On another forum where I put this thread, an American Pilot responded as follows:-
Jan - EXCELLENT!!
In 1950, I was a Cadet aboard the MV Del Rio out of new Orleans. we sailed the West African coast from Dakar to Walvis bay. The only place that was NOT colonized was Liberia, and by just a small coincidence, the people of Liberia, The Negro Republic, were the worst off of anyone.
Liberia is, and was then a terrible place. The only whites were Firestone employees, and they were isolated (segregated) in The Firestone Compound, which was the only decent spot in the whole country.
The harbor pilot was also white, a Dutchman, who the locals needed to get ships in and out of Monrovia, even thought it was not a difficult thing to navigate.
On the rest of the coast blacks enjoyed a higher standard of living than they do today, under European rule.
Like Jan said, it’s the PEOPLE.
My next trip back to Africa was as an airline pilot. We were flying relief to the victims of the latest “civil war”, i.e., tribal war in what was The Belgian Congo. As a Cadet (USMMA, 1953) I saw Ango Ango, Matadi, and Leopoldville. The latter two were very nice cities. When I returned after the departure of the Belgians, it was chaos. Dead animals and people in the streets, no electricity, no hospitals, NO NOTHING.
In all my considerable world travels, Africa was the only place in the world that I actually saw a fly land on a man’s open eye, and stay there. He didn’t even blink.