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Colonization and Independence in Africa
First edition. January 2014.
In the late nineteenth century, Europe's great powers claimed the African continent for themselves. In the guise of a humanitarian mission, European leaders and businesses exploited African natural resources and people to fuel European economic growth. Africans did not submit to outside control willingly. In fact, African resistance continued throughout the colonial period, culminating in the independence movements of the mid-twentieth century.
Africa is a vast continent—more than three times the size of the United States—with more than 50 countries and thousands of ethnic groups and societies. African experiences of colonialism were diverse. Nevertheless, there are common themes within the continent's colonial history and its legacies. Colonization and Independence in Africa explores these themes generally, as well as specifically through four country case studies: Ghana, Algeria, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The readings and activities help students consider the perspectives of Africans and the ways in which they responded to European colonialism.
Colonization and Independence in Africa helps students explore Africa in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and consider the changes colonialism imposed on African governments, economies, and societies. Students then consider African resistance to colonialism and examine the experiences of Africans in four case studies. Finally, students see how African countries won their independence in the mid–twentieth century and consider the effects of colonialism and African independence for the continent and the world.
The Choices Role Play
A central activity helps students consider the divergent views of colonizers and Africans in four separate case studies. Each case study focuses on a different aspect of colonial rule and Africans' responses. Through this activity, students gain a deeper understanding of the conflicting values and assumptions of groups in each case.
Political Geography of Africa
In this lesson, students compare territories and governance on the African continent from the late-nineteenth century to today.
Source Analysis: Different Perspectives on a Violent Encounter
Students analyze primary sources that present different perspectives on the same event on the Congo River and then assess the value of first-hand accounts to historical understanding of nineteenth-century Africa.
Photo Analysis: Look Again
Students conduct a two-stage analysis of a missionary postcard and consider the reliability of photographic sources.
Kikuyu Fable: A Tale of Resistance
Students analyze a Kikuyu fable describing colonialism in Kenya and then collaborate to create a dramatic or artistic interpretation of the story.
Presenting the Case Studies
Working cooperatively, students clarify and evaluate alternative perspectives in four case studies of African colonization and independence.
The All-African People's Conference, Accra, Ghana, 1958
Students use primary and secondary sources to consider the historical events surrounding the 1958 All-African People's Conference. They then synthesize and present data about the independence of African states.
Assessment Using Documents
Students use primary and secondary sources to assess the impact of colonial education policies on Africans. Students consider the values and limitations of sources while taking into account the origin and purpose of each document.