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History 247-20th Century Africa


History 247-20th Century Africa History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations will ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: History 247-20th Century Africa

History 247-20th Century Africa
  • History will one day have its say, but it will
    not be the history that Brussels, Paris,
    Washington or the United Nations will teach, but
    that which they will teach in the countries
    emancipated from colonialism and puppets. Africa
    will write its own history, and it will be, to
    the north and to the south of the Sahara, a
    history of glory and dignity
  • Lumumbas Last Letter, written to his wife just
    before his death.

The Belgian Congo 1950s
The Congo is aterritory larger thanWestern
Europe,bordered by ninecountries
Colonial Development
  • How well developed was the Congo?
  • - Human Resources, underdeveloped
  • -no African army officers
  • -3 African managers in civil service
  • -30 University Graduates
  • first Congolese permitted in Belgian universities
    in 1950s
  • First universities in Congo in 1954 (Catholic),
    1956 (lay), graduating 16 by the time of

Colonial Development (cont.)
  • Mineral resources well developed
  • - copper, gold, tin, cobalt, diamonds, manganese,
    zinc - massive investments from West
  • Economy dominated by mining
  • - 70 controlled by Belgian Societe Generale (who
    also controlled river and rail transport)

Colonial Development (cont.)
  • Union Miniere Haut Katanga- 70 worlds copper
    production (1953)- 80 cobalt, 5 zinc
  • - 1950-9, net profits 620 million , overall
    production increased 149
  • labour force 100,000 - twice as large as
  • attracted post-war immigration

Copper in Katanga
Ali Mazrui, The Africans, London 1986 163
Colonial Development (cont.)
  • Cash crops almost as much product of Western
    investment as mining
  • - 35-40 commercial agriculture in hands of
    Huileries du Congo Belges (subsidiary Anglo-Dutch
    Unilever Co., same one active in West Africa)
  • - dominated palm-oil production
  • - plantations covered hundreds of thousands of
  • -labour poorly paid wage to forced

Colonial Development (cont.)
  • Urban Growth dramatic
  • - mostly workers, many migrants
  • - growth urban associations, usually ethnically
  • - African newspapers
  • 1957 municipal elections Africans voted (largest
    cities like Stanleyville, Leopoldville,

Colonial Development (cont.)
  • Colonial Society settler-based
  • - settlers did not demand autonomy of
    neighbouring colonies
  • Large number white officials
  • para-military forces,
  • agricultural officers enforcing compulsory
  • -

Colonial Development (cont.)
  • Belgian aim- to create Middle Class who would
    eventually attain full citizenship in
    Belgo-Congolese community
  • Cartes de merite civile
  • Held out as carrot
  • so rarely given out, became source of grievance

Colonial Development (cont.)
  • Education
  • primary education in hands of Christian
  • Evangelism very successful 600 Congolese
    priests, 500 ministers c.1956
  • Of 16 million Congolese, 3 ½ million Catholics 1
    ¾ Protestants
  • 1950s move towards more secular education had
    missionaries rallying converts in support of

Colonial Development (cont.)
  • 1957 paper announced need for independence plan
    in 30 years - hailed in Catholic journal,
    Conscience Africaine
  • - followed by educated Congolese, including young
    postal worker, Patrice Lumumba
  • - responded by requesting Congolese elite be
  • - first Congolese University graduates emerged
    1957/58, engaged with idea

Patrice Lumumba
  • Process of decolonisation did not exist in
    Belgian Congo.
  • - 1957 Belgian academic proclaimed independence
    would have to be prepared for in 30 years
  • - 1959 saw riots spread throughout colony
  • - announcement made by Belgian king that
    independence would be granted in18 months h
  • - and it was.

Political Situation in Congo
  • Politics organized around 3 nodes
  • Leopoldville
  • evolues in city surrounding area, Kongolese
    Association des BaKongos (ABAKO), leader J
  • similar to mass parties of West Africa but with
    strong ethnic focus
  • desire to restore ancient Kongo (taking pieces
    from French Equatorial Africa, Portuguese Angola
  • originally cultural association founded 1950
    drawing on memories Simon Kimbangu Prophet
    leading colonial resistance
  • Kassavubu thought to be guided by his spirit

Political Situation in Congo
  • originally cultural association founded 1950
  • drew on memories Simon Kimbangu Prophet who
    led colonial resistance
  • - Kassavubu thought to be guided by his spirit

Joseph Kassabuvu
Political Situation in Congo (cont.)
  • Elisabethville
  • Confederation des Associations Tribales du
    Katanga (CONAKAT)
  • drew on fears local peoples against Luba migrant
  • large Belgian settler population (more than
    100,000 post-war immigration)
  • enormous wealth, began talking secession

Political Situation in Congo (cont.)
  • Leader Moise Tshombe
  • well-off businessman
  • lost considerably in late 1950s economic
  • closely associated with foreign financial
  • supported from beginning by UMHK

Political Situation in Congo (cont.)
  • Stanleyville
  • heterogeneous population, hodge-podge political
  • less clearly-defined ethnic interests than other
    major cities
  • Movement National Congolese- leader Patrice
  • favoured national unity rather than federation
  • comparable to Nkrumahs CPP in Ghana

Political Situation in Congo (cont.)
  • Kwame Nkrumah
  • The situation which faced the Congo on the eve
    of independence did not differ profoundly from
    that which threatened Ghanas independence at the
    period of the ascendancy of the NLM of Ashanti,
    the Togoland Congress, the Anlo Youth Assoc., the
    Northern Peoples Party and the Muslim Assoc.,
    all of which were designed to destroy the CPP
    movement. As in Ghana, I was convinced that the
    Congo needed a strong unitary form of government.
    Events in the Congo since independence have only
    strengthened this conviction.
  • Cited in Mazrui Tidy, African Political
    Parties, p.96

1959 Riots
  • -began in Leopoldville, spread to other cities,
    rural areas
  • - reflecting economic situation post war boom,
    hit by depression 1955/6, fall in world copper
    prices 1957
  • - overall slowdown, massive unemployment,
    especially acute in Leopoldville
  • exacerbated ethnic cleavages incited by work
    migrants cultural associations
  • NOT reflection history or tribes as presented
    by Belgians

The Riots of 1959 (cont.)
  • -immediate cause banning of ABAKO meeting in
    Leopoldville riots spread to townships
  • -no Europeans killed, lt 50 Africans dead
  • -impact rural areas unexpected facilitated by
    movement migrants, cultivated locally
  • - response rooted in years forced labour,
    plantations, infrastructure projects, compulsory
    crop growing schemes etc
  • - so successful local administrators turned to
    Congolese party leaders for assistance

Belgian view of independence
  • WHY did Belgium suddenly move to independence
    for richest (and only) colony?
  • Belgian politicians did not believe in
    independence Congo with proliferation last
    minute political parties would continue to be
    vulnerable to Belgian influence
  • both business and church (each for own reasons)
    saw time had come to extricate themselves from
    business of colonial rule

Independence the speech
  • Independence Day, June 30 1960- Belgian King,
    Premier present
  • former delivered speech referring to courage,
    civilizing role Leopold II
  • praised colonial policies
  • warned Congolese not to jettison Belgian
    institutions, policies until they could improve
    on them

Independence the speech
  • - Kassabuvu read out prepared, obsequious
  • - Lumumba replied with unscheduled speech-
    denounced colonialism as humiliating slavery
    imposed on us by force!see Lumumbas
    speech, Additional Readings

Independence Day
Lumumba arrives Palaisde la Nation,
Leopoldvillefor Independence Ceremony,30 June
1960.Ludo de Witte, The Assassinationof
Lumumba, London 200196ff.
Lumumba and Gaston Eyskens (Belgian
PrimeMinister) sign Declarationof Congolese
Independence. Ludo de Witte, The
Assassinationof Lumumba, London 200196ff.
Lumumbas First Government
Patrice Lumumba (centre) forms his first
government asPrime Minister. Joseph Mobutu (far
right) waits in the wings.
Ludo de Witte, The Assassination of Lumumba,
The Speech (cont.)
  • -Belgian king insulted concluded Lumumba
    madman to be eliminated
  • -Tshombe (and CONAKAT) worried about implications
    for investment in their region
  • -West in general (US in particular) worried
    about unpredictability of prime minister Key
    moment Lumumba announced that he was not to be
    controlled by any existing party or interest
    domestic or foreign

Domestic Concerns Katanga
  • -Katanga center wealth, foreign investment
  • leader Moise Tshombe related to royal Lunda
    family, mission educated, attended Brussels Congo
    Conference 1960
  • pressing for Katanga to be independent state
  • worked closely with Belgian business
  • following independence refused cooperation,
    maintained large mercenary army (paid for by
    taxes from UMHK)- Belgian officers in charge

Foreign Concerns
  • - Post-war Soviet Union influence rural areas,
    none in cities - independence and Lumumba as
    possible openings
  • - US (lesser extent Britain, France, South
    Africa) saw investments threatened
  • role American State Department, CIA actively
    stepped up
  • included interference with media

The Mutiny and afterwards
  • Within days Independence, Army mutinied
  • remained in hands Belgian officers
  • provoked by Commander Jansson, infamous for
  • Avant lIndependence Apres lIndependence
  • -uncontrolled attacks on Belgianstheft, rapes,
    beating, deaths
  • -white exodus civil servants, technicians, army
    personnel- Belgium demanded order.

The Mutiny and afterwards (cont.)
  • Mutiny- then formal secession Katanga, Kisai.
  • - civil conflict continued, Belgium sent
    paratroops against wishes Lumumba
  • - social chaos, foreign troops back in congo,
    state disintegrating, Lumumba turned to
  • United Nations
  • United States
  • African Allies
  • Soviet Union

UN Intervention
Lumumba with UN Secreatry General Dag
Hammarskjold, after their conference at UN
Headquarters in New York on the critical
situation in the Congo, 24 July 1960.
Ludo de Witte, The Assissination of Lumumba,
Congo as Theatre of Cold War
  • Power Vacuum sucked in foreign powers
  • Congo was strategic - wealth (mineral)-
    physical position whoever controlled Congo
    (especially Katanga) could influence Central and
    Southern Africa
  • in the 1960s, this meant South Africa, Rhodesia,
    Mozambique, Angola among others

Congo as Theatre of Cold War (cont.)
  • US, Soviet Union cold war - Africa new
    arena, Congo flashpoint
  • any African leader preaching non-alignment
    opening the door to Communism -Lumumba labeled
    communistby US, Belgim, South Africa (last had
    vested interest)
  • UN attempted to neutralize situation but would
    not intervene where American interests were
    strongest - Katanga

Congo as Theatre of Cold War (cont.)
  • - US chose Joseph Mobutu, former aide to Lumumba,
    Colonel in army, as their man
  • - Lumumba arrested (assent of Kassabuvu)- Mobutu
    took control
  • - UN provided protection for Lumumba
  • - escaped UN refused protection
  • - recaptured by Mobutus army- taken to Katanga
    he, two others murdered with Tshombes knowledge,

Mobutu, 15 September 1960
Joseph Mobutu in Leopoldville on 15 September
1960, having just announced that the Congolese
army would betaking over the running of the
Ludo de Witte, The Assassination of Lumumba,
Lumumbas Last Arrest
Lumumba and his aids in a truck at Leopoldville
airport, on the day after their arrest by
Mobutus army, 2 December1960.
Ludo de Witte, The Assassination of Lumumba,
Escape.. But not for Long!
Officials nest to the Ford sedan car alleged to
have been usedby Lumumba and his aides to escape
prison, 11 February 1961.(From left
commissioner for Katanga police, unknown police
commissioner, Belgian agent of Kantanga
Intelligence service,captain in charge of Prison
Ludo de Witte, The Assassination of Lumumba,
Mobuto and Kennedy
Mobutu and Kennedy a young president and an army
chief reach an understanding during the Cold
War years. (n.d.)
Michela Wrong, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz,
London, 2001 132ff
Murder of Lumumba
  • Kwame Nkrumah
  • The assassination of Lumumba is the first time
    in history that the legal ruler of a country has
    been done to death by the open connivance of a
    world organization UN in whom that rule put his
  • - argument that this was purely domestic murder
    proven recently to be inaccurate Belgium, US, UN
    all implicated

Murder of Lumumba (cont.)
  • Lumumbas murder- protest crowds at UN (New
  • - support by Black Americans, Pan-Africanism
  • - Peace Corps (Kennedys New Frontier) advance
    into uncharted African territory
  • - Congo Crisis (known world-wide) made Africa a
    Cold War Battlefield

World Wide Protest
Protestoers in Londons Picadilly on their way to
theBelgian Embassy, 19 February, 1961.
Ludo de Witte, The Assassination of Lumumba,
After Lumumba
  • Aftermath
  • 3year battle to re-integrate Katanga, Kasai
  • arrest Tshombe (then exiled)
  • return as premier recognized Katanga as part of
  • Medium term fatigue of Congolese people -
    received second independence - Mobutu took over
    with American backing
  • Long term Mobutus rule of Congo like Leopold
    IIs- personal fief - King Leopolds Ghost

Battle to Reintegrate Katanga
Tshombes troops recapture a North Katanga town
and American Weaponry, February 1962.
Bill Freund, The Making of Contemporary Africa,
facing 177
Mobutu Sese Seko
After Lumumba contemporary views
  • See reviews of French 2000 film Lumumba
  • Several youtube clips, more in French than
    eEnglish but worth looking at
  • See Books
  • Ludo de Witte, The Assasination of
    LumumbaMichela Wrong, In the Footsteps of Mr
    Kurtz on video
  • httpwww.theglobalsite.ac.uk/review/111waddell.htm
  • Adam Hochschild, King Leopolds Ghost
  • http//www.complete-review.com/reviews/hochscha/ki

Contemporary Views (cont.)
  • BBC DocumentariesWho Killed Lumumba?
    t/974745.stmReview (of above)
    shtmlThis man died for your sins

Contemporary Views
  • on recent constructions in the arts of Lumumba
    and his role in creating a contemporary
    collective memory, A Congo Chronicle Patrice
    Lumumba in Urban Art, curator Bogumil
    Jewsiewicki (African Historian, Laval)
  • http//thegalleriesatmoore.org/presscongo.shtml
  • What is most striking about this history the
    exhibit is how artists molded the figure of
    Patrice Lumumba, the first elected prime minister
    of the Congo, into a metonym for Congolese
    history itself. Lumumbas dramatic rise to power
    and meteoric fall from grace became the
    foundation for an art of pain, an art of
    suffering, and an art of catharsis. Lumumba is
    canonized on canvas he is the prophet rendered
    in paint. (from review no longer on web)
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