Colonialism in 10 Minutes: The Scramble For Africa

 

Title Colonialism in 10 Minutes: The Scramble For Africa
Director(s) Jesse   James Miller and Pete McCormack
Date released (year) 2006
Production company Mindset Media
Length 10mins
Location Uganda
Keywords/tags Colonialism, civil war, natural resources
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAJ7XmTFs4A
Synopsis An   excerpt from the film Uganda Rising showing in a brief overview the utter   decimation of Africa that took place via colonialism and the so-called   “Scramble For Africa.”

 

For   two decades, the Acholi people of Northern Uganda have been caught in a civil   war between a rebel group whose main objective is inhumane terror and a   government whose military response has often increased misery and suffering.   Over 1.5 million people have been displaced into camps and over 25,000   children have been abducted to be used as soldiers and sex slaves.

And   yet through it all, every day across Acholi-land something remarkable   happens. Against a backdrop of dismal statistics, miniscule opportunity and   unpredictable terror, in a part of Uganda forgotten by the world, children   who have never known peace, face the day as if to live this way is normal, as   if they still believe in the future. These children are the embodiment of   resilience and hope. This film is the story of Uganda, her stolen children,   and the fight to be free.
Source: http://www.mindsetfoundation.com/feel/uganda-rising/

Reviews/discussion Uganda Rising

                                                                      Uganda Rising is a   feature-length documentary solely produced by Mindset Foundation (formerly   Mindset Media Society). Shooting for the production began in 2004 and   completed in April 2006. Uganda Rising had its world premiere at the 2006 HotDocs   International Film Festival on May 14th in Toronto, Ontario,   Canada. The film has since been invited to participate in many prestigious   film festivals such as Hollywood International Film Festival, Vancouver   International Film Festival and the Paris International Human Rights   Film Festival. The film was the recipient of many Best Documentary   awards at festivals such as the Full Frame Documentary Film   Festival and Wt Os International

Source: http://www.mindsetfoundation.com/feel/uganda-rising/

 

The Colonization of Africa

Ehiedu E. G. Iweriebor – Hunter College

Between the 1870s and 1900,   Africa faced European imperialist aggression, diplomatic pressures, military   invasions, and eventual conquest and colonization. At the same time, African   societies put up various forms of resistance against the attempt to colonize   their countries and impose foreign domination. By the early twentieth   century, however, much of Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, had been   colonized by European powers.

The European imperialist   push into Africa was motivated by three main factors, economic, political,   and social. It developed in the nineteenth century following the collapse of   the profitability of the slave trade, its abolition and suppression, as well   as the expansion of the European capitalist Industrial Revolution. The   imperatives of capitalist industrialization—including the demand for assured   sources of raw materials, the search for guaranteed markets and profitable   investment outlets—spurred the European scramble and the partition and   eventual conquest of Africa. Thus the primary motivation for European   intrusion was economic.

 

Source: http://exhibitions.nypl.org/africanaage/essay-colonization-of-africa.html

Links to other resources World Bank Refuses to Stop   Funding African Land Grabs, October 8, 2012, African Globe. Source:   http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/world-bank-refuses-stop-funding-african-land-grabs

 

Thomas Pakenham (1992) The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s   Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912. See: http://www.amazon.com/Scramble-Africa-Conquest-Continent-1876-1912/dp/0380719991

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Welcome to Lagos

Title BBC’s Welcome to Lagos
Director(s) Solomon Sydelle
Date released (year) 2010
Production company BBC
Length 10.11mins
Location Lagos Nigeria
Keywords/tags Toxic waste, poverty, violence
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHKLIpz9F5c
Synopsis First 10 minutes of the   Part 1 of the documentary.

Three part observational   documentary series which explores life at the sharp end of one of the most   extreme urban environments in the world: Lagos, Nigeria

Reviews/discussion Economy: Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil   producer; more than half of its people live in poverty(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13949550)

 

From the program editor’s blog:

First   stop was the city’s main dump site, Olusosun. This definitely   isn’t on the tourist trail of Lagos, but then Lagos doesn’t have much of a   tourist industry at the moment. Some 5,000 people work on the dump, and we   were immediately struck by how organised and efficient everything was.

As well as all the   scavengers working behind the dump trucks, grabbing anything and everything   they could to re-sell to the re-processing factories, there were shops, bars,   restaurants, a mosque, a barbers, and even a cinema.

The longer we hung   out on the dump (it very soon became one of our favourite places to film,   because the people were all so friendly there) the more astonishing it   became. It turned out that the scavengers even had their own form of   democratically elected chairman, who sorted out any arguments or   disagreements.

The dump became   symbolic of everything we were trying to achieve in the films. It looks at   first sight like a rough, lawless, dangerous place, and most people in this   country will be horrified to see people working there.

But in actual fact,   through the eyes of the people who actually DO work there, it’s a   well-organised place where there’s good money to be earned. Decent, honest   people choose to work there, preferring a life of grime to a life of crime.   Some of them are university graduates.

They are proud of   the fact that they earn an honest living, and are making a better life for   themselves and their families through sheer determination and hard work.

We realised the   scavengers were people to be admired rather than pitied, and it changed our   whole perspective on the place. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, so why   should we feel sorry for them? We decided that the   films should celebrate their resourcefulness, and challenge our   audience’s views of what poverty is.

After the dump we   went to Makoko,   an extraordinary floating slum, where everyone travels round in boats. Some   people call it Lagos’s version of Venice.

There’s 100,000   people living on houses built on stilts, and after a week or so of drifting   around in boats, stopping at people’s houses and talking to them, we stumbled   across Mr Chubbey, who went on to become the star of programme   two.

He has 18 children   to look after, and is always on the look out for some scheme or another which   will help him make more money. He’s like a character from Only Fools And Horses, buying selling,   wheeling and dealing, doing dodgy deals and getting by on his charm and his   luck. All that’s missing is the camel skin coat.

The last film is set   on a beach right in the heart of the swankiest part of town. It sounds   idyllic – white sands, clear blue Atlantic waters, baking hot sunny days –   and in many ways it is.

But it is also home   to 1,000 or so squatters, who have built homes on the sand because they have   nowhere else to go. After a couple of trips, walking along the sands,   explaining what we were doing to the inquisitive children, we met Esther, a   sparky, intelligent, beautiful young woman who had been staying on the beach   for the last six years.

She lived with her   husband Segun in a little house which they had built themselves out of scrap   wood, cardboard and old tarpaulins. It probably cost them about £80.

But when Esther and   her husband started to have problems in their marriage, and it looked like   they were going to split up, they used to have terrible arguments about who   was going to get the house – every bit as vicious as they would be if they   were living in a mansion in Beverley Hills.

We realised then   that all our characters, wherever they lived, however extreme their working   environment, went through all of the same things which we do in the West –   love, heartbreak, marriages, births, deaths etc. It’s just that they live on   a different scale to us, in the slums of the fastest growing city in the   world, and with no money. This forces them to be more resourceful, energetic,   and optimistic than most people in the West.

And yes, they may be   terribly poor, but that doesn’t stop them being human and, if the films have   succeeded, then I hope they’ve succeeded in showing that.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHKLIpz9F5c

Links to other resources Watts,   M. (ed) (2008) Curse of the black gold: 50 years of   oil in the Niger Delta. New York: Powerhouse.

 

The Curse of Black Gold film

Ancient Khoisan (San) Tribe

 

Title Ancient Khoisan (San) Tribe
Director(s) Rehad Desai
Date released (year) 2012
Production company InternalizedConflict
Length 64mins
Location South Africa
Keywords/tags Land and people
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1NamQj-E9I
Synopsis Independent Documentary “Bushman’s Secret” By   Rehad Desai.

Rehad Desai travels to the Kalahari to investigate global interest in ancient   Bushmen knowledge, he meets Jan van der Westhuizen, a fascinating Khomani San   traditional healer. Jan’s struggle to live close to nature is hampered by   centuries of colonial exploitation of the San Bushmen and of their land.   Unable to survive as they once did hunting and gathering, the Khomani now   live in a state of poverty that threatens to see the last of this community   forever.

One plant could make all the difference. Hoodia, a cactus used by Bushmen for   centuries, has caught the attention of a giant pharmaceutical company. It now   stands to decide the fate of the Khomani San.

Bushman’s Secret features breathtaking footage of the Kalahari landscape, and   exposes us to a world where modernity collides with ancient ways, at a time   when each has, strangely, come to rely on the other.

Evicted from their ancestral lands, forced to abandon their native languages,   and left to fend for themselves in a state of brutal poverty on the fringes of   South African society, the Bushmen now face further exploitation, since the   hoodia cactus (a source of food and medicinal healing) is being taken from   their remaining lands by the conglomerate Unilever for use as a dubious   weight loss product (ironically, Unilever also claims to be the “world’s   largest ice cream manufacturer,” surely a contributing factor to   obesity). Despite an agreement signed with the South African government for   profits from the harvesting of hoodia, the Bushmen have yet to enjoy any financial   returns. Bushman’s Secret serves up a shameful indictment of contemporary   South African government, which would sooner kowtow to multinational   corporate demands than provide basic services for its own people. Highly   recommended.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1NamQj-E9I

Reviews/discussion Oppression of Khoikhoi

 

                                                                                                             

The hunger for land is a central   theme of southern African history from the 17th century onwards. It generated   conflict, sparked off wars and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Expansion

 

The first Europeans in southern   Africa confined themselves at first to the western part of the region,   centring their activities on the Cape of Good Hope. Here the Dutch East India   Company was established in 1652. Gradually the Dutch colony expanded north   and east, displacing, in the first instance, the oldest known inhabitants of   this region, the Khoikhoi (referred to by the Dutch as ‘hottentots’).

Tradition denied

 

The Khoikhoi were part of a larger   group called the Khoisan, spread across southern Africa, sharing much of the   same language. The San branch were hunter gatherers; the Khoikhoi were   herdsmen. As a whole, the Khoisan needed large amounts of land in order to   hunt and graze their cattle. The Dutch refused to recognise their traditional   grazing and hunting rights.

Defeat

 

Not wide enough for both of us

“They objected that there was     not enough grass for both their cattle and ours. ‘Are we not right     therefore to prevent you from getting any more cattle? For, if you get many     cattle, you come and occupy our pasture with them, and then say the land is     not wide enough for us both! Who then, with the greatest degree of justice     should give way, the natural owners, or the foreign invader?‘” – Jan van Riebeek     describing the Khoikhoi objections to the Dutch invasion of their pastures,     quoted by Kevin Shillington in History of Africa.

The Dutch both stole and bought   cattle off the Khoikhoi. In 1659, the Khoikhoi fought the Dutch over grazing   land south of able Bay and lost. Soon the Khoikhoi way of life disintegrated.

The Dutch, who came to be known as Afrikaners (as well as Boers, which means   farmers) started to expand their activities. They cultivated land and hunted   across large distances. Subsequently, they acquired the title of Trekboers,   when they embarked on long journeys or treks to get away from British   officialdom in the Cape Colony.

Subjugation

 

The Khoikhoi   often ended up as slaves, either working in the Cape Colony, or as farm   labourers for the Dutch. The final blow came to them in 1713 when they fell   victim to a small pox epidemic brought on a Dutch ship. The descendants of   the Khoikhoi and San can be found in the deserts of Botswana and Namibia   today.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/1624_story_of_africa/page23.shtml

Links to other resources http://khoisan.org

 

Nancy J. Jacobs (2003) Environment,   Power, and Injustice: A South African History, Cambridge university Press.

Africa: States of independence – the scramble for Africa

Title Africa: States of   independence – the scramble for Africa
Director(s)
Date released (year) 2010

 

Production company AlJazeeraEnglish
Length 45mins
Location Africa
Keywords/tags Africa
Link to film http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/2010/08/2010831112927318164.html
Synopsis Seventeen   African nations gained their independence in 1960, but the dreams of the   independence era were short-lived.

This film tells the story of some of those countries – stories of mass   exploitation, of the ecstasy of independence and of how – with liberation – a   new, covert scramble for resources was born.

Reviews/discussion Whether in bustling cities or remote   villages, the 1880s and 1890s were years of terrifying upheaval for Africans.   Fleet upon fleet of foreign soldiers armed with new weaponry – and a sense of   entitlement – descended, seemingly overnight.

In the space of just 20 years, 90 per cent of Africa was brought under   European occupation. Europe had captured a continent.

Europe was in the throes of the Industrial   Revolution. The advent of the machine was transforming the cities there into   the workshop of the world – a workshop in need of raw materials. It was the   dawn of industrial-scale production, modern capitalist economies and mass   international trade. And in this new industrial era the value of Africa   rocketed – not only for its materials and as a strategic trade route, but   also as a market for the goods Europe now produced in bulk.

But the scramble for Africa was not just about economics. Colonialism had   become the fast-track to political supremacy in Europe. Rival European powers   convened in the German capital and in February 1885 signed the Act of Berlin   – an agreement to abolish slavery and allow free trade. The act also drew new   borders on the map of Africa, awarding territory to each European power –   thus legalising the scramble for Africa.

But with the Second World War – which saw the peak of Europe’s dependency on   African troops – a powerful genie was released from a bottle – African   nationalism. The tipping point came on February 3, 1960, when Harold   Macmillan, the British prime minister, gave his ‘wind of change’ speech.   Within 10 months, Britain had surrendered two key African territories and   France 14. The rate of decolonisation when it arrived was breathtaking.

Seventeen African nations gained their independence in 1960, but the dreams   of the independence era were short-lived. Africa … states of   independence tells the story of some of those countries – stories of mass   exploitation, of the ecstasy of independence and of how – with liberation – a   new, covert scramble for resources was born.

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/2010/08/2010831112927318164.html

BRICS bloc’s rising ‘sub-imperialism’

Is this the latest threat   to Africa?

Patrick Bond

2012-11-29, Issue 608

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/85609

Like   Berlin in 1884-85, the BRICS Durban summit is expected to carve up Africa   more efficiently, unburdened – now as then – by what will be derided as   ‘Western’ concerns about democracy and human rights.

The heads of state of the   Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) network of governments are   coming to Durban, South Africa, in four months, meeting on March 26-27 at the   International Convention Centre (ICC), Africa’s largest venue. Given their   recent performance, it is reasonable to expect another “1%” summit, wreaking   socioeconomic and ecological havoc. And that means it is time for the first   BRICS countersummit, to critique top-down “sub-imperialist” bloc formation,   and to offer bottom-up alternatives.

After all, we have had some bad experiences at the Durban ICC.

In 2001, in spite of demands by 10,000 protesters, the United Nations World   Conference Against Racism refused to grapple with reparations for slavery and   colonialism or with apartheid-Israel’s racism against Palestinians (hence Tel   Aviv’s current ethnic cleansing of Gaza goes unpunished).

The African Union got off to a bad start here, with its 2002 launch, due to   reliance on the neoliberal New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad)   promoted by Pretoria.

The 2003 World Economic Forum’s African regional meeting hastened   governments’ supplication to multinational corporate interests in spite of   protests.

In 2011, Durban’s UN COP17 climate summit – better known as the ‘Conference   of Polluters’ – featured Washington’s sabotage, with no new emissions cuts   and an attempted revival of the non-solution called ‘carbon trading’, also   called ‘the privatisation of the air’.

(…)
LOOTING AFRICA

Like Berlin in 1884-85, the BRICS Durban summit is expected to carve up   Africa more efficiently, unburdened – now as then – by what will be derided   as “Western” concerns about democracy and human rights. Reading between the   lines, its resolutions will:

– support favoured corporations’ extraction and land-grab strategies;

– worsen Africa’s retail-driven deindustrialisation (South Africa’s Shoprite and   Makro – soon to be run by Walmart – are already notorious in many capital   cities for importing even simple products that could be supplied locally);

– revive failed projects such as Nepad; and

– confirm the financing of both land grabbing and the extension of   neocolonial infrastructure through a new ‘BRICS Development Bank’, likely to   be based just north of Johannesburg where the Development Bank of Southern   Africa already does so much damage following Washington’s script.

The question is whether in exchange for the Durban summit amplifying such   destructive tendencies, which appears certain, can those few of Africa’s   elites who may be invited leverage any greater influence in world economic   management via the BRICS? With South Africa’s finance minister Pravin   Gordhan’s regular critiques of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund   (IMF), there is certainly potential for BRICS to “talk left” about the   global-governance democracy deficit.

But watch the ‘walk right’ carefully. In the vote for World Bank president   earlier this year, for example, Pretoria’s choice was hard-core Washington   ideologue Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Nigerian finance minister who with IMF   managing director Christine Lagarde catalysed the Occupy movement’s near   revolution in January, with a removal of petrol subsidies. Brasilia chose the   moderate economist Jose Antonio Ocampo and Moscow backed Washington’s choice:   Jim Yong Kim.

This was a repeat of the prior year’s fiasco in the race for IMF managing   director, won by Lagarde in spite of ongoing corruption investigations   against her by French courts, because the Third World was divided and   conquered. BRICS appeared in both cases as incompetent, unable to even agree   on a sole candidate, much less win their case in Washington.

Yet in July, BRICS treasuries sent US$100 billion in new capital to the IMF,   which was seeking new systems of bail-out for banks exposed in Europe. South   Africa’s contribution was only $2 billion, a huge sum for Gordhan to muster   against local trade union opposition. Explaining the South African   contribution – initially he said it would be only one tenth as large –   Gordhan told Moneyweb last year that it was on condition that the IMF became   more “nasty” [sic] to desperate European borrowers, as if the Greek, Spanish,   Portuguese and Irish poor and working people were not suffering enough.

And the result of this BRICS intervention is that China gains IMF voting   power, but Africa actually loses a substantial fraction of its share. Even   Gordhan admitted at last month’s Tokyo meeting of the IMF and world Bank that   it is likely “the vast majority of emerging and developing countries will   lose quota shares – an outcome that will perpetuate the democratic deficit.”   And given “the crisis of legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness of the   IMF”, it “is simply untenable” that Africa only has two seats for its 45   member countries.

Likewise, South Africa’s role in Africa has been “nasty”, as confirmed when   Nepad was deemed “philosophically spot on” by lead US State Department Africa   official Walter Kansteiner in 2003, and foisted privatisation of even basic   services on the continent. In a telling incident this year, the Johannesburg   parastatal firm Rand Water was forced to leave Ghana after failing – with a   Dutch for-profit partner (Aqua Vitens) – to improve Accra’s water supply, as   also happened in Maputo, Mozambique, (Saur from Paris) and Dar es Salaam   (Biwater from London) in Tanzania.

As a matter of principle, BRICS appears hell bent on promoting the further   commodification of life, at a time when the greatest victory won by ordinary   Africans in the last decade is under attack: the winning of the Treatment   Action Campaign’s demand for affordable access to AIDS medicines, via India’s   cheap generic versions of drugs. A decade ago, they cost $10,000 per person   per year and only a tiny fraction of desperate people received the medicines.   Now, more than 1.5 million South Africans – and millions more in the rest of   Africa – get treatment, thus raising the South Africa’s average life   expectancy from 52 in 2004 to 60 today, according to reliable statistics   released this month.

However, in recent months, Obama has put an intense squeeze on India to cut   back on generic medicine R&D and production, as well as making deep cuts   in his own government’s aid commitment to fund African healthcare. In Durban,   the city that is home to the most HIV+ people in the world, Obama’s move   resulted in this year’s closure of AIDS public treatment centres at three   crucial sites. One was the city’s McCord Hospital, which ironically was a   long-standing ally of the NGO Partners in Health, whose cofounder was Obama’s   pick for World Bank president, Jim Kim.

Source: http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/85609  

Links to other resources Thomas Pakenham (1992) The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s   Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912. See: http://www.amazon.com/Scramble-Africa-Conquest-Continent-1876-1912/dp/0380719991  

 

World Bank Refuses to Stop   Funding African Land Grabs, October 8, 2012, African Globe.  Source: http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/world-bank-refuses-stop-funding-african-land-grabs

Horn of Africa Drought 2011 – Give me hope that ‘help’ is coming!

 


Title Horn of Africa   Drought 2011 – Give me hope that ‘help’ is coming!
Director(s) RGB Street Scholar
Date released 2011
Production company RGB Street Scholar
Length 4.10mins
Location Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia
Keywords/tags Food security, climate, food aid,   activism
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8YoCdMpMUU&feature=share&list=PLIAHio7X18uEHwLYz6zWwgoV96r3BLu1X
Synopsis This music video (featuring a remix   of the Tracy Chapman song ‘Let It Rain’) endeavours to highlight the urgent   need of our brothers and sisters in Horn of Africa, whose lives are   endangered by the worst drought in sixty years. More than 10 million people   (including those in the worst affected areas of Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, and   Ethiopia).

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8YoCdMpMUU

Reviews/discussion United Nations and international   aid agencies say the crisis is overwhelming their ability to provide   assistance to the millions of people who are suffering… and as the agencies   are overstretched and under-funded, they are appealing for more help from the   international community.
The U.N. Children’s Fund estimates more than two million young children from the Horn of Africa are malnourished, and in need of urgent life-saving actions. It says half a million of those children are facing imminent life-threatening conditions… and warns that many of the children may be left with long-lasting physical and mental problems.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams are fully stretched in various locations   inside Somalia, as well as assisting exhausted refugees crossing Somalia’s   borders into Ethiopia and Kenya.

According to World Vision… Risks of the outbreak of disease are growing,   and people’s access to food and water is in jeopardy. Children are among   those most vulnerable in the worst hit countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, and   Somalia.

Save the Children has advised that more than a quarter of children in the   worst-hit parts of Kenya are now dangerously malnourished… and in Somalia,   malnutrition rates have reached 30 percent in some areas, making the Horn of   Africa one of the hungriest places on earth.
Save the Children has already launched a major humanitarian response in   Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia… feeding tens of thousands of underweight   children; providing life-saving medical treatment; and getting clean water to   remote communities. But with the situation worsening by the day – and no more   rain due till late September – Save the Children urgently needs money to   dramatically ramp up its response.

According to Matt Croucher, Save the Children’s regional emergency manager   for East Africa… “Thousands of children could starve if we don’t get   life-saving help to them fast”… “Parents no longer have any way   to feed their children; they’ve lost their animals; their wells have dried   up; and food is too expensive to afford”… “We can stop this   tragedy unfolding, but we only have half the money we need. We urgently need   to raise the rest so we can save more children’s lives.”

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8YoCdMpMUU

Links to other resources World Food   Programme
https://www.wfp.org/

Save the Children: https://secure.savethechildren.org/

Médecins Sans Frontières: http://www.msf.org/

CARE International: https://my.care.org

World Vision: http://donate.worldvision.org

Unicef: http://www.supportunicef.org

Plan International: http://plan-international.org

Oxfam International: http://www.oxfam.org/

Oxfam published a briefing on   climate change and drought in east Africa

The Guardian Poverty Matters Blog: Posted by Duncan Green , Monday 8 August 2011   07.00 BST guardian.co.uk