FACTORS FOR THE RISE, GROWTH, AND DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICAN NATIONALISM

FACTORS FOR THE RISE, GROWTH, AND DEVELOPMENT OF AFRICAN NATIONALISM

Note: These are facilitating factors to nationalism that had risen as a result of colonial injustices such as forced labour, poor taxation system among others.




The Africans were now fed up of the trusteeship policy of reformist approach and needed a complete overhaul of the colonial order.

Therefore the nationalists that emerged in the disadvantaged countries of the world especially Africa and Asia such as Nkrumah, Nyerere, Ghandi, Nehru were so positive to real change therefore the factors for the growth and development are as follows;

NOTE: The first factor to consider are the European colonial policies such as forced labour, heavy taxation, forced cash crop growing among others which inked the Africans to fight for the restoration of African dignity and independence.

The need to preserve and regain African independence. Following the Berlin conference 1884, Africa was divided up amongst the hungry European imperialists and the African chiefs became answerable to the white new comers. This was unacceptable consequently societies like the Asante, Nandi, started fighting the white intruders. The events that followed such as the Mau Mau revolt in 1952 Kenya were a clear signal that Africans wanted to preserve their independence and sovereignty.




The existence of independent African countries such as Liberia and Ethiopia fostered the growth of nationalism. Their socio-economic and cultural ways remained intact such attracted other Africans who had suffered the evils of colonialism to develop a feeling of self-determination and therefore started resenting colonialism.

Coupled with the above was the Italo- Ethiopian crisis 1935-1941. When Italy took over the last relic remainder of the African soil that harbored its ancient history and dignity. Africans reacted In Lagos, demonstrations and boycotts began, in Jamaica demonstrations also began protesting the act of Mussolini and this was the real beginning of militant nationalism emulating the “black lions’’ of Ethiopia.

The missionary activities further instigated the spirit of nationalism among the Africans. They preached equality which made Africans start questioning the rationale of the continued existence of colonialism in Africa. To make matters worse some clergy and the catholic church gave finances to Africans who were fighting the evils of colonialism a case in point is Congo, and with in the Portuguese colonies of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau.




The role of the press and mass media can not be underestimated in propagating nationalistic ideas to the discontented masses of Africa for example Namdi Azikiwe formed the west African pilot, Nasser formed Radio Cairo, Kwame Nkrumah formed the Accra evening news, Abafemi Awolowo’ Nigerian tribunal, Uganda’s Munno among others propagated ideas of nationalism in Africa and it explains why political parties and liberation movements got massive support such included FLN of Algeria, Tanu, Kanu, Swapo among others.

The 1952 Egyptian revolution, its impacts inspired nationalism, the free army officers like Nasser, Neguib and Sadat managed to get total independence and since Britain was a colonial master to many African states like Nigeria, Uganda , Kenya among others it was a practical example that with exerted pressure, the colonial masters can give up their administration. Note: After the revolution, Nasser gave moral and financial assistance to countries like Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria to shed off the colonial bondage.

The Suez Canal crisis further stirred up African nationalism. When in 1956 Nasser nationalized the canal after defeating Britain and France plus Israel diplomatically, it gave courage to countries controlled by Britain and France to fight them as a result nationalism developed and neared the date of independence.




The role of political parties became vital in dislodging the colonial masters. They mobilized the masses and instigated nationalistic feelings amongst the party members thereby defeating the colonialists in the due course. These included UGCC and CPP of Ghana, NCNC in Nigeria, TANU in Tanganyika, and UNC in Uganda among others.

1957 Ghana’s independence. Being the first black African country to get independence it set an example on how to attain self-determination. Nkrumah had this to say; ‘‘…the independence of Ghana is meaningless if the rest of Africa remained under colonialism…’’ He then started supporting liberation movements throughout Africa such as Frelimo of Mozambique, intervened in the Katanga crisis, condemned apartheid South Africa among others.

The April and December 1958 Accra. Conferences stirred up nationalism, a number of independent African states like Egypt, Ghana, Sudan, Tunisia met and in December all African independent or not met in Accra, they discussed how to dislodge the one armed bandit colonialism. Delegate who attended such as Kinyatta, Nyerere and Lumumba came back to their countries determined to dislodge the colonial masters at what ever cost.




1952 to 1955 Mau Mau uprising in Kenya also opened the ‘’eyes’’ of many Africans, the courage showed by the Kenya nationalists and the subsequent changes/reforms realized in Kenya encouraged people like Ben Bella to form FLN that spear headed the independence of Algeria in 1962. Others inspired were Augustighno Neto of Angola, Eduardo Mondlane of Mozambique among others.

The 1954-1962 Algerian war of independence. Ben Bella with FLN managed to successfully launch guerrilla warfare and dislodged the imperialists. This inspired the other French colonies to fight for independence.

The 1948 Apartheid policy in South Africa further inspired nationalistic sentiments. This is true especially after the creation of the Bantustans in 1948, the suffering of Africans in these reserves attracted international sympathizers willing to help Africans against the one armed bandit colonialism. African states like Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, and Zimbabwe became frontline states in the struggle against apartheid. This was nationalism at play.

The inauguration of O.A.U on 25th may 1963 in Ethiopia Addis-Ababa. It became a voice of the discontented peoples of Africa. African countries agreed to help each other to dislodge the colonial masters and by 1994 their objective had been realized as almost the whole continent was finally free. It was only left with the problem of Neo-colonialism which the African union is working on to end.




Music dance and drama further inspired nationalistic sentiments, musicians like Lucky Dube, Chaka Chaka, Brenda Fasie among others sang songs with messages that touched Africans, opened their eyes and joined the struggle for independence this was prominent in the fight for South African liberation. Note: All the above are internal factors thus the external factors include;

The 1917 Russian revolution; after it’s success, Russia started condemning capitalism as having had a hand in the spread of colonialism. Russia started giving aid to liberators like Mondlane of Mozambique, Mugabe Robert of Zimbabwe, to oust the colonial masters. This explains why many nationalists took up the socialist ideology like Sekou Toure, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Nyerere among others.

The role of elites(colonial education) cannot be under estimated; these included; Nyerere, Kenyatta, Obote, Nkrumah, Namdi Azikiwe among others they demanded immediate changes so as to realize democracy in Africa as it exited in Europe. They also enlightened the masses of their rights subsequently uprisings, demonstrations started all over Africa.

The role of Africans in the Diaspora. These included Web Dubois, Marcus Garveys, and George Padmore among others, they spread pan-African ideas through conferences forexample the pan African movement, the 1st of its kind was held in 1900. They came up with ideas of how to dismantle colonialism. This inspired Africans like Nkrumah, Ben Bella, Mandela and when nationalism surged within their hearts, de-colonisation was sooner or later to be achieved.




World war11 and its impact facilitated the growth of African nationalism.
It destroyed the white mans invincibility for example they thought the white man cannot die so when they saw them die especially in Burma, then they got encouraged to fight them on return in Africa. In the war Africans also got fighting skills, were exposed to democracy among others which prompted them to seek for self determination.

The liberation of the Ethiopia in 1941 from Italian imperialism with the help of Britain encouraged Africans to fight for their independence. They questioned that, ‘‘if Ethiopia today why not the rest of Africa….”
Note: Britain helped Ethiopia due to the world war11 fever. It intended to displine Italy for supporting the axis powers however, it worked to favour Africans as their nationalism surged to the fore.




The Atlantic charter of 1941 worked to raise African Nationalism. It was signed between Franklyn Roosevelt (USA) and the British premier Churchill Winston on a battle ship in the Atlantic Ocean during the course of world war11. They agreed that all governments of the world be allowed to choose the governments of their own and be self determined. This inspired African Nationalism.

Note; Namdi Azikiwe of Nigeria took a memorandum to Britain demanding for the fulfillment of the charter, however Churchill responded by saying it was only for those colonies that were under Nazi German like Poland. However it is important to note, that despite such statements, the spirit of nationalism could not be averted.

The victory of the labour party in 1945 in Britain enhanced African Nationalism. Clement Atlee had this to say, “Britain will not recover from the vagaries of the world war11 if it remained with colonies…..’’ Atlee then started speeding up the pace of events in the British colonize that led to the decolonization of Africa.

The 1944 Brazzaville conference. It was chaired by Charles De Gaulle the then president of France it was held in Congo Brazzaville. He called all senior French officials and they resolved to create changes with their colonies. This conclusion inspired Africans who demanded for more reforms and the result was independence.

TheManchester conference 1945. In this conference delegates from Africa such as Nkrumah, Peter Abrahams (S.A) Jomo Kenyatta, Nyerere, Kamuzu Banda (Malawi) met with other Negros from the Diaspora including Web Dubois, George Pad more. They agreed to use any means to achieve African independence. They also called upon Africans in the Diaspora to come back to Africa and lead their countries to independence. Delegates who attended came back determined to dismantle the colonial bondage.




The formation of UNO in 1945 to replace the toothless league of nations that had ignored the rape of Ethiopia by Italy and had also not come up with clear solution to avert world war11. U.N. had a decolonization committee and a trustee ship council both with a responsibility of granting political and social freedoms and independence to the disgruntled masses of the world. Countries that benefited most were the mandated territories such as Somalia, Tanganyika, Libya, Namibia, among others.

The 1946 rise of new super powers these were USA, and USSR to replace Britain and France whose economies had been crippled by world war11. These super powers demanded for complete decolonization so as to deal with independent African states. They became prominent members of the UNO trusteeship council and the de-colonialisation committee and imparted pressure onto the colonial masters the result was independence.

India’s independence 1947 was also very paramount in the growth of African Nationalism; India shared the same colonial masters with many African states such as Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa among others. So on attainment of independence, Africans were convinced that sooner or later they too would receive theirs. Gandhi and later Nehru the leaders of India started giving moral and financial support to African liberation movements like the Mau Mau movement in Kenya 1952-55. India also became a strong vice in the UNO condemning colonialism that attracted international sympathy.

The Chinise revolution 1949 under Mao Tse Tung after defeating the capitalists, he vehemently criticized capitalism as a root cause of all human suffering including colonialism, China then started supporting liberators such as Nasser Gamal, Mondlane of Mozambique, Sekou Toure of the French Guinea hence facilitating African Nationalism.




The idea of NAM (non- alignment movement) that started in 1955 Bandung conference in Indonesia and the subsequent inauguration of NAM in Belgrade conference 1961. Delegates such as Surkano of Indonesia, Nehru of India, Nasser of Egypt, and Nkrumah and later Tito of Yugoslavia (in Belgrade), strongly condemned colonialism and agreed to enhance the spirit of non-alignment among the LDC’S. This influenced the spirit of nationalism for the stronger states were encouraged to support the weaker ones in this struggle.

The formation of the Afro-Arab-Asian Solidarity (AAS) in 1955 further influenced African nationalism this became the voice of all the disgruntled peoples of the world on the international fora. It also gave rise to radicals such as Nasser who became very influential in dismantling colonialism in Africa. Members also formed bureaus, solicited funds to liberate the 3rd world. Beneficiaries included Algeria, Morocco, and Angola.

The rise of Charles de Gaulle for the 2nd time in France as president 1958. He now came back determined to do away with colonialism. He made several visits to Africa looking forward to give political freedom. This explains why by 1962 Algeria had to get independence after a long guerrilla war struggle since 1954, Guinea Conankry 1958 among others.

The 1960 speech of Harold Macmillan at the cape (S.A). The British premier lamented that “….there is an irreversible wind of change blowing across Africa….’’ This was during his tour that he ended up in South Africa at the Cape. Therefore such a statement inspired Africans to fight on till independence was achieved.

The presence of liberal governors in Africa especially after 1945 for example Turn Bull in Tanganyika, Cohen in Uganda, Richards and Burns in West Africa. Among others. These understood people’s problems and worked to improve on them. This enhanced round table talks, peaceful demonstration and the later changes prepared Africa for independence.




The colonial developments such as roads, railways, helped to ease movement of nationalists to spread their anti-nationalistic ideas. These include Tanzara railway, Uganda railway, Accra-Takoradi railway and a number of communication net works. Once the masses were enlightened nationalism surged.

The role of common wealth organization. These were former British colonies who organized themselves to criticize exploitative nature the colonialists and enhance economic development. They for example condemned apartheid in South Africa, and by 1961 they forced it quit the organization. This humiliated S. Africa by the 1990’s it was very clear the natives in S. Africa were to get majority rule. This aroused nationalism not only to South Africa but also spread to Namibia.

Japanese economic prosperity was yet another factor that influenced the growth of African nationalism. By 1860 Japan had industrialized, the per capita income was above the poverty line yet without being colonized. By the 20th century Japan was a power to be reckoned with, therefore Africans started reasoning that prosperity and civilization are not synonymous with European colonialism hence a reason they to take up arms to determine their own destiny.

In conclusion, colonialism has remained the mother of African misery, so the feeling for Africans to do away with both colonialism and Neo-Colonialism called for a concerted effort against the one armed bandit colonialism which is in itself African Nationalism.

NB: The factors must be presented in a chronological order

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