mass brainwashing of post-colonial rulers and their successors, which has sustained neo-colonialism to the detriment and underdevelopment of the African people, meant that the “wrong” political culture was instilled into the minds and brains of the elites. The importance of education has never been lost on Africans. The South African country study states that many African societies placed strong emphasis on education prior to the arrival of Europeans. The South African country study also states education is a reflection of society’s political philosophy and goals (146). Toward the end of the eighteenth century a missionary revival in Europe led to the arrival in South Africa of several representatives from different mission societies.