Over the last few months I have discovered a new found inspiration in Vincent Hiribarren’s African history module, some of you will know him as a curator and blogger of this page. Never studying African history before except touching on slavery as a minor at school I have been inspired to pursue some of the knowledge I have gained on this module.
What fascinated my peers and I most, was how current a lot of the topics such as the country’s economic and HIV situation are, and how we can see clearly the results and developments of these areas. As a female who was born in England I was interested in colonialism, as intervention for countries own national (self) interest is still seen now, in areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. Studying colonialism it was evident how there are still contrasting views over its brutality, but what is clear is that policies and ideas introduced by Europeans during colonialism greatly influenced the policies Africa created, when it was abruptly thrown in the deep end through the independence of its areas. Furthermore, how the colonial policy of Apartheid can be seen to have lead to the ethnic groups and their divisions seen through events such as the Nigerian Biafran civil war and the Rwanda Genocide.
More personally it has sparked a new found interest and drive to more research. I am hoping to join a RAG project in Uganda to not only do something charitable but to also do some of my own travelling and discovery to find out more of this interesting country.
Whilst studying the module, an area that has influenced me most in highlighting interesting debates is the topic of ethnicity in Africa. In particular in case studies like Nigeria and Rwanda, where ethnic groups found such a foundation of believe and hate that it influenced strong rivalries and became predominant in every aspect like politics and economics. Many questions were raised as to where these ethnic ideas came from and if there was a link between ethnic politics and nationalism, which I feel, there is. Seen through each ethnic group feeling it has the national interest of its country at heart, and feeling their group’s domination over others would lead to their countries national development.