Nowadays, China is rapidly increasing its cooperation with Africa to the extent that this country gradually becomes the major player in the continent along with representatives of the leading Western countries. In such a situation, specialists have started to argue about the possible consequences of such a profound interest of China to Africa, which is argued to be quite unpredictable. On the one hand, it is argued that China involvement in African affairs and development is extremely beneficial for the continent that suffers from poverty, economic and technological backwardness, and political instability. On the other hand, it is argued that China may be viewed as a new colonizer of the Africa that came to the continent after the withdrawal of Europeans and, what is more, China gradually push Western companies from African market and occupies the leading if not to say dominant positions. At the same time, China’s involvement in Africa, even though it is based on economic interests, also implies the growing political interference that is also quite disturbing. In such a situation, it is extremely important to analyze the recent trends in order to clearly define the consequences of such a policy of China in Africa. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Africa’
On analysing development and history of Africa, such notion as biodiversity traditionally plays a very important role. In fact Africa is well known for its rich flora and fauna and many specialists underlined that such richness is one of the key factors contributing to biodiversity existing in the continent. However, Jams McCann in his works go beyond the traditional definition of this notion. According to him biodiversity should include not only the abundance of flora and fauna that exist in nature but he also underlines the importance of human activity in the continent and consequently he believes that the results of human activity should also be taken into consideration. To put it more precisely, he reminds that agriculture developed by people in Africa, as well as in any other continent, can also contribute to biodiversity, resulting in certain changes in local landscapes and natural conditions.
It is not a secret that human activity in certain areas can change the situation radically, as it happened in the case described above in Ghana, i.e. the agriculture developed by local population changed dramatically the forest landscape and increased biodiversity without rapid deforestation. In such a way important fact that he underlines is the role of human activity as one of the factors contributing to increase of biodiversity through a number of factors such as soil fertility, irrigation, new crops, socio-economic factors, including the situation in the local and international markets, which stimulate cultivation of certain plants, for instance, implementation of new technologies that eventually lead to better survival and expansion of local communities over time and increase of biodiversity. (more…)
Africa has always been to a significant extent mysterious continent where natural resources often turn to be insufficient for prosperity of people populating its territory. One of the most important and disturbing questions that many specialists raised in their works is the question concerning the reasons of environmental degradation that often affected the life of the local population, in the gravest cases leading to famine and complete destruction of normal social life within many African communities.
Speaking about environmental degradation in Africa, it is necessary to point out that traditionally among the major causes of such a degradation, specialists agreed that they are basically related to human activities, bad land management, poor environmental protection measures, simply unwise or even primitive agriculture and all these human provoked factors were amply aggravated by a combination of negative natural processes that took place, and actually keep progressing, in Africa. In other words, many specialists support what James McCann considers to be an erroneous and simplistic view on ecologic changes in Africa that blame African for overusing scarce natural sources and overpopulating areas which initially and naturally were not convenient for such overpopulation and exploitation by people in agricultural purposes. In his book he attempts to provide a larger view on the problem though his book tends to “illustrate rather than chronicle Africa’s environmental history” (1999, p.5) that underlines the fact that the author is basically concerned about the objectivity of the image of Africa depicted in his work.
In stark contrast to the common view on environmental degradation in Africa, James McCann challenges traditional beliefs that it is provoked by scarce natural resources and their overuse by growing population and spread of people in areas lacking natural resources which could provide the inhabitants with sufficient amount of food and normal conditions of life.
In response to traditional views on the problem, James McCann indicates at a very important fact, notably colonial history of Africa. In fact, he underlines the idea that the overuse of natural resources is also often provoked by the colonial character of many African states in the continent. He stands on the ground that colonial governments took little care about environment and were not interested in environmental protection. On the contrary, they were rather focused on receiving possibly higher profits from the colonies they possessed and controlled. (more…)
African continent, being the birthplace of homo sapience, nowadays is back warded in its development though there were great empires in its history. In this respect, the golden age of the development of great African civilizations may be considered 14-15th centuries when such empires as Songhay Empire, the Kingdom of the Kongo, and the Ethiopian Empire appeared. Basically the rise of the empires is closely related to the formation of a strong monarch power concentrated in one centre.
For instance, Sonni Ali concentrated power in his hands and made his empire an ‘heir’ ofMali. He controlled main cities and trade routs and brought great wealth to Songhai Empire. His follower, Mohammad, brought political reform and revitalization that provided the empire with strong socio-political, military and economic structure.
As for the Kingdom of the Kongo it initially originated from a little state of Mpemba Kasi whose ruler made alliance with a neighbouring state and in the result of this alliance the Kingdom of the Kongo was founded by the son and heir of this arrangement. In the result of expansion the territory of the kingdom enlarged and the power was centralised.
In this respect, the development of the Ethiopian Empire seems to be to a significant extent influenced from outside by Portuguese, on the one hand, and Muslims on the other hand.
At the same time, it should be pointed out that external influence, especially that of Euroepans played a crucial role in the fall of the three great African civilizations. Basically, Euroepans initially arrived as alliances and later colonized the territories where they were formally invited and welcome. In general, analysing their fall it is possible to distinguish two main reasons: the increase of internal tension resulting in civil wars, and external expansion, i.e. colonization.
Speaking about discrimination of women inAfrica, it is hardly possible to leave unmentioned the impact of colonial administration and the means of control over women and their position. From the beginning it should be pointed out that initially colonial administration supported the oppressive policy which was extremely discriminating in relation to women. At the same time, the oppression of women expanded on practically all spheres of life and naturally found its reflection in social, economic, political and legislative domains.
In such a situation, it should be said that colonial administration basically supported the ideology of male ‘superiority’ and for this purpose it reinforced ‘customary law’ and ‘traditional authority’ throughout the continent and Zambia was not an exception. However, it should be pointed out that the situation had started to change dramatically since the end of the World War II but, unfortunately, it did not change due to mutual efforts of both males and females but, in the result of relentless struggle of women for their rights and opportunities, on the one hand, and as an unexpected outcome of males’ attempts to conserve the situation, on the other hand. (more…)
Obviously, African women, being widely discriminated practically in all spheres of life except probably household, were in a very bad position that naturally affected their public image. As a result, in any regions of the continent the negative image of women was formed and often it did not really correspond to the actual situation. In this respect, the word ‘wicked’ used in the title of the whole book is very symbolic since it underlines the scornful and negative attitude to women that became a kind of stereotype.
In such a context, the article of Hodgson dedicated to Ugandan women is very important. In this chapter the author raises the problem of such a notion as ‘bad woman’ that was actually widely spread inUgandaand often women were labeled by this term without any obvious reason. Initially, this notion was referred to a woman, which was not a good woman in a traditional sense of this word. It means that ‘bad woman’ was considered a woman that did not possess a number of virtues which were traditionally referred to female and consequently, she did not correspond to a stereotype image of a woman as a good mother, wife, etc. (more…)
It is not a secret that the position of women inAfricawas and still remains quite difficult but traditionally women that obeyed to general moral laws, ethical norms and stereotypes were quite respected though in terms of social conventions and the freedom African women possessed. In such a situation, the ideal woman was considered to be a wife that takes care about household, upbringing of children and obeying to her husband, which should be a real head of the family, a breadwinner.
Unfortunately, unmarried women did not correspond to such an ideal image of an African women and this is why often they suffered a lot from oppression and abuse from the part of men, especially in the colonial epoch. In fact, unmarried African women, for instance,Asantewomen, turned to be among the most unprotected category of population and could not actually act independently. For instance, they could not choose their future husbands and often they had to accept the choice of their family, notably their fathers. At the same time, often they became concubines of colonizers to the extent that they simply attached themselves to men and exchanged domestic and sexual services for food and clothes. In such a way,Asantewomen were rounded up and practically lost their personal freedom. Anyway, they could not change the way the things went because of enormous social pressure of the community dominated by males and patriarchal ideology. (more…)
Traditionally, specialists underline the fact that African societies are characterized by a high degree of patriarchic relations in which males play the dominant role while female as a rule turn to be in an oppressed position. The third chapter of the book “Wicked Women and the Recognition of Gender in Africa actually supports the idea of the dominance of such ideology that affected lifestyle and social behavior of African women as well as man.
In this respect, it is necessary to emphasize the idea suggested by Lovett who insisted that in their permanent struggle for better social positions women did not actually have a female model to follow but instead they to a significant extent idealized males who, occupying the leading positions in the society, served as a sample of behavior. In other words, women struggled for the equality and better position all the time in Africa, that actually is one of the cornerstone of the whole book, but men was so successful and dominant that their lifestyle and behavior became the main model African women could follow since the feminist ideas were really weak and unable to develop independently from the dominating ideology of male ‘superiority’. (more…)
We know that the state represents a national tradition, which is higher than the claims of a strong minority or a weak majority. Social justice is not egalitarianism and a reverence for power. It is an organic hierarchy, where the humble themselves will to power and the element mass, and approved by the will to truth. But the situation inZimbabwehas another character that lead to further crisis. Robert Mugabe was a warlike leader and his statements were directed on wars and conflicts, but not on creation and development. According to Chung (2006), we see that Mugabe said that “countries like theU.S.andBritaindecided that they will decide for us in the developing world, to interfere in our internal affairs and do what they call regime change… Our party must continue to drive fear into the hearts of white people, our real enemies!.. Our votes must go together with our arms. In the end, every vote that we get must be the result of arms. Weapons, which make the vote, should remain its security guard, its guarantor. The voices of men and people’s arms are always inseparable twins.”
According to Mbiba (2001) we see that in 1987, Mugabe changed the constitution – he abolished the post of prime minister and appointed himself president of the country (although the power he had, and before that was in excess). Simultaneously, inZimbabwebegan to unwind the flywheel of repression against the opposition and everybody who expressed dissatisfaction with the rapid deterioration in living standards. This applies both to ordinary peasants, and prominent figures. (more…)
I would like to talk aboutZimbabwein this paper. According to the latest researches we see that the current crisis inZimbabweis a widely discussed topic in all circles of our society. Many researchers are interested in main reasons of this crisis and it is often stated that the crisis is mostly centered on the figure of Robert Mugabe, who is a President of the country since independence in 1980. According to Hill (2005) it is well-known fact that Robert Mugabe is frequently blaming colonization for the current state of his country’s economy and people often blaming Mugabe for such situation in the country, in their turn. It becomes understandable that this question has dual nature and we should pay specific attention on its observation. I would like to examine real reasons ofZimbabwe’s crisis and think about colonization impact on the existed situation.
First of all it is necessary to think about history ofZimbabwe, because every problem has its roots in history, thus, our case is not an exception. Let’s think aboutRhodesia.Rhodesia…. Today many people even do not know anything about this country. And, meanwhile, it was the name of a country in southernAfrica, which tried to build a society based on consent, mutual respect and recognition of the rights of others. A country that so-called “civilized world” in unison with the Communist bloc has refused to recognize and tried to destroy. Combined efforts of different countries destroyedRhodesiaand now we haveZimbabwe. In the old daysRhodesiawas a prosperous country and then it turned in ruins, moreover, instead a fair and just ruler on the throne, it was reigned by a tyrant for a long time. (more…)