One will be wrong to argue that the benefits brought by the Europeans to Africa outweighed the negative effects. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 345). Furthermore, it was not mutually beneficial to both parties. To begin with, colonialism purely entails the rule of taking over other peoples’ territory without informing them. The land rightfully belongs to the natives but Europeans went a head to capture it and started mistreating the Africans on their own land. The main aims of the Europeans for capturing African land were never positive from the onset. For instance, one of their major aims was to look for cheap labor. They went a head of not paying them well which lead to poor living standards of the Africans.
Colonization simply means a strong nation taking control of a weak nation. The strong nations which in this case are referring to European nations control the weak nations’ economy, social status and also political power. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 311). Europeans introduced education until independence favored their sides and promoted their culture rather than that of Africans. They even introduce certain types of crops which favored them. For instance, sisal which was introduced by the Germans. They were the beneficiaries of this crop since Africans were restricted not to plant cash crops.
The arrivals of the Europeans in Africa lead to intensive exploitation especially on land issues. Africans were made to live in areas which were very infertile and the whites were left with fertile and productive land. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 211). The European community exploited African natural resources such as minerals. This contributed a lot on Africans being very poor and as a result started to depend on them for a living. Africans were further forced to work on these lands with less pay and little rest. The idea of obtaining cheap labor from Africans made them to be more exploited. There was introduction of some turf laws by the Europeans and these laws fell squarely on Africans. For example, in Kenya, Africans were forced to carry a heavy document a round their necks known as kipande. This was used to identify the working class.
Despite the hard labor by Africans they were still underpaid than the whites. The colonialists’ introduced heavy taxes on Africans. These taxes were meant to exploit the Africans further and they were not supposed to complain. The examples of the taxes included hart taxes, kettle taxes and the head taxes. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 24). The colonial power also came up with an idea of migration of labor. Africans were moved from less productive areas ton productive areas to provide cheap man power. They worked on mines and plantations, for instance, they were moved to Europe and America. Consequently, these caused lacks of labor in Africa. They were deprived of manpower that could work and develop African lands. It is clear that this was the genesis of slave trade in Africa. They collaborated with some of the Africans leaders who captured and sold people to them.
The products which were offered by the Africans in the market were underpriced. This made them to be more exploited that is these products were given low price that could not make them to be self independent but instead engaged in some other white activities. There was unequal exchange in the market. Africans had quality goods such as minerals which they exchanged with spoons from the whites. The whites had nothing valuable to bring to the market and clearly they extremely exploited Africans. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 57).
Colonialism also brought hatred among the Africans themselves in that there were some Africans who collaborated with the whites while others opposed. This brought about disunity among the Africans countries which lead to lack of stability and agreement in most of the countries in the continent. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 39).
African culture was totally destroyed upon the arrival of the whites. They taught a bout their culture to an extent that the Africans forgot about their traditional practices to follow theirs, Africans started to behave like the whites in all aspects including language, dress code and even food. The type of dressing which was introduced by the whites had a lot of negative impacts. For instance, people especially women put on clothes which make them to look half naked hence attract men. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 89). This attracted sexual practices and promoted the spread of a deadly disease known as HIV AIDS. One can confidently say that the current major problems facing Africa have their roots from the colonial era. These major problems include political instability, social disorder and economic crisis. During the colonial period, Europeans totally controlled the above economic pillars. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 302). They viewed Africans as primitive and could not control themselves therefore they gave themselves a duty to teach and change Africans. Since they had all the powers, they could export all valuable materials like minerals to their countries leaving Africans poor and desperate.
Even though the whites introduced schools and encouraged Africans to learn, they were never beneficial to them. Africans were sent to school and were at the same time not allowed to take part in management positions in the government. They were taught that people not suppose to use their hands in factories. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 312) .They were supposed to use machines to make work easier. Some Africans were sent to Europe for further education hence they found out that this fact was not true in that they saw people using their hands in Europe. The statements were used in order to gain access to African lands and make the whites to appear unique.
The worst experience of the colonial rule is racial discrimination which was mostly practiced in South Africa. In South Africa, the apartheid rule was totally racial discrimination and segregation which favored the whites. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 300).People were segregated according to tribe and skin color. The white people were given proper medical care, proper education as well as good jobs. But the black Africans were excluded from citizenship and they were forced to live in unfertile lands. The process was totally against the blacks with few individual of a bout ten percent trying to control many people of ninety percent. The economy was in the hands of few people leaving a very big gap between the rich and the poor. The rich who were majorly the whites took this advantage and oppressed the blacks for their own gain.
The colonization can be blamed on the present on the widespread of poverty and unequal distribution of wealth in the modern African countries. Industrial capitalism was brought by the whites in that the Africans were made to grow crops or mine minerals of which were sold in European countries. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 103). It was obvious that Africans were not consuming whatever they produced and they consumed whatever they don’t produce for the benefit of the Europeans. Africans were typically forced to produce for their respective colonial powers and consumed whatever was being imported from those nations. Looking at this scenario critically, the major beneficiaries were the Europeans .Africans were left poor and underdeveloped since they never saw the fruits of this type of trade. The whites ignored any attempt by the Africans to prepare for industrialization and improvements.
Currently in Africa, there exist racism, poverty, and ethnic violence which are the consequences of colonization. Europeans introduced modern education, medicine and infrastructures such as electricity and roads to Africa. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 87). It can be taken that without the interference by the whites, the Africans could have organized themselves and came with medical care, education and infrastructures which suit their culture without the issue of race and nepotism.
The international boundary conflict is due to the poorly marked boundaries by the colonial masters. This brought a bout tension and conflict because the whites were majorly concerned a bout their well being. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 45). They divided communities and nations according to their interests and not of the Africans. After independence, Africans started to quarrel a bout the boundaries the latest incidence being that of Kenya and southern Sudan. The demarcation was not well done since the Europeans divided Africa according to their rules. This has brought a lot of conflicts among African countries especially after the independence.
Europeans divided African tribes into different colonial settlement and they dint realize that there were enemy groups. After independence, these groups started fighting among themselves. The impact was felt majorly in Rwanda where after independence, the Tutsi and Hutu tribes fought and resulted to genocides. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 335).
The Europeans came a long with several technologies which had adverse effect to the environment. They came with guns and they used them to hunt for animals. This contributed a lot in destroying the natural resources as well as wildlife in the African continent. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 399).After killing the animals, some whites skinned them and then left them to rot. This resulted to hunger within the natives and also led to air pollution. They even used these guns to shoot Africans which resulted to deaths and tension within the people.
The Europeans brought a bout different religions such as Christianity and Islamic. There has been inter religion war and everyone believes that it is their God who is powerful. People are now divided in faith and opinion on religious issues. Before the introduction of these religions, Africans were united in religion and there were no religious war as experienced in the modern world. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 377). They used to pray in places called shrines and they believed in their ancestors whom they trusted as being the source of all good things.
The arrival of Europeans also had some negative impacts on health among the natives. Historians have it that there was no HIV AIDS in Africa until the arrival of Europeans. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 120).This has become a deadly disease across Africa and around the world. Western culture has also promoted the spread of this disease. As discussed earlier, the dress code borrowed from the western culture promotes promiscuity. Some of the colonial powers such as Germans exercised brutal exploitation. They relied on force to make Africans to give in to their demands. The worse record of brutality was found in Congo who was colonized by Belgium .Brutality lead to death among Africans and also there was fear hence Africans were not at ease and could not concentrate on their developments. Anybody was not supposed to resist the German rule or else you were crushed by force. They overpowered the Africans since they had superior weapons while the Africans had just stones and spears. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 340). The natives were forced to work for the whites which very similar to slavery. The Africans worked on railways, mines and also cleared lands. The worsed experience of brutality by the Germans was in Namibia where the lands used by the natives for grazing were seized by the Germans. Any resistance led to killings and mistreatment.
European colonization resulted in unequal distribution of resources among the African communities. Communities which were collaborative were treated differently from those who resisted (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 30). Consequently, they enjoyed privileges like attending the same school as whites. They were awarded handsomely by the colonial masters. Until today, these communities are richer than others. Furthermore, they ended up ruling most of the African countries after independence.
Most African countries borrowed the system of government from their respective colonial masters. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 215).Africa is the only continent which is known for power scramble. Most candidates do not want to concede defeat after the elections which lead to post election violence. Before colonization, Africans were organized in terms of rule and there was no power struggle. This means that colonization has resulted to bad governing system which promotes corruption.
In conclusion, if the benefits of the colonial rule were more than the negative effects, then there was no need for Africans to look for independence .Africans were tired of the mistreatment and torture by the whites. (Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P 33). They ended up organizing themselves to fight and eventually threw the whites out of their countries. Even in the verge of looking for independent, there was blood shed and most Africans ended up losing their lives.
Gilbert, E. & Jonathan, P. Africa in World History: From Prehistory to the Present. New York: New York Press.2012.Print.