In Africa, we are dealing with ‘anti-colonial nationalism’, a nationalism that was predominantly expressed within the confines of the colonial state, whose boundaries rarely coincided with those of traditional polities.1 As compared with European nationalism, there were no strong historical and social identities upon which African nationalists could build; ethnically homogeneous Somalia was a partial exception, but was itself divided into a number of competing clans. This is not to suggest, however, that Africa was a tabula rasa when colonial rule was imposed: as we saw in Chapter 2, many different forms of political organisation existed in pre-colonial Africa, ranging from centralised kingdoms to stateless societies; there was also a rich variety of cultural forms, though no shared culture such as would have been provided by a system of universal primary education.2 The problem facing anti-colonial nationalists was that popular loyalties tended to gravitate towards a traditional unit which in the great majority of cases lay within, rather than being coterminous with, the colonial state boundaries (the Buganda kingdom within the Uganda protectorate affords a good example of this phenomenon). One of the nationalists’ most important achievements during the independence struggle was to render loyalty to a sub-national unit secondary to loyalty to the country-wide unit — in other words, to submerge sub-nationalism within a wider nationalism.
KeywordsIncome Egypt Lamine Tempo Nigeria
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