Wednesday, February 1

Cloud of colonialism hangs over Queen Elizabeth’s legacy in Africa


“I can’t mourn,” one wrote on Twitter, posting an image of what she stated was her grandmother’s “motion move” — a colonial doc which prevented free journey for Kenyans underneath British rule within the east African nation.
Another wrote that her grandmother “used to relate to us how they have been overwhelmed & how their husbands have been taken away from them & left to take care of their children,” throughout colonial instances. “May we always remember them. They are our heroes,” she added.

Their refusal to mourn highlights the complexity of the legacy of the Queen, who regardless of widespread reputation was additionally seen as an emblem of oppression in elements of the world the place the British Empire as soon as prolonged.

Kenya, which had been underneath British rule since 1895, was named an official colony in 1920 and remained that approach till it received independence in 1963. Among the worst atrocities underneath British rule occurred throughout the Mau Mau rebellion, which began in 1952 — the yr Queen Elizabeth took the throne.

The colonial administration on the time carried out excessive acts of torture, together with castration and sexual assault, in detainment camps the place as many as 150,000 Kenyans have been held. Elderly Kenyans who sued for compensation in 2011 have been finally awarded £19.9 million by a British courtroom, to be cut up between greater than 5,000 claimants.
The UK Foreign Secretary on the time, William Hague, stated: “The British Government recognises that Kenyans have been topic to torture and different types of ailing remedy by the hands of the colonial administration. The British authorities sincerely regrets that these abuses passed off, and that they marred Kenya’s progress in direction of independence.”

Africa’s reminiscence of the Queen can’t be separated from that colonial previous, professor of communication Farooq Kperogi at Kennesaw State University advised CNN.

“The Queen’s legacy began in colonialism and continues to be wrapped in it. It was once stated that the solar didn’t set over the British empire. No quantity of compassion or sympathy that her demise has generated can wipe that away,” he advised CNN.

Queen Elizabeth II on her way to the Kumasi Durbah with Kwame Nkrumah, President of Ghana, during her tour of Ghana, November 1961.

‘Tragic interval’

While many African leaders have mourned her passing — together with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who described her reign as “distinctive and great” — different distinguished voices in regional politics haven’t.

In South Africa, one opposition celebration, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was unequivocal. “We don’t mourn the demise of Elizabeth, as a result of to us her demise is a reminder of a really tragic interval on this nation and Africa’s historical past,” the EFF said in a statement.

“Our interplay with Britain has been one among ache, … demise and dispossession, and of the dehumanisation of the African individuals,” it added.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wave to a crowd of schoolchildren at a rally held at a racecourse in Ibadan, Nigeria, February 15, 1956.

Others recalled Britain’s position within the Nigerian civil warfare, the place arms have been secretly equipped to the federal government to be used towards Biafrans who needed to type a breakaway republic. Between 1 million and three million individuals died in that warfare. British musician John Lennon returned his MBE, an honorary title, to the Queen in protest over Britain’s position within the warfare.

Still, many on the continent keep in mind the Queen as a stabilizing pressure who caused optimistic change throughout her reign.

Ayodele Modupe Obayelu from Nigeria advised CNN: “Her reign noticed the top of the British Empire and the African international locations … turned a Republic. She would not actually deserve any award or standing ovation for it, nevertheless it was a step in the appropriate path.”

Nigerian magazine publisher Dele Momodu met Queen Elizabeth on a 2003 state visit to Abuja, Nigeria.

And media writer Dele Momodu was stuffed with reward, recounting assembly her in 2003 in Abuja whereas masking her go to to Nigeria. He added that he had fled Nigeria for the UK in 1995, throughout the dictator Sani Abacha’s regime.

“I advised her I used to be a refugee and now the writer of {a magazine}. She advised me ‘congratulations,’ and moved on to the opposite individuals on the road. I salute her. She labored to the very finish and was by no means uninterested in working for her nation. She did her finest for her nation and that could be a lesson in management,” he advised CNN.

Momodu believes that the Queen did attempt to “atone” for the brutality of the British Empire. “She got here to Nigeria throughout our independence and a number of the artifacts have been returned underneath her reign. That is why the Commonwealth continues to thrive. I really feel very unhappy that the world has misplaced an amazing human being.”

Adekunbi Rowland, additionally from Nigeria, stated: “The Queen’s passing represents the top of an period. As a girl, I’m intrigued by her story. This younger girl had an unprecedented accession to the throne, and with a lot grace and dignity did all the pieces in her energy to guard the nation and Commonwealth she liked it doesn’t matter what it took.”

Commonwealth Queen

The Queen once declared, “I feel I’ve seen extra of Africa than nearly anyone.”
She made her first official abroad visit to South Africa in 1947, as a princess and would go on to go to greater than 120 international locations throughout her reign, a lot of them on the continent.
Elizabeth, then a princess, and Prince Philip step from their plane in Nairobi, Kenya, on the first stage of their Commonwealth tour in 1952.

It was whereas visiting Kenya in 1952 that she realized that she had turn into Queen. Her father George handed away whereas she was there with Prince Phillip and he or she instantly ascended the throne.

As colonialism later crumbled and gave solution to independence and self-rule in what had been British abroad territories, the previous colonies turned a part of a Commonwealth group of countries with the Queen at its head and he or she labored tirelessly to maintain the group collectively over time.

She cast robust bonds with African leaders, together with Nelson Mandela, whom she visited twice in South Africa, and Kwame Nkrumah, with whom she was famously pictured dancing throughout her go to to Ghana in 1961.

Queen Elizabeth II dances with President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, during her visit to Accra, Ghana, in 1961.
However, there’s now a rising clamor for independence and accountability over Britain’s previous crimes equivalent to slavery. In November 2021, Barbados removed the Queen as its head of state, 55 years after it declared independence from Britain, and different Caribbean international locations, such as Jamaica, have indicated they intend to do the identical.
Prince William and his spouse, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, visited Jamaica in March however they confronted protests and requires reparations throughout the journey. There have been additionally requires a proper apology for the royal household’s hyperlinks to slavery.
“During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother has achieved nothing to redress and atone for the struggling of our ancestors that passed off throughout her reign and/or throughout the complete interval of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement, indentureship and colonization,” wrote members of a protest group, the Advocates Network Jamaica.

In June, Prince Charles turned the primary UK royal to go to Rwanda, the place he was representing the Queen on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Following his mom’s demise, he now heads the Commonwealth, and can embark on a brand new relationship with its members, a few third of that are in Africa.

Some are asking whether or not he can be as efficient in constructing the group as his mom, and above all, how related it nonetheless is, given its roots in Empire.


2022-09-10 12:56:17

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