Were the African People Partially Responsible for Colonialism?

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“The condition of the native is a nervous condition introduced and maintained by the settler among the colonized people with their consent.” Frantz Fanon, 1961, The Wretched of the Earth Fanon’s quote, repeated on the first page of Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga, seems to state that Fanon held the colonized people of Africa partly responsible for the colonial system of governing and, by extension, the oppression of the African people. Fanon notes the silence of Africa in the face of colonialism and her inability or lack of will to act against the colonial governments. However, by blaming the African people for inaction discredits much hard work by Africans at opposing the colonial states. Although a majority of Africans did not actively participate in revolt against the European colonial powers prior to the 1960’s, the colonial system was propagated not by lack of action by Africans, but rather the overwhelming military strength of the European armies. Indeed, many Africans did rebel against the European colonial system to protest increasing inequities of power and were occasionally successful, but only at the high loss of human life. Fanon depicts this interplay of ‘colonial’ and ‘native’ actors as being largely a one-sided, colonialists’ affair; not only due to the military and political power of the Europeans, but along with the contributing factor of low rates of revolt. Yet, in this reprimand of the African people for their inaction against oppressive government policies and bureaucracy, Fanon also empowers them by exposing their nascent agency to stop these unjust actions by violently rising against the government. However, contrary to Fanon’s opinion, violent revolt did occur, however the military prowess o... ... middle of paper ... ...or concurrent trend throughout the colonial period was one towards collusion with the colonial powers. Both violent and more peaceful resistance, while effective in the short term, were unsustainable in the long-term as violent resistance was quashed by the growing European armies and peaceful resistance was taken out of context and became ineffective demonstrations of the exoticism of Africa. Works Cited Bastian, Misty L.. ""Vultures of the Marketplace": Southeastern Nigerian Women and Discourses of the Ogu Umunwaanyi (Women's War) of 1929." Women in African Colonial Histories:. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002. “Frantz Fanon.” Youtube - Broadcast Yourself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfUdOREnsDo (accessed February 7, 2010). Klein, Martin, and Richard Roberts. "Conquest, Resistance, and Adaptation, 1880-1905." In Unknown. N/A: Unpublished, 2010.
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