What colonialization did to Afrika


Colonization adversely affected Afrikan development in all aspects of life. The ensuing discussion will be broad and will highlight the adverse effects of colonization on Afrikan development in social, political, cultural and economic spheres of life.

1. Underdevelopment in social services

Firstly, colonization led to social underdevelopment of Afrika in terms of the social services. In fact, for the ‘first three decades of colonialism hardly anything was done that could remotely be termed a service for the Afrikan people.’ It is only due to selfish reasons that he European colonizers came to provide health services for the ‘natives’. They realized that more blood and sweat could be squeezed out of a relatively health Afrikan than an unhealthy and malnourished Afrikan. As far as education is concerned, Afrika had developed an education system that reflected the needs and aspirations of a given society. This education entailed informal education where the young learnt values and behaviour from adults, as well as formal education where the youth would be trained medicine, carpentry, iron smelting, professional trading etc. The advent of colonization did not introduce education to Afrika. Rather it introduced a different set of formal education systems which encouraged the development of principles, values, and schools and methods of thought that partly replaced both the Afrikan formal and informal education systems. The western-type schools aimed at removing Afrikans from their culture and assimilating them to European culture thereby alienating the Afrikan. The speaking of Afrikan languages was prohibited in these schools The vast majority of Afrikans did not even have access to this ridiculous education system. They sadly, could not however, benefit as much from both the formal and informal Afrikan education systems as most of the adults were now engaged in various activities for the Europeans. What this led to was chronic underdevelopment in the sphere of education. On the one hand Afrikans were being denied access to western education and on the other hand, the indigenous system of education was being undermined due to the imposition of colonial rule and the inhuman conditions that went with it.

2. Political underdevelopment

The entire purpose of colonization for the Europeans was to politically dominate other nations. The aim was to take away the independence of the colony and make it an extension of the mother nation. This meant the destruction of Afrikan political institutions. Leaders who opposed the invading forces were dethroned and often killed, for examples King Lobengula of the Ndebele who was removed in July 1893. Once an area had been ‘pacified’ a term used by colonialists to refer to the destruction of local freedom and sovereignty, the colonial power established an administrative system. The colonizers use numerous methods to ensure the political subjugation of Afrika. (Check out the Pulitzer-winning prize book titled BRITAIN’S GULAG: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya by Caroline Elkins). Some used existing traditional leaders to administer their areas. These Afrikan leaders were always answerable to a white superior. Therefore, their previous political power and respect no longer existed. Colonization effectively prevented Afrika from flourishing politically. It also dramatically altered the path of Afrikan political development in that it caused Afrikans to fully embrace western political styles once independence was gained.

3. Cultural underdevelopment The cultural degradation that colonization ushered in truly compromised Afrikan development as a whole. The colonial set up did a fine job in convincing Afrikans that the values and principles that had guided Afrika for centuries were wrong. Colonization caused Afrikans to question and, sadly, often dismiss the Afrikan thought that had created the Afrikan way of life.

This dismissal dealt a very serious blow to the confidence of Afrikan people, to the point where Afrikans feel they must have the approval of a white man in order to ‘know’ that what they are doing is good. This is a very dangerous mind-set for Afrikans to have considering the fact that history PROVES that European powers do not have Afrikan well being at heart Colonization led to the demonization of Afrikan cultural expressions of spirituality, Afrikan dance, song and instrumentation, especially the drum. Afrikans were taught to worship a white God and hate the black Satan. The alienation of Afrikans from the religio-spiritual expression they were familiar with deeply affected the Afrikan. Colonization also led to the imposition of western languages into Afrikan culture. The use of western languages in Afrika led to the entrenchment of European systems of thought and the neglect of the study of Afrikan languages. Many Afrikans began to believe that western languages and culture was superior to theirs. This led to the wholehearted acceptance of western cultural practices both those that undermined Afrikan culture as well as those that were destructive to the well being of Afrika as a whole.

4. Economic Underdevelopment Colonization ushered in devastating economic underdevelopment, the effects of which are still haunting Afrika to this day.


When the colonial powers entered a nation they established ownership over the most fertile and productive areas of the nation. In Kenya, the Europeans settled in the fertile highlands where they bought land for as little as a penny an acre and in doing so were able to acquire vats tracts of land. This acquisition of land by the Europeans led to the displacement of the Afrikan population and an end to the economic activities Afrikans had engaged in, on their land, for centuries.


The introduction of taxes forced Afrikans to abandon their previous modes of production in order to seek employment. The wages Afrikans earned from these jobs was intentionally very low. These low wages ensured constant Afrikan labour for the European powers.


The introduction of monoculture agricultural styles led to the development of cash crop economies. Colonialism pushed certain colonies into an over dependence of the export of one or two crops. The profits made for the export of these crops were expatriated to the western metropoles therefore although the cultivation of the crops was growing, the colony did not benefit from this growth. Moreover, the prices of the crops were determined by Europeans who did what they could to buy the crops as cheaply as possible.

Prevention of industrialization

The colonialists specifically discouraged Afrikan industrialization. Europe was (is) determined for Afrika to remain a source of raw materials so as to stimulate European industrial growth. This utilitarian policy led to the effective suppression of any Afrikan industrialization thereby giving a tainted view of the industrial and technical potential of Europe and Afrika.

Denial of access to capital The colonialists further sabotaged Afrikan economic development through their policy of denying Afrikans access to capital. Thus, Afrikans had no capital with which to build their own businesses, farms and industry. This effective prevention of the accumulation of capital by Afrikans forced them into a state of pauperism. Afrikans were the exploited working class and the Europeans were the capitalists. It is therefore with irritation that one listens to the sniggering laughs of and snide comments concerning Afrikan economic underdevelopment.



(Muzungu arudi Unigereza, MuAfrika Apate Uhuru)


~ by Afrikan Eye on March 8, 2007.

6 Responses to “What colonialization did to Afrika”

  1. yes

  2. Invigorating site. I am tired of shuving the facts down my students throughts and was wondering if I could use this work in my class?

  3. The memories still remain but it is time for africa to wake up.

  4. I totally agree…and we must use our past to inform our present but have to resist the idea that our past can control us…but it will if we don’t know it…and we’ll get a distorted view of who we are if we don’t acknowledge the past. But those of us who HAVE made time to study our past and learn the lessons…its mos def time to step up and provide solutions…cause if we don’t some incompetent idiot will.

  5. brilliant text.
    share the same idea with Fanon about anti-colonization

  6. If Europe had left Afrika alone there would still be tribal rule, little or no industrial development, little or no advanced education opportunities, and the nation in general would have fallen to some other nation bent on raping it or occupying it. Afrika was and would have remained ripe for takeover due to the lack of education and development it would have realized due to the ignorance of its masses. It could not and would not have risen to any significant stature among the other nations of the modern world. Afrika owes a great deal of gratitude for those nations willing to colomialize there and create something from nothing.

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