II. Africa‎ > ‎6. African History‎ > ‎

A. Conflict and Change in Africa

    When the Europeans colonized Africa they ignored ethnic and religious boundaries.  Some countries had many ethnic and religious groups clumped together in one country, which created artificial borders.  Conflict grew with many groups living together in many African countries.  Soon countries started fighting in civil wars that still continue on today.

    Ethnic conflict got worse when the Europeans  would favor one ethnic group over another.  This occurred in Sudan when the Europeans gave the Arabs in north Sudan education and economic wealth but did little for southern Sudan.  Conflict grew between the Arab north Sudan and black African south Sudan. This led to a civil war that involved genocide.  


    Above is a map of the different regions of Sudan.  The Sudanese were separated and pitted against each other in bloody conflict due to the artificial boundaries set by the Europeans.  The conflict extended into the Darfur region where the government-supported Janjaweed has committed genocide.  Recently, it was decided to split South Sudan into a separate country.

The above two videos are about the Darfur genocide.

    Nationalism is the belief that an ethnic group has a right to statehood. Nationalism has led to independence  in many countries. The three I will be talking about are Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. Nigeria was colonized by Great Britain but they weren’t treated fairly, so Nigeria decided that to gain independence they would fight a political battle. In the long run they gained independence. Kenya was a different story. Kenya was also colonized by Britain, but they gained independence by force. Kenya still gained independence but because of the conflict then it has lead to conflict now. South Africa is unique because they gained independence before anyone else. Although they gained independence early not all people were free. There was a huge segregation called apartheid against black people. They eventually became free when the president named F.W. De Clerk released the apartheid.  

    Africans began calling to form a single unified political identity or voice, and to work together.  Instead of being separate groups (Kenyans, Nigerians, Congolese, etc.) they could all speak on voice.  Black people everywhere were included.  Even outside of Africa.  This was called the Pan-African movement.  At first the goal was to fight European colonialism, but as they became more independent it was focused more on improving life for all of the Africans.

    The Pan-African movement led to the creation of the A.U.  The A.U. or African Union was and still is a cooperative organization of African countries similar to the U.N.  The A.U. is helping economic growth.  Also ending poverty, improving education, and getting better rights for women are all things they do.  They even try to end wars.


Quick Summary:
  • European partitioning across Africa led to conflict because artificial borders put rival groups together
  • The Pan-African movement helped to abolish European colonization and improve the lives of Africans.
  • Nationalism led to uprising, which then led to independence.