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10-08-2015, 22:50


At the end of World War II, Africa had already been exposed to over half a century of colonial rule. Although many Europeans complacently assumed that colonialism was a necessary evil in the process of introducing civilization to the backward peoples of Africa and Asia, to some African intellectuals, the Western drive for economic profit and political hegemony was a plague that threatened ultimately to destroy civilization. It was the obligation of Africans to use their own humanistic and spiritual qualities to help save the human race. The Ghanaian official Michael Francis Dei-Anang agreed. In Whither Bound Africa, written in 1946, he scathingly unmasked the pretensions of Western superiority: Forward! To what? The Slums, where man is dumped upon man, Where penury And misery Have made their hapless homes, And all is dark and drear? Forward! To what? The factory To grind hard hours In an inhuman mill, In one long ceaseless spell? Forward! To what? To the reeking round Of medieval crimes, Where the greedy hawks of Aryan stock Prey with bombs and guns On men of lesser breed? Forward to CIVILIZATION.1 To Africans like Dei-Anang, the new Africa that emerged from imperialist rule had a duty to seek new ways of resolving the problems of humanity. In the three decades following the end of World War II, the peoples of Africa were gradually liberated from the formal trappings of European colonialism. The creation of independent states in Africa began in the late 1950s and proceeded gradually until the last colonial regimes were finally dismantled. But the transition to independence has not been an unalloyed success. The legacy of colonialism in the form of political inexperience and continued European economic domination has combined with overpopulation and climatic disasters to frustrate the new states’ ability to achieve political stability and economic prosperity. At the same time, arbitrary boundaries imposed by the colonial powers and ethnic and religious divisions within the African countries have led to bitter conflicts, which have posed a severe obstacle to the dream of continental solidarity and cooperation in forging a common destiny. Today, the continent of Africa, although blessed with enormous potential, is one of the most volatile and conflict-ridden areas of the world. Michael Dei-Anang’s dream of a unique African road has not yet been realized. •