Colonialism was a remarkable and influential process in African countries. It was characterized by the intention of Europe to colonize the region and demonstrate its domination over African traditions and abilities. At the end of the 1800s, several European nations gained control over Africa, using political pressure, military invasions, and other aggressive interventions. The Europeans were not interested in supporting the local citizens and enhancing African culture, and the population was damaged from the point of view of its economy, politics, and moral values. At the same time, more problems occurred because of the conflicts between the European invaders about the territory and the possibility to rule. However, the necessity to resist the colonizers made Africans strengthen their positions and improve their representation in power and knowledge. On the one hand, European missionaries promoted education, the development of military skills, and the application of new technologies. On the other hand, the African population remained to be slaves with no freedoms, choices, and chances to follow their traditions. In this proposal, colonialism will be proved as a process with an impressive impact on the representation of Africans in the African region.
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European colonial powers spread over Africa, neglecting existing disagreements, concerns, and fears. According to Evans and Glenn (2010), one of the negative outcomes could be observed in films about Africans, where the country was represented as brutal and bleak. The authors introduce a new “Afropessimist outlook,” with Africans being unable to develop economically or socially and had to follow the rules of invaders (Evans and Glenn 2010). As a result, Africa was defined as the continent that was “made up of many countries,” with the “one-size-fits-all” approach (Tsikata 2014, 34). The impact of European colonizers was also observed in the necessity to neglect their racial differences and the power of skin color. Pierre (2013) describes “the transnational significance of race” when the practice of skin bleaching was popular in Africa (103). Africans did not want to be treated as inferiors due to the presence of white supremacy. Therefore, it was better to use specific substances (now, it is cosmetics) and follow the belief that light means beauty, respect, and power.
Another perspective about the impact of colonialism is based on human attitudes toward this process. African citizens believe that colonization defines them as people who inhabit the land and strive for their traditions (BBC News 2017). Licata et al. (2018) compare social representations of Africans in the colonial rules with the frames exploitation and development. Unfair slavery, the use of human resources, and corrupted governments provoked many negative thoughts and weak representations in human relationships. Still, colonialism in Africa was also associated with the possibilities of acquiring knowledge, understanding African history, and comprehending the world around (Bulhan 2015). Unjust behaviors could strengthen the morale of Africans as a nation of survivors and fighters. Colonialism was beneficial for Africans in terms of free technologies, additional sources of knowledge, and the progress of military affairs that made them powerful and dignified in the global arena. Instead of considering this nation as bleak, it is better to introduce Africans as survived and persistent in the face of European domination. Colonialism could not be defined either as bad or good, as it is a process with a specific impact on the representation of Africans.
BBC News. 2017. “Letter from Africa: Lingering Cultural Colonialism.” BBC News. Web.
Bulhan, Hussein A. 2015. “Stages of Colonialism in Africa: From Occupation of Land to Occupation of Being.” Journal of Social and Political Psychology 3 (1). Web.
Evans, Martha, and Ian Glenn. 2010. ““TIA—This is Africa”: Afropessimism in Twenty-First-Century Narrative Film.” Black Camera 2 (1): 14-35.
Licata, Laurent, Sammyh S. Khan, Simona Lastrego, Rosa Cabecinhas, Joaquim Pires Valentim, and James H. Liu. “Social Representations of Colonialism in Africa and in Europe: Structure and Relevance for Contemporary Intergroup Relations.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 62: 68-79.
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Pierre, Jemima. 2013. The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Tsikata, Prosper Yao. 2014. “The Historical and Contemporary Representation of Africa in Global Media Flows: Can the Continent Speak Back for Itself on Its Own Terms?” Communicatio 40 (1): 34-48.