Maybe post colonial African countries should not have handed over power so quickly.

Is there any merit in the argument that countries such as South Africa and Rhodesia should have tried to integrate the indigenous population into the government in phases rather than handing over power immediately.
Take SA for example. I strongly suspect that if Apartheid never started, South Africa would be a much better place right now, who knows, maybe even considered a first world country. If the general population had equal access to education and a democratic vote from early on, by now perhaps they would be able to make a more informed choice in who to vote for. Instead most people decide who to vote for almost entirely by race, which clearly has its draw backs. South Africa is certainly not doing as badly as other African nations but it is clear that resources are not managed effectively and corruption is rife. I don’t think I even need to mention the situation in Zimbabwe.
If these countries, rather than give over complete control after a general election, allowed other races to participate at low levels of government at first and equalized access to education and other services, would the transition have resulted in a more prepared, representative government?
btw, I don’t mean to sound racist, I am just trying to view things from a sociological perspective.

The thing is that there is a contrast,

I remember reading a quote from I think Ernest Bevin who said about independence for African colonies was akin to allowing a ten year old to have the keys to the bank and a shotgun at the same time, compared to Gandhis assertion that whilst they may have problems when independent, it will be their problems to solve, and not ours as it’s not our country.

The reason why they’ve developed so badly for the last 60 odd years is because the Cold war was fought in their back yard, and so magnified every regional conflict, apartheid would of collapsed alot sooner if we didn’t consider it a valued Cold war ally.

Of course it would have. The problem isn’t about race, mental capacity or any other biological issue. It is about handing over governmental control and weapons to a bunch of people who have little education and come from a cultural background of tribal alliances and feuding. We then expect those people to become first-world standard diplomats and officials overnight and build, operate, and maintain an infrastructure they have no cultural history of simply because they own the land now. They cannot and will not go back to pre-colonial standards, nor can they generate those standards themselves due to the aforementioned issues. So you get left with what we have.

If SA and Rhodesia had not allowed Africans to participate in the government or vote, but had allowed them full civil rights and equality under the law, then it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal. It’s not like Africans get to vote or have civil rights anywhere else. But the fact is, they didn’t. They oppressed the African majorities.

The rule of thumb in African politics seems to be that the bad outcomes are pretty much the fault of external meddling and that when external meddling is withdrawn, bad outcomes are the fault of past external meddling.

We tend to measure all success using parameters of western culture and this does not seem to be a very good approach. In terms of those parameters, Africa was not very successful to begin with, and surely (among other things) the layering of western paradigms such as political boundaries upon an entire continent that had a completely different structure is, by itself, destructive.

There were cases where colonial powers packed up and ceased governing countries that literally had only a handful of people with a college education. That opens the place up for exploitation of their resources and is fertile ground for arms dealers who, by their nature, have no moral compass.

Think of a huge estate that is turned over to an 11 year old (or Nicholas Cage and his money, same difference). The vultures circle and you have a bunch of crooked money managers and unscrupulous salesmen spending their days trying to figure out how to get at that money. The sycophants make them feel invulnerable and you have a disaster on your hands.

In the case of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, you throw an endless supply of armaments into the mix and you end up with 4 million people dead (not that anybody cared, based on the lack of concern expressed by the rest of the world).

If the transition to native rule had been more gradual and successful, then that would mean that the colonial powers had managed their colonies better, while they were still the colonial powers. That the newly independent states did not have the capacity to manage their own affairs after the colonial powers left, means that the previous colonial powers did not exercise their power to benefit the natives following independence.

So, the Africans are right - it is the fault of past colonial mismanagement. Saying that the colonial powers should have stayed on longer and maybe they might have done a better job is a tad disingenuous.

The problem actually came back from WWII. Britian, France, Belgium and Italy were shown to be declining nations.

Subjegated people suddenly woke up and said “Hey these are losers and they’re ruling US???”

Also the FDR was a big supporter of Britian but not of Churchill, well at least not of most of his policies. Churchill saw a post WWII world where Britian went back to being, well Britian. The USA was heavily pressuring Great Britian to decolonize. The USA before the war had promised independence to the Philippines by 1946

Great Britian saw the face of the future and figured “OK I’d rather lose the colony and keep the trade.” France and others tried for a bit to hold their colonies but it was quickly evident this was a joke. There was no way the could do this. Then came the Soviets who made it clear they could be willing to help the colonies in their independence movements.

It boils down to, yes to decolonize slowly would be better. Belgium actually had a plan for the Belgian Congo to be independent by the late 80s. By the mid 70s they were only suppose to start election their own leaders with Belgian approval.

All over the world colonies were fed up. The said “We want it and we want it NOW.” And there was no choice in most cases, except to leave.

The real problem with Africa’s independence movements was simply this, there were not TRULY outstanding leaders who weren’t out to make a buck for themselves.

There wasn’t a Simon Boliver or Jose Martin in the bunch. All the leaders saw independence as simply an opportunity to line their own pockets. African nations could’ve developed well had they had leaders who actually CARED about making their countries work. No these leaders only cared about stuffing their pockets full of money. Or in some cases like Bokassa, constructing monuments to their own egos.

Africans also are very conflicted about managing the ways of the past with the future. The few African leaders they have are constantly turning to the past trying to relive glory that can’t be. Africans in Swaziland and Lesotho and such, want to keep the old traditions but they also want radio, TV, Internet and you can’t do both. You can live off the land, in a hut and be happy with your simple existance, but most people aren’t going to be happy doing that.

African nations are not unique to this. Look at life on reservations for American Indians and of the Inuits of Canada. The conditons are bad, because there are conflicts and no one has really come up with a way to integrate the past and the present. And they won’t 'cause you can’t

Once you bring TV, radio, the Internet into your simple existance, everything changes forever. It’s the “How you gonna keep them down on the farm, after they’ve been to Paris”? syndrome.

Africa needs leaders who care about their countries and not just lining thier pockets or making themselves an Emperor

Of course this problem is shown on a miniature scale in all countries that had a policy of “land reform” (ie taking land away from the whites, sometimes legally and sometimes forcibly, and giving it to politically powerful black groups.) In Zimbabwe, where white farmers were the target of state-backed thuggery, the utter failure of the new tenants was in large part responsible for the later economic collapse. South Africa, which pursues a more moderate strategy, has milder problemsalong the same line.

It’s Britain, dude. :smiley:

Certainly the US desired that the Empire was dismantled, but that was always going to happen soonish anyway. Churchill was an inspirational war leader, but he was voted out of office while the war was still going on - his strain of Victorian imperialism was not what was needed or wanted by the bulk of the population, imo. WWII really hastened the process though due to Britain being completely skint at the end of the war. Even then the process took several decades, with the last of the countries who wished for independence being I think British Honduras/Belize in the early eighties. (Hong Kong is probably a special case here).

How well was it managed? Well, it was largely peaceful I guess. How successful was it? Too early to tell - some places are doing better than others. One thing though, it sure showed the folly of arbitrarily drawing lines on maps to delineate countries.

In many cases these leaders were supported by the former colonial powers who wanted to maintain access to resources and keep them on their side of the Cold War. For example, Bakossa’s insane “coronation” was heavily subsidized by France, to the point that they sent over French Navy personnel to supervise the orchestra. America stuffed Lumumba in a car trunk. And Felix-Roland Moumie, of Cameroon, was assassinated by the French secret service- a fact that they outright admit. And these are just a few of the more obvious examples.

Here is an interesting article about France’s current relationship with it’s colonies. Even today they play a role in allowing some of the continent’s worst leaders to remain in power. We do it, too. And now China is getting in on the action.

It’s not all the West’s fault, but it’s a mistake to say they did anything like “pulling out completely” and much of the meddling they did (and do) has, like most of our Cold War “nation building” ended up with some pretty bad consequences.

Here is a good list of assassinated anti-colonial leaders. Would Bakossa have come about if Barthelemy Boganda’s plane hadn’t exploded right before he was about to become president? Would Chad be such a mess if Outel Bono hadn’t been disposed of with two shots as he stepped into his car in Paris? If there are so many blatant assassinations, what other less noticeable shady stuff went on?

We’ll never know what could have happened, but we do know what did happen, and usually that turned out pretty poorly. Here is an interesting article about the concept of “Francafrique”, or the continued ties between France and the autocratic rulers of their former colonies.

No, there is no merit.

I think if we’d never had Apartheid, we’d be about the same as India, China or Brazil - not First World, which is pretty much a closed club, but definitely better off. But we’re not badly off right now, as it is.

This is bullshit. If it were that simple, the PAC would be running the country. None more black than them, remember “One Settler, One Bullet”? People vote along old party affiliations, not race lines. At least, Blacks do. It’s only been 15 years since liberation, after all. I’m not surprised most people still stick with their pre-apartheid liberation heroes.
It’s the Coloureds and Whites who vote along race lines - usually for “not Black, anything but Black”.

Both the resource management and corruption are no worse than under apartheid. And I don’t think SA corruption has a patch on that in the US and UK. We have yet to have an election outright stolen by loading the State Government and Supreme Court, for instance. Nor has our government started any wars that co-incidently make astronomical profits for comapnies our VP is intimately tied to. Skimming a little off an arms deal is chicken-feed compared to that kind of manouvering.

Fuck that noise. People are either free to vote for whoever they want to, or you don’t have a democracy.
And it was tried in South Africa with the Tri-cameral parliament of the 80s.

There’s no socialogical perspective to freedom. You’re either free or you’re not. And I’m afraid yopu are coming across as racist when you effectively say “Maybe the Blacks should have been content with a trickle-down of equality”. Maybe Whites should just shut the fuck up and realise that South Africa is an infinitely better place to live in now than it was 20 years ago, by any measure.

Yeah, Africans are just so tribal, man. How primitive. You’ll never catch European nations split around sectarian lines…

And god knows, Nelson Mandela never had no education. It’s almost like the core of the African National Congress didn’t get together at Wits Law Faculty or something.

I wish people who choose to mouth off about Africa would actually educate themselves before they spoke.

This is a total contradiction in terms. Without the vote, there are no civil rights or equality, nor is there hope of the same.

cough Nelson Mandela cough Desmond Tutu cough Steve Biko cough Ruth First…
sorry, I must have something stuck in my throat. Tastes like bile.

Yes, in some ways, South Africa was lucky that MAndela etc. were imprisoned by the Apartheid regime, and so were around to manage the transition to democracy. Doubly lucky that a man who was imprisoned for 27 years didn’t hold a grudge.

South Africa is, I’m sure you’ll acknowledge, a Special Case. I suspect most people over about 30 or so still think of SA as a “White” country, not a “Black” one, and I’d wager most people can’t name the current Prime Minister of South Africa without resorting to a Google search. But there have been any number of important and respected Black South African leaders as you rightly observe.

But the rest of Africa hasn’t been as lucky, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to argue that [del]Rhodesia[/del] Zimbabwe, Angola, the [del]Belgian[/del] Democratic Republic of The Congo, and Mozambique were better places before Independence.

A brief glance through world history suggests to me that power belongs to the more capable. Sometimes that superior capability is a matter of circumstance; sometimes superior technology; sometimes superior brute force–but in general we humans have a history of defeating and subjugating the less capable whenever we can. It’s really only in modern times that whole political systems have decided there may be a larger value in playing nicer.

The conquered and the colonized get the crumbs. This occurs at geopolitical levels, intra-country levels and pretty much filters down to the tribal and family levels.

But it’s not as if colonized and conquered people are themselves free of the human tendency toward greed, power and control. Pre-colonized Africa was not Shangri-La with everyone living in altruistic harmony. Remove the conquerors and colonizers and the faces in the mix might change, but not the fundamental behaviour of who we are as humans.

Any large-scale transition of power has attendant chaos and most of that chaos comes from the fact that the parties left in control have exactly similar motivations to the ones who used to be in control. The previous status quo was not badly-behaved people controling good people; it was badly-behaved people controlling badly-behaved people (or whatever adjective you wish to substitute). And therefore removal of the old regime does not mean “problem solved.”

I think The Who got it better than Nyerere. Ujamaa my a$$. Meet the new boss…same as the old boss: Human Nature.