Modernity Essay

901 words - 4 pages

Integrative View of Africa’s Chaos
Basil Davidson’s The Black Man’s Burden: Africa and the Curse of the Nation-State denies the assertion that Africa is doomed to endless political and economic turmoil as a consequence of an inherit defect. It proposes instead, that the indigenous political systems, with checks and balances on power, existed long before European came to Africa. Davidson argues that contemporary Africans can draw on their own experience to develop a successful political system appropriate to Africa. Davidson blames many of the political chaos on the rate of change and the separation of political structures from the lives and needs of the population. He identifies the ...view middle of the document...

" (Davidson, 72) Africans were denied the opportunities to reorganize their societies in a way consistent with their own history. Little consideration was given to an independent, modern Africa although the foundation was already there. Thus both the recaptives, and the traditionalists became mutually responsible for the grim fate of Africa.
Davidson argues that Pre-colonial Africa had nation with experience in successful self-governance. This vital experience was disregarded when power was given to constitutional experts with a European model. Many African societies had developed into participatory polities with a healthy suspicion of executive power. The colonial attitude dismissed ethnic diversity as "tribalism." Ethnic groups were grouped together into tribes for administrative convenience (Davidson, 100). These groupings became the apparatus to strengthen the group’s political voice in postcolonial political systems but because differences were ignored during the social struggle against colonialism, they emerged within the structure of the nation-state. Unwittingly they continued to serve the commercial interests of their colonial masters. Similar to Italy and Germany, a strive for independence united working and middle classes until the middle class gained power and then social objectives were quickly abandoned. A similar history took place in Africa but worse.
Davidson argues that the nation-state has contributed to the crippled state of Africa with the continuing extraction of wealth that did not cease with the transfer of power. The new nations were hampered with bureaucracy, trained in their colonial master’s authoritarian practices, artificial borders, interest groups arose out of those boundaries, insignificant bourgeois nationalism rooted in unfamiliar capitalism, competition for resources that reinforced tribalism. Elitist enmity and competition rather than social goals motivated the...

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