Africa in modern world

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Africain modern world

TheBritish and French colonial authority was administered using twodistinct methods- indirect rule and assimilation. The natives would,in turn, have the right to vote and also participate in the electionof the Deputy who would represent them in Paris. The purpose forassimilation in the Four Communes was to convert the natives intoFrench men through education achieved using language and culture andhence become equals. This particular paper seeks to discuss whetherassimilation was a reality and whether indirect rule did more tostrengthen or undermine the pre-colonial authority structure inAfrica. The measure of whether assimilation was a reality can bearticulated by the Four Communes in Senegal.

Theindirect rule, an ideology of colonization in which the Britishgovernment used so as to govern its subject through the use oftraditional rules and traditional political institutions. The cultureand traditions were maintained with the aim of making the Britishauthorities acceptable and welcome by the native. The BritishIndirect Rule used the indigenous system alongside the colonialsystem though it did undermine the pre-colonial system. Theperspective because colonialists rearranged the tribal landscape andmade the chiefs colonial administrators who are still used by thepost- colonial governments.

TheFrench and the British approached the administration of theircolonies under different approaches. The argument advanced by theBritish colonial government was that they were doing their subjects afavor and considered them inferior. They argued that theinstitutional package they brought to the colonies such as commerce,Christianity, and civilization substantively led to higher standardsof living and quality governance. The French approach was differentas they considered their subjects equal and would be instrumental totheir success. The French concern was on making a profit throughtrade and exploitation of their colonies resources. The culturalaspect wouldn’t be considered as a way to highlight the differencesin approaches. The two colonists used culture as a way to create arelationship with their subjects and would leave a cultural footprintto the colonies.

Variousreasons have been advanced why the British and French made a choicefor white settlers to be located in some colonies while avoidingother colonies. The reasons include

  1. Access to land was problematic especially in the Northern parts of Africa with the Sahara Desert presenting a natural obstacle. This was also not helped by the fact these parts were occupied by the Arabs and Ottoman societies that were strong enough to compete and repel the incursion by the British and French governments.

  2. The availability of mineral deposits and arable lands in the south of Sahara made it ideal for the British and French to wage an incursion. This was also made easier by the existence of small communities that were disjointed hence incursion was easy. The subjects in these parts would eventually be a source of labor in exploiting the resource.

TheBritish and the French had an impact on the various structures inAfrica. Thus, it becomes a point of discussion to assess which colonyhad a greater impact on the following structures

  1. Economic structure. The British had a greater impact on it colonies under the economic structure with the creation of capitalism which was a foundation for stronger economies.

  2. Political structure. The French rule had a greater impact because it elevated the authority that existed whereas the British rule appeared to annihilate the existing political system.

  3. Cultural and social structure. The French rule had a greater impact because it was determined by a centralized state that enabled the creation of a single system. It encompassed individuals from different regions and ethnic groups. The British rule, however, allowed the existence of individual cultural and social development.


Inconclusion, the aspect of assimilation was a reality and that theideology of indirect rule did more to undermine the pre-colonialauthority structure in Africa. The use of assimilation was real withthe classical example of the Four Communes in Senegal since theBritish rule undermined the traditional political system with therearrangement of the traditional structure. The British rule had ahigher impact on the economic structure of the colonies as comparedto the French rule whose impact was on the social, cultural andpolitical structures.

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