Another Africa                                                                                                                                          art. music. film. literature.

CHANGE

African countries have gone through many changes during their brief existence as independent nations. As contemporary Africans define for themselves their individual and national identities, the memory of colonialism is always present.

 

When power passed from European colonial masters to local African governments, it often had a corrupting influence on those who rose to the top. During the postcolonial period in many African countries, conflict followed corruption.

Boy on Globe. Yinka Shonibare

WAR AND LOSS

When the colonial British created the country of Nigeria, they attempted to bring together many diverse tribes who had no shared history. Following independence in 1960, tension between ethnic groups boiled over. In the north, Hausa Muslims attacked Igbo communities, causing them to flee to the eastern part of the country where the majority of Igbos lived.  After attempts to negotiate with the ruling government failed, Biafra declared independence, starting a civil war that lasted nearly three years.

 

The novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria and has written about the Biafran War in her novels.

Photo: Nigerian Nostalgia Project

CORRUPT LINEAGE

The 1975 film Xala, directed by Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene is a satiric look at the corruption of many postcolonial African governments. The film reveals the corrupting influence of European colonial masters on the governments of new African states.

 

 

NEW COLONIALISM?

As contemporary Africans define for themselves their individual and national identities, the memory of colonialism is always present.

 

A new form of colonialism is playing out across Africa, as corrupt regimes and powerful outsiders put their own greed before the needs of African people. The legacy of colonialism can be found in the Niger River delta of Nigeria where multinational corporations fight with local militias for control of the oil resources of the area. Nigerian artist Sokari Douglas Camp addresses this struggle in her work.

Coca Cola Ladies. Sokari Douglas Camp. 2004.

VOICE of the PEOPLE

In Nigeria, corrupt regimes and ethnic conflict led to civil war. The musician Fela Kuti became a powerful voice for the people of Nigeria, Africa, and others struggling for human rights worlwide. Many of his songs are attacks on political corruption and European cultural imperialism.

Fela Kuti. Frans Schellekens/Getty Images