Sometimes I really despise this country

On the other hand, these people weren’t exactly living in advanced peaceful, civilized societies when the Europeans arrived. Ill-defined borders are one cause of conflicts in the region, the other is vicious tribal rivalries that pre-date European colonialism.

While the colonialists took (slaves, resources, etc.) they also gave. They gave directly, in terms of infrastructure, like buildings, railroads, but also indirectly; the governments, judiciaries and education systems are all based on European models learned from the colonial powers.

It’s interesting to note that South Africa is by far the most advanced nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, ranking well above other nations in the region in the Human Development Index, and was also the most, and longest, colonised country in the region. The only nation not colonised in Africa is Ethiopia, and despite its thousands of years of civilization, it ranks 170 out of 177 on the HDI. Coincidence? Maybe.

For me the biggest problems facing Sub-Saharan Africa these days that is borne of the legacy of colonialism, isn’t that legacy itself, but the attitude of dependency it has created. African nations tend to blame the former colonial powers for all their problems, and expect to have these outside powers solve all these problems for them.

As with individuals, as with countries: as long as people refuse to take responsibility for their situation, that situation will persist. People who continue to push the view that colonialism is the root of all their problems, whether they are African or Westerners, help ensure that these African nations continue to rot.

The whole “life in prison” thing is in part an acknowledgement that we get it wrong some of the time. It’s a lot easier to let someone out than to resurrect them.

Your condoning of prison rape is sick.

Tim, I think African development probably correlates a lot more with “capital put into the country” then colonization, and especially capital that wasn’t just for resource extraction.

Well, honestly, what these people do to get a prison for life sentence in the first place is sick.

I never thought I should find myself agreeing with Tim.

I think the amount of capital put into a country and the level of colonial influence would also correlate quite closely. People want to invest their money in projects with stable governments with good infrastructure. There are other reasons too, like vast resources, but countries with vast resources and poor government and infrastructure tend not to rank highly on the Human Development Index.

Take a look at the ten countries with the greatest amount of inward investment in Africa:

South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Algeria, Tunisia and Chad.

Between them they account for 86% of all inward investment on the continent, yet Nigeria, DRC and Chad are three of the poorest countries in the world, raking 158th, 167th and 173rd out of 180 countries on the HDI.

An interesting comparison are the neighbours Zimbabwe and Botswana. Zimbabwe went from one of the richest nations in Africa to one barely able to feed itself. Amid much finger pointing, mostly at the white colonists and former colonial powers, the government of Zimbabwe sent the country into freefall, blaming everyone else as they went.

Botswana, on the other hand, was one of the poorest countries in the world when it became independent. Instead of blaming its ills on the British that ran the country before them, they set about governing their country with what they had learned from the people who once controlled it. Botswana now has the fastest growing economy in Africa, consistently positive trade balances, and a near perfect credit record. All this with minimal inward investment and a massive HIV problem.

Botwana is now a wealthier country than Zimbabwe, and continues to improve.

First-world retirees, yes. 19th and early 20th century industrial mega-conglomerates, which did the bulk of this investment, no. There’s obvious different political choices and inheritances differences between the individual nations, but “cover the country in diamond mines” probably isn’t going to raise living standards.

I have a big problem with your wording of this - it offends me nearly as much as Brendan’s ape/moneky bullshit (which, incidentally, I would have banned him over were I in charge). The buildings, railroads etc. were built on the backs of slave or near-slave African labour, and they were for use by colonialists primarily - to say that the colonialists ‘gave’ makes me a little sick in my stomach. I’m sure you didn’t mean it like that. I agree that industrialisation etc. is a lot better than the stuff they had before, but there’s a right way and a wrong way. Africa got the wrong way, and the current state of Africa is the result.

At what point does Africa need to stop blaming colonialism for its poor governance? With the exception of South Africa and Zimbabwe, the evil white men have been out of the loop for nigh on half a century.

Well, it had a lasting impact. But of course you’re right. Blaming dead people and their ancestors is retarded. A more pressing concern regarding white folk is the white guilt being poured into the coffers of the corrupt governments. Then there’s Madonna.

I’m not sure what your problem is, T-Rex. The word “gave” is pretty neutral. I can give you a Christmas present, and I can give you small pox. Something I give you that proves a benefit, may not have been given by me with that intention. Something that I give you in good faith, may hurt you.

The Europeans gave the Africans railroad, like the Romans gave us the aquaduct: not as a gift but as an unintended legacy.

As for colonialism being the cause of Africa’s current state: what about Zimbabwe? Do you think that Zimbabwe went from the breadbasket of Africa with the highest literacy rate (95.2%) on the continent, to the economic basketcase of Africa dependent on the food donations of its neighbours as a result of colonialism, or the policies of Robert Mugabe?

Hasn’t even been a generation. I imagine it’ll take longer for things to right themselves if they ever will. (see United States & Race)


It bothers me. I don’t like when people pussyfoot around sensitive stuff in gay ways, but ‘gave’ in this context looks really slimy. I thought about it, and decided ‘brought’ was a better word. Yeah, you can give smallpox - but that’s different again and don’t tell me different.

As for colonialism being the cause of Africa’s current state: what about Zimbabwe? Do you think that Zimbabwe went from the breadbasket of Africa with the highest literacy rate (95.2%) on the continent, to the economic basketcase of Africa dependent on the food donations of its neighbours as a result of colonialism, or the policies of Robert Mugabe?

That was just (ironically) shitty wording on my part. I don’t think whitey was the cause of all of Africa’s problems - I did say that Africa was probably worse off without us, and by that I mean I agree with your earlier analysis. Obviously maggots like Mugabe are a huge problem, not to mention the maggots clogging up the jails in Johannesburg. I don’t know where they fit into the matrix of Africa’s fucked-upedness, but it might be hard to seperate them entirely from their earlier troubles - if only because Africa is really, really, really fucked up.

The phrases “ape” and “monkey” have never really caught on as racist terminology around here. When I use these terms I’m implying a lack of intelligence. I believe I have seen George W. Bush labelled as a monkey around here and I doubt that was not intended as a racist slur.

But don’t worry about that. As a white South African people generally just assume you are racist, so it is all good.

A) George W. Bush looks like a monkey.
B) Of course words like “ape” and “monkey” wouldn’t be seen as racist around there - around there you’re racist!


Bold added for emphasis.

– Cad

Dude, you are like that lovable marmot pet that keeps shitting everywhere. Since you are so small, cute and don’t have a clue what you’re doing it’s hard to get angry with you.

Why don’t you just go back to gnawing your paws quietly in your cage.