Frank 1 Ehlam Frank Dr. Good Sub Saharan Africa 13 April 2018 Were Africans more often victims or agents in the face of colonization? Between the 1870s, and 1900, Africa started to face imperialist aggression, military inva- sions, and diplomatic pressures from numerous European countries, which eventually lead to their conquest and colonization. During this time, Africans started to form innumerable forms of resistance against the attempts of European powers to subjugate their countries and impose for- eign domination. However by the early twentieth century, with the exclusion of Ethiopia and Liberia, much of Africa had been colonized. Through this being evident, one has to question whether Africans were victims or agents through the transition from following their traditional culture and religious beliefs to those bestowed on them by their colonizers. Through the review of multiple sources on the colonization of Africa, one can see how Africans were agents of impe- rialism through their resistance towards colonial changes involving political, cultural, and reli- gious aspects. As Europeans started to claim territories in parts of tribal Africa, they sent in Christians missionaries to influence and change the traditions and customs of Africans due to perceiving their practices as acts of evil leading to the immediate damnation of their souls. European mis- sionaries wanted to get rid of numerous parts of the tribe people culture including dances, cul- tural ceremonies, and feasts. However, the one main thing that they wanted to eliminate was the practice of polygamy. Christian missionaries associated polygamy with sexual excess and that the only way to salvation was through the adoption of monogamy. Though some Africans were
Frank 2 willing to give up parts of their culture in order to learn how to read and write which was seen as “white man’s magic” (Facing MT.Kenya 262 )many refused to give up such practice. Africans couldn't understand how one could drive away his wives and children especially in a society where motherhood was seen as a religious duty. Though they were able to convert some of the Africans to follow the laws of the Bible and become true Christians reborn again through Bap- tism, not all Africans responded as well to such encroachment on their culture that was passed down from generation to generation. Thus they started break away from missionary influences and started to form their own religious and educational sanctions. The most popular group that came from this was the Watu wa Mungu . Watu wa Mungu were a group of people who described themselves as holy men who claimed “to have direct communication with Mwene-Nyaga( God)” (Facing MT. Kenya 263). Their people were fundamentally concerned with the religious aspects of life and claimed to have the power to interpret the past and present. By breaking away from
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