Racial Harmony In Postcolonial Africa

To begin with, the political factors have undermined racial harmony in post-colonial Africa. There is instability between races for example in Rwanda there is fighting between the Hutu and Tutsis. This Rwandan civil conflict can be traced back to the Belgian colonial rule of 1916 to 1962 which was characterized by poor or dissimilar divisions between the two principal ethnicities by the colonial administration. Tutsis were favored in terms of education and employment over Hutus who were neglected. Hence this conflict is still existing in Rwanda. The Tutsis unrelentingly persecuted the Hutus when they were in power. The Tutsis were a threat because their population was growing rapidly. The Tutsis were a minority who had historically ruled over the Hutus. Therefore due to instability between races, racial harmony is being undermined in postcolonial Africa.

More so, the Negro were asserted to be the oldest category and the Bantu were distinguished mainly because of language links for example the Zulu and Xhosa. The Khoisan were regarded as racially distinctive from Bantu and Negros. In east and North Africa racial classification became complicated, those people with Cushitic languages were classified as one people and those who spoke Nilotic languages were regarded as another race. Ill-treatment of races for example in south Africa, racial grow were treated differently during apartheid era. Inequality was reinforced through the efforts of the state’s institutional action. Therefore there is no harmony between the whites and the blacks in South Africa since the blacks were being seen as the second citizens with their own way of living, their own facilities which were backward hence racial discrimination.

Institutional racism still exists against black South Africans in the private sector, racism against white South Africans is on the rise. Some speculate this is due to black South Africans feeling that not enough has been done to address the inequalities that were a direct result of apartheid. Foreign nationals from other countries are increasingly subjected to violet xenophobic and racist attacks by black South Africans. Hence racial harmony is being undermined in postcolonial Africa.

To stretch further, there are religious factors which are weakening peace in Africa, racial harmony had been undermined by religious and ethnic identities. Religious and ethnic nationalism has led to conflicts about control of state power, unequal allocation of resources, citizenship issues, economic decline and ethno religious clashes. For example Nigeria has been pushed hither and thither by recurrent crises of regional or state illegitimacy, often impairing efforts at economic transformation, democratization, national cohesion and stability (Osaghe and Suberu 2005). Hence the differences in terms of religion is causing conflicts and tension, therefore undermining racial harmony.

Boahen (2003) states that discussion of religion becomes sensitive as it brings about people's beliefs in spirits, supernatural forces, gods and cults, witchcraft, sorcery, sacrifices, rituals, taboos, veneration of ancestors and ceremonies of rites of passage such as naming ceremonies, initiation rites and customs associated deaths and burials. During the precolonial period most Africans were following the traditional religion and when the Europeans came, traditional religion of Africans came under heaviest attack. The missionaries started spreading the gospel and they changed Africa’s traditional religion and their way of life by introducing Christianity and converting Africans to become Christians. Therefore in postcolonial Africa racial harmony has been undermined by religion since there are different religions with different aspects. There is now competition between Christianity and Islam and this is weakening racial harmony in postcolonial Africa. Some people are failing to have jobs because they came from a different race and following a certain religion, for example it is difficult for a Christian to be given a job by someone from Islam tradition because they believe they are from different races. Hence racial harmony being undermined due to these religious factors.

According to Lead Link (2009) African people speak over 2000 languages. Therefore the issue of different languages have undermined racial harmony in postcolonial Africa, since there is no unity or harmony between the people who speak different languages for example in Zimbabwe there is hatred between the Shona and the Ndebele. They believe that they are from different races, they can’t help each other just because this one is a Tonga that one is a Shona and that one is Ndebele.

More so, social factors have undermined racial harmony in postcolonial Africa, this is due to social interactions. According to Dautless (2012) ethnicity is based on a group called an ethnic group that is normally based on similar traits such as a common language, common heritage and cultural similarities within the group. Ethnic conflict had undermine racial harmony in postcolonial Africa, the issue of bringing together ethnic groups with little regard to their common characteristics. The European powers imposed formal territorial boundaries throughout the continent and that was when the seeds of ethnic conflict in postcolonial Africa were sown. Those boundaries were drawn with little or no consideration to the actual distribution of indigenous of ethno-cultural groups. For example the Southern and Northern protectorates of Nigeria were amalgamated into a nation. Given the fact that Africa is one of the most ethnically diverse places on earth would seem reasonable to suggest that ethnicity might have something to do the high level of civil conflict on the continent.

More so, the national boundaries in sub-Saharan Africa were established by Europeans using latitude and longitude rather than natural borders. This separated population centers from their supplies of food and natural resources. The artificial borders of modern African states cut across tribal, linguistic and religious cleavages which impede national unity and facilitate internal violence.

Furthermore, a high level of corruption and the looting of state resources is another serious and pandemic problem that makes all forms of conflict and trouble worse in Nigeria (Dike 2005). People of different races are fighting over limited resources and this is being worsened by corruption and the looting of resources by the leaders. Therefore racial harmony is being undermined.

Moreover, one of the major social problems of the 21st century is the problem of the color line. Racism is any activity by individuals, groups, institutions or cultures that treats human beings unjustly because of color. For example in Rwanda about 800000 Rwandans were killed in the government directed ethnic cleansing of Tutsis and huts. Therefore the split between the Hutus and Tutsis arose not as a result of religious or cultural differences but economic ones. Hutus were people who farmed crops while Tutsis were people who tended livestock, most Rwandans were Hutus, gradually these class divisions became seen as ethnic designations. The Hutu majority lashed out at the minority Tutsis, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee to neighboring Uganda. Therefore the majority are the ones who are having access to resources rather than the minority, hence racial harmony being undermined since there is no equality because of race.

Furthermore, violent conflict is caused mainly by social and political systems that lead to inequality and grievances and do not offer options for the peaceful expression of differences. Changes in social interactions, such as increased tensions or violent conflict, influence the socially constructed nature of ethnicity.

01 August 2022
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