Topic 2: Nationalism And Decolonization Process In Africa - History Form 4

Topic 2: Nationalism And Decolonization Process In Africa – History Form 4

History Notes Form Four (4) - All Topics, Topic 4: Africa In International Affairs - History Form 4, Topic 3: Changes In Political, Social And Economic Policies In Africa After Independence - History Form 4, Topic 2: Nationalism And Decolonization Process In Africa - History Form 4, Topic 1: Crises In The Capitalist System - History Form 4

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The period 1945 to 1970 witnessed the rise of nationalism in Africa in general and East Africa in particular. In 1957, Ghana led the way by becoming the first African country to regain her independence. In East Africa, Uganda and Kenya were colonized by Britain while Tanganyika was colonized by Germany after the First World War (WW I), Tanganyika became a Mandate territory under the trust of Britain in 1919.

Exposed to colonial evils like taxation, forced labor, low wages, land alienation, with increased western education, urbanization and experience of the World war two, African national consciousness was aroused. This was the spirit of the nationalism that finally led the three (3) states of East Africa to independence Tanganyika (1961), Uganda (1962) and Kenya (1963) under Nye ere, Milton Obote and Jomo Kenyatta respectively.


Nationalism is the feeling of national consciousness or awareness by the people that they are members of a nation and desire freedom from colonial rule. It is the feeling of national hood to belong to a certain country.


African nationalism is the desire of African people to terminate or end all forms of foreign rule. It is/was the political will of Africans in opposition to foreign domination, it entails African struggle against western colonialism and imperialism.

Generally, African nationalism was or is the desire of the sons and daughters of Africa to end/eliminate/terminate all forms of colonial exploitation, oppression, subjugation and discrimination so much that they could be free economically, politically and socially. It simply means/meant the struggle for freedom for self-governing. ALTERNATIVELY, African nationalism was/is the patriotic movement amongst Africans who were subject to colonial rule to liberate themselves for self-governance.


The process of decolonization or liberation was paramount (fundamental) in Africa because it allowed African states to regain their independence, which they had lost for many years. The rise of African nationalism goes as far back as the period of colonial conquest and the imposition of colonial rule, but later from 1945, the colonial exploitation stimulated the rise of the nationalistic struggles, which were patriotic in nature.


The factors for the rise of mass African nationalism are categorized into two (2) main categories namely, INTERNAL OR DOMESTIC AND EXTERNAL OR INTERNATIONAL FACTORS.

INTERNAL FACTORS are those reasons, which emanated within Africa and raised Africans’ awareness of the evils of colonialism. These factors made them wage the struggle for freedom; such factors included colonial exploitation through land alienation, low wages, and forced labor, heavy taxation, as a result they formed different associations and independent churches movements within Africa, which catalyzed the spirit of nationalism within Africa.

EXTERNAL FACTORS are in other words referred to as INTERNATIONAL FACTORS, which emanated outside Africa and led to the rise of African nationalism.

The rise of African nationalism in Africa had two (2) main phases namely (Early African Nationalism) or Proto nationalism and mass nationalism or (Proper African nationalism)


1. The Impact Of The Second World War (WW II) Of 1939-1945

The war weakened the economic and military strengths of the capitalist powers such as Germany; Britain, France in general, thus they found that it was not worth benefiting to keep on colonizing African countries thus some of them decided to prepare their colonies in Africa for self-governance for example Britain, moreover; they depended on US loans.

2. The Role Played By Ex-Soldiers Or Returned Soldiers From The Second World War (WW II) In 1945

The war widened the political understanding of African soldiers who fought on the side of their colonial masters. The soldiers came to realize the true meaning of freedom and self-governance, self-determination and democracy. Besides, they had new fighting techniques and how to organize themselves. Thus when they returned to Africa, they opposed colonial exploitation. Some of them became active and front liners in forming nationalistic and patriotic political parties to fight for independence for example Dedans Kimath in Kenya who was the outspoken and outstanding leader of MAUMAU uprising in Kenya in the early 1950’s. Jonathan Okwiriri who became the President of the Young Kavirondo Association other returned soldiers were General China, Joseph Kagethe just to mention a few.

3. The role played by Pan-Africanism movement.

Pan – Africanism was a massive (large) movement of all black people in the world of African origin to come together as one people against all forms of colonial exploitation.


Pan-Africanism implanted the spirit oneness, unity, solidarity, dignity and fraternity amongst Africans towards independence. It encouraged and created consciousness and awareness amongst Africans about the evils of colonialism. Pan –Africanists such as William Du Bois and Marcus Garvey as well as Kwame Nkrumah held different Pan-African congresses. The most successful congress was the fifth (5th) conference, which took place on 15th October 1945 in Manchester famously known as the Manchester Pan-African Congress. The congress was attended by young African students who were pursuing their studies abroad, for example Dr. Nandi Azikiwe (Nigeria), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Jomo Kenyatta (Kenya), Peter Abrahams (South Africa), Kamuzu Banda (Malawi) attended the congress; the main agenda of the conference was decolonization of Africa, they initiated various political movements while others formed political parties which led their countries to independence for example Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana formed CPP (Convection Peoples’ Party) which led Ghana to independence on Sunday 6th March in 1957, Jomo Kenyatta joined KAU later KANU which led Kenya to independence in 1963.

4. The role played By the Former USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

This goes as far as soon after the Russian Revolution, which took place in 1917. It was a socialist nation and that it opposed all forms of colonialism and exploitation. Thus it declared that it would practically support both morally and practically all that nationalistic movements in Africa and the world at large. Furthermore, soon after the end of the Second World War (WW II) in 1945 the USSR as the leading socialist nation in the world by then, supported African liberation movements. It is historically believed that the war of liberation in Angola and Mozambique were fundamentally supported by the former USSR

5. The Role Played By the United States (Us)

The US emerged as the leading capitalist nation in the world. It became both politically and economically strong. It applied/used its “open door policy” to support decolonization, thus it championed the decolonization process in Africa in order to spread capitalist ideology in Africa, after the war the US emerged as the strongest power economically. It used that opportunity through the Marshall Plan of 1947 to extend loans to all European nations whose economies had been badly destroyed by the WW II. One of the conditions for such countries to acquire (get) the loans was that they should grant their colonies independence first.

6. The Role Played By the British Labor Party.

This took over power in 1945. Its socialist policies were against colonialism; its activities, opinions, campaigns and anti-colonial attitudes greatly encouraged nationalism in Africa for example the labor party favored Ugandan struggle in Uganda.

7. The contribution from the Non-Aligned Movement (Nam) and the Bandung Conference of 1955.

The Bandung conference was attended by Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia from Africa. The conference emphasized on solidarity and black consciousness amongst the colonized countries.

NB: NAM was/is the organization, which was formed in the early 1961whose members were under colonialism mostly from Asia, Latin America and Africa. It is known as non-aligned movement since it did not align to either socialist block, which was led by USSR, or the capitalist block, which was led by the US. NAM championed decolonization in all countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America in the struggle for independence.

8. The role played by the United Nations by then UNO.

The UNO was established on 24th October in 1945 with its headquarters in New York. It replaced the League of Nations. The charter of the UNO was against colonialism and all forms of colonial exploitation thus the UNO through its charter, condemned colonialism. To effect this, the UNO through its trusteeship council was established which acted as the guardian vested with power to coordinate the decolonization of African, Asia and Latin American countries.

9. The Contribution of the independence of India and Pakistan.

The independence of the two Asian countries in the late 1940 has awakened African nations towards the spirit of nationalism and the struggle for independence. The independence of these countries further raised African consciousness, awareness and patriotism towards struggle for independence under the argument that “if it was possible in Indian and Pakistan why it shouldn’t be impossible in Africa?”


1. Intensive colonial exploitation in Africa

Was the first and foremost factor for the rise of African nationalism. After establishing colonial economies in Africa, the colonialists introduced different mechanisms of exploitation in Africa; for example, they used the hated colonial institutions or apparatus such as the colonial police, SILABU and the court to force African laborers to work in the colonial mines and plantations i.e. forced labor. Furthermore, the colonial states introduced forced land alienationcorporal punishment, heavy taxation and low wages amongst Africans something which created grievances amongst the majority marginalized Africans against the colonialists, hence the African waged the struggle against the evils of colonialism.

2. The role played by the African elites.

The role of the educated Africans who firstly received colonial education was of paramount importance. The colonial education that they received during colonialism became the tool and a good 7weapon to end colonialism such elites include (d) the first President of Kenya (Jomo Kenyatta), President of Tanganyika (Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere), the first President of Ghana (Dr. Kwame Nkrumah), the first President of Zimbabwe (Robert Gabriel Mugabe), the first President of South Africa under majority rule (Nelson Mandela) and many others just to mention a few. These educated elites played a fundamental role of educating Africans of the evils of colonialism and that they mobilized their fellows towards forming political parties which at the end of the day led their respective countries to independence.

3. The role played by social welfare associations.

Africans established these associations in order to end poor working conditions, discrimination and colonial exploitation general. These welfare and social associations mobilized colonial workers in industries, mines and plantations to go on strikes/boycotts against the colonial exploitation, thus these social and welfare associations created awareness and consciousness amongst colonial workers, examples of these included.

  • In East Africa, there was the Kikuyu Central Association in Kenyathe Young Kavirondo in Kenya under Harry Thuku, the Railway African Association in Tanganyika, the Tanganyika Territory Civil Service Association (TTCSA) under Martin Kayamba as its founder.
  • In Central Africa, there were the Mombera Native Association in Nyasa Land, industrial and commerce union in Southern Rhodesia.
  • In West Africa there were, the People’s Union which was formed in 1908 in Lagos Nigeria, the Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society with its main branches in Nigeria and Ghana (Gold coast)

4. The role played by the independent church movements in Africa.

These were the autonomous free and independent churches formed by Africans to challenge the European church leadership and their teachings. However, the independent churches did not only preach religious issues but also they addressed social, political and economic exploitation by the colonialists to Africans. These churches were also against the European missionaries, white masters and colonial government officials who were basically the agents of imperialism.

Examples of these independent church movements include (d)

  • The Watch Tower Church Movement which operated mainly in Malawi from 1906
  • The African National Church and church of God in Tanganyika
  • The Kikuyu Orthodox Church in Kenya

By and large, these independent church movements created and implanted the spirit of oneness, unity and solidarity, awareness and encouragement amongst Africans

5. The role played by peasant cooperatives. Peasant cooperatives and organizations, which were established by farmers in order to fight for good and fair prices for their farms, produce. These included

  1. Kilimanjaro Native cooperative union (KNCU)
  2. Usambara Native growers, The Bukoba cooperative union

6. The independence of Ghana on 6th March 1957.

Ghana became the first African British colony to dismantle the colonial chains under the charismatic leadership of the late Kwame Nkrumah. The independence of Ghana became the point of reference to many African states, which were still under colonialism. It created awareness, consciousness and courage to the rest of African states, which were still under colonialism. To affect this, Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah led the liberation of other African states something, which steered very African nationalism.

7. Italo – Ethiopian crisis or conflict

Up to the mind 1930’s, Ethiopia was one of the African states which did not fall under the chains of colonialism, the attempt to establish colonial domination by the Italians was militarily crushed in 1896 at the battle of Adowa. The conflict raised strong emotion throughout Africa, Asia and other black people in Diaspora. Many African states drew lessons from Ethiopia hence marked the highest time for Africans to wage mass nationalism.

8. The played by political parties

There were different political parties formed in Africa these includes TANU in Tanganyika, ANC in Kenya, KANU in Kenya and CCP in Ghana. These political parties contributed to the rise of nationalism in Africa simply because they specified evils of colonialism to its members they also resisted colonial exploitation openly

9. The played by colonial social infrastructures

Also played a big role in facilitating the spread and the rise of African nationalism that’s why some historian do say that colonialism sown a seed of its own destruction, infrastructures like railways roads facilitated the nationalistic activities in rural and urban centers by spreading the massage of liberations in all parts of Africa.

10. The played by mass media especially newspaper played a big role in spreading awareness among the population in both rural and urban areas such newspaper included Sauti ya TAA in Tanganyika The pilot and the comet in Nigeria.

11. Formation of segregated African schools

After realizing that the missionary and colonial schools taught nothing but European based syllabus some African societies began their own schools, like among the kikuyu in Kenya Africans were taught African syllabus .this helped in educating Africans and developing the spirit of nationalism.


African states employed or waged different means in the struggle for independence. The methods employed/used/waged depended of course on the nature of the colonial economy which was practiced in the colony, for example almost all African colonies which were settler colonies regained their freedom through the barrel of gun because the settlers had had invested much in the respective colonies thus they were not willing to grant them independence. The common forms of struggles were:

1. Constitutional/peaceful means

In this method, the colonies used peaceful means such as negotiation, dialogues diplomacy while demanding for their freedom. Most of the colonies, which attained their freedom through this means, were under the UNO Trusteeship council. The respective nationalistic leaders went almost annually to the UNO Trusteeship council to plead for the freedom of their countries examples of the African countries which regained their freedom through constitutional means are/were Ghana (1957), Tanganyika (1961) etc.

2. Armed struggle/guerilla warfare barrel of gun/bloodshed

This was the means employed by some African states to liberate themselves. Most of these were the ones in which settlers had invested much and that they were not willing to leave for it was like committing an economic suicide examples of African states which regained their freedom through this means were Kenya (1963), Zimbabwe (1980), Congo (1960), Angola (1975) etc.

3. Combinational means

It was a blend of both constitutional and armed struggle. Some countries embarked on this method following the failure of the peaceful means. A par excellence example is South Africa which embarked on armed struggle soon after the March 21st 1960 Sharpeville massacre. The ANC leaders being led by Oliver Thambo and Nelson Mandela formed the fighting wing (Ukhomto we sizwe). (The spear of the Nation) which led liberation movement.

4. Revolutionary means

A revolution is a complete overthrow of the existing system of governance by a group, which is subjected to it and is being mistreated, exploited, and discriminated; oppressed etc. a par excellence example of a colony, which waged this means for its liberation, is Zanzibar undertook holistic revolution on Sunday 12th January in 1964. The revolution, which completely overthrew, the Jamshid Abdullah Sultanate regime


The social and welfare associations were very instrumental in the process of decolonization for they occupied the notable position in raising people’s (Africans) awareness and consciousness such social and welfare associations included. The young Kavirondo welfare association, The Kikuyu social and workers’ associations just to mentioned a few.


  1. The social welfare associations performed their tasks as trade unions whereby demanded good working and living conditions for workers as well as better salaries or wages
  2. The social and welfare associations played a great role of providing political education to African communities in form of political meetings (rallies) by educating them of the evils of colonialism such as taxation, forced labor, land alienation and so forth.
  3. Some social welfare associations organized protests and demonstrations against the colonial authorities. They also mobilized their members to raise funds to meet various financial needs; for example, the Kikuyu central association raised fund and sent Jomo Kenyatta to London to present their grievances to the colonial government
  4. Some welfare associations in Africa published journals which acted as a communication channel for reaching out their supporters
  5. Some social welfare associations awakened their members on the injustices of colonialism, for example, Ukambani in Kenya, demonstrations were called because of the increased awareness.
  6. Some welfares’ infrastructure such as offices, came to be used by the nationalist leaders for example in Tanganyika most of the TAA (Tanganyika African Association (1929) come to be used by TANU (Tanganyika African National Union (1954)
  7. They also raised Africans awareness and that implanting the spirit of consciousness and courage in them (Africans)


  1. Discuss the strengths weakness and contribution of protest and religious movements during the struggle for independence.
  2. Explain the roles and problems experienced by social welfare associations during the struggle for independence


  1. Lack of enough funds
  2. Colonial suppression. For example, most of their members were arrested e.g., Jomo Kenyatta was arrested.
  3. Imprisonment and assassination of their members.
  4. Banning of associations e.g. the Kikuyu central association were banning
  5. Inadequate infrastructure for example office
  6. Disunity among members (lack of unity among members) e.g. Harry Thuku
  7. Illiteracy amongst members. Some of the members were not educated they did not know about their right so it was difficult to mobilize them to struggle for independence.


The African religious movement was one of the major movements that prevailed in the early 20th c amongst Africans. This either took the form of indigenous protest movements or inform of meetings and teachings. The Independent churches which had broken away from white missionary churches. The breaking away of Africans from various western missionary churches to independent churches was an expression of a protest against colonial domination in Africa.

The independent African church movements were against all evils of colonialism. They broke away from the missionary churches having realized that the white men’s churches did not intend to civilize Africans nor to spread Christianity in Africa but to smoothen Africans to accept colonialism. They broke away from the missionary churches having realized that the white men’s churches did not intend to civilize Africans or to spread Christianity in Africa but to soften Africans to accept colonialism.

The independent African churches had the following features in common

  1. They were led by Africans
  2. They were against some aspects of the Western culture
  3. They emphasized on in calculating the African culture
  4. They worked hand in hand with the African political associations
  5. They broke away from Western churches


  1. They established their own independent schools in which the African children were taught their culture as well as the evils of colonialism, later on, those students who received the education in those schools became political activists.
  2. They taught Africans that the missionaries were the mere agents of colonialism and not fully evangelical as they preached.
  3. The religious movements and churches instructed Africans not to pay tax. The protests and religious movements increased the level of consciousness amongst Africans.
  4. They counter-attacked the colonial exploitation and domination.
  5. They became a center through which various African nationalistic meetings were held to reach various plans.
  6. They stimulated moral and courage toward fighting for national independence. For instance, the national church of Nigeria and Cameroon said prayers for Africans to free themselves from imperialism.
  7. Through these movements, the message of freedom was easily conveyed to the people. This is because during church services Africans were emphasized to hate colonial affairs in their areas.
  8. They emphasized unity for all Africans to fight for their rights. In this case, Africans became so strong in fighting against European exploitation, discrimination and oppression.
  9. They provided a good forum through which the Africans expressed their strong ideas and feelings, which were against the evils of colonialism and European Christianity.

Generally, It can be concluded that, independence church movement played great role in the struggle against colonialism in Africa. As through these movements, Africans became active and prepared up to fight against colonialism and all its manifestation.


  1. Conflicts amongst the church leaders, every one demanded leadership position so brought conflict amongst themselves.
  2. Lack of enough trained professionals; most of them were not well trained.
  3. Poor managerial skills; they were disorganized
  4. Financial problem, they depended on the little amount of money from their churches
  5. Betrayal/renegade


Ghana, a British colony, was originally called the Gold Coast. It was the first African colony South of Sahara to regain her independence. It regained her independence on 6th March 1957 from the British under the abled leadership of its first President the late Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) with his nationalistic political party CPP (Convention People’s Party)

Kwame Nkrumah was the first elite to get colonial education and he was the strongest believer of Pan-Africanism. He employed different methods to demand for the independence of Ghana through constitutional means, for instance the use of boycotts and peaceful demonstrations following the CPP action against the colonial government in Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was imprisoned in 1950. In 1951, elections were held in absence of Kwame Nkrumah but the CPP won 33 seats against the GGCC, which won 3 seats. Dr. Nkrumah was later released from prison to form a government after his Party’s landslide victory. Therefore, in 1952 then he became the Gold Coast Prime Minister. As time went on the CPP’s popularity grew-in the 1956 elections the CPP won 71 seats against thirty-three (33) seats of the opposition parties. On March 6, Wednesday 1957, the Gold Coast became independent taking the name of the ancient empire “Ghana”.

In July 1960 Ghana became a republic, which Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became the full executive President and chief of all armed forces.


  1. Good strong and charismatic leadership of the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He was educated and very influential politician of the 20th c in Africa. He was able to form the nationalist political party CPP in 1949 which led Ghana to independence.
  2. Good and clear policies and slogans of the CPP party which were well understood by all Ghanaians for example the most popular CPP slogan were “seek first the political kingdom and all things will be added into to it, self governance now and independence now”
  3. Ghana did not suffer much from the problem of tribalism and ethnicity as opposed to other African colonies. The presence of few settlers in Ghana made it possible for it to regain its independence earlier than any African colony.
  4. The presence of few settlers in Ghana made it possible for it to regain its independence earlier than any African colony.
  5. The role played by the ex-soldiers in Ghana
  6. The Gold coast was amongst many African colonies that recruited and supplied soldiers who fought for the colonial administration during the first and the Second World Wars. The ex-soldiers were promised good jobs and other amenities once they returned from the wars. Unfortunately, due to high inflation, which was caused by the WW II, and I the colonial authorities failed to offer the ex-soldiers sufficient pensions and other benefits that they had promised them earlier. These unfulfilled promises led to riots. As a result, the ex-soldiers used the experience and exposure they had acquired during the war to organize and mobilize people to join the CPP towards the struggle for independence.
  7. The CPP got great support from cocoa growers (farmers and peasants) who subscribed material support such as funds to engineer the struggle in Ghana.
  8. Ghana was considerably a small country geographically, besides it had good transport and communication system, which linked people together.
  9. The role played by English language, which united Ghanaians together. Through this language, it was easy for the people to use this language to understand policy documents and slogans easily.
  10. The role-played by newspapers for example the presence of the Accra Evening news. Nationalist leaders and writers wrote different articles in it to government through this, newspaper the CPP messages, policies and slogans reached the majority poor.


By its virtue of being the first colony south of Sahara to dismantle the chains of colonialism, the first President of the independent Ghana, the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah uttered. “The independence of Ghana would be meaningless if the rest of Africa remained in the shackles of colonialism.”

To affect this, Ghana championed the decolonization of other African colonies

  1. He (Nkrumah) embraced up the Pan-African movement and conferences. In April 1958, leaders and political activists from Egypt, Ethiopia, Morocco, Tunisia and Ghana met in Accra-Ghana. This conference had agenda on how best the decolonization process could take place. It laid down methods and tactics to be employed in the liberation process.
  2. Ghana campaigned for the invitation of the countries, which were still under colonialism as they were given methods and plans as to how to paralyze (end) colonialism in their respective countries.
  3. He (Nkrumah) championed the formation of the Organization of African Unity, which both materially and morally supported the decolonization process in Africa. Ghana under Nkrumah pled other African countries, which were independent by 1960’s to form the OAU decolonization committee, which could work hand in hand with the UNO –Trusteeship council to end colonialism. The Nkrumah’s dream came into a good fruition on 25th May 1963 when the OAU was officially founded with its headquarters in Addis Ababa-Ethiopia
  4. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and his independent Ghana provided financial and inspirited morally to continue with the decolonization process in countries like Nyasa land (Malawi) and Zaire
  5. Ghana under Nkrumah, established an ideological college in Accra named after his name, which was responsible in teaching Ghanaians and other African teenagers the socialist Ideology and the struggle for independence. Many African leaders attended the training for example Robert Gabriel Mugabe attended the training where he harnessed a well of knowledge and skills on how best to struggle for the independence of Zimbabwe.
  6. Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah strengthened Pan – African movement which opposed colonialism. In April 1958 all independent states like Libya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia were invited to meet in Accra. In 1960 there was another meeting in which the countries laid down plans which could be used to help other countries get their independence.
  7. Ghana became a model to other African countries to emulate (cope). This made many African countries to go for vigorous campaign against colonialism and get sovereignty like that of Ghana.
  8. It laid a foundation for other African conferences for stance in November 1959 the Cairo conference was led and proposed by Ghana.
  9. Ghana became the headquarters of ant colonial groups of Africa following her independence all issues pertaining independence in Africa were discussed in Accra Ghana.
  10. Ghana under Kwame Nkrumah strengthened Pan – African movement which opposed colonialism. In April 1958 all independent states like Libya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia were invited to meet in Accra. In 1960 there was another meeting in which the countries laid down plans which could be used to help other countries get their independence.


Tanganyika was once a German colony and a British colony at different times. It regained its independence on Sunday at 12:00 am on 9th December in 1961 under the abled leadership of its first Prime Minister the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere with his party the TANU (Tanganyika African National Union)


It was founded on seventh of July in 1954 replacing the T.A.A (Tanganyika African Association). It had the following objectives;

  1. To prepare the people of Tanganyika for self-governance and independence.
  2. To dismantle tribalism and ethnicity which were great enemies to unity and the struggle for freedom as a nation.
  3. To struggle for a democratic government and to have representatives in local district and the central government.
  4. To encourage and sensitize workers to join trade and cooperative unions which could be the right forum for them to air out their grievances such as land alienation, taxation, poor working conditions together with low wages against colonialism.
  5. To cooperate with other nationalistic political parties in other African countries towards the struggle for independence. For example, The T.A.N.U under the leadership of the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage. Nyerere cooperated fully with the A.N.C (the African National congress) in South Africa to end apartheid policy in 1994.

Question: Why did Tanganyika regain her independence earlier than Uganda and Kenya?

Question: Assess the social, economical and political developments in Tanganyika, which made it the first East African colony to regain independence


1. Good and charismatic leadership of the Late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere

He was able to organize and structure the T.A.N.U from a mere welfare oriented to as a strong nationalistic party which led Tanganyika to independence, he used to travel almost annually to the UNO trusteeship council to plead for the independence of Tanganyika.

2. Good, clear and understandable policies of the T.A.N.U

Which were easily, understood by both literate and illiterate Tanganyikans both in rural and urban areas. Examples of the T.A.N.U slogans and policies are/were: UHURU NA KAZI, TANU YAJENGA NCHI and UHURU NA UMOJA.

3. The role-played by Kiswahili language as a lingua franca, it acted as a unifying factor

It was spoken throughout the country. It became the corner stone which spread the T.A.N. U’s policies and slogans.

4. The absence of strong tribalism and ethnicity

Unlike Uganda and Kenya where ethnicity acted as a great barrier towards the struggle.

5. Tanganyika had no many settlers as opposed say to Kenya which was dominated by many settlers

Thus in Tanganyika, there were like European antagonism against Africans.

6. Tanganyika was a mandate territory, which was administered by the British as a trusteeship on behalf of the League of Nations, and later the U.N.O

Thus Tanganyika was the trusteeship territory being prepared ready for independence. Such status hurried the nationalists’ campaigns for the independence of Tanganyika through the U.N.O forum; as a result, the British did not intensify their control because it was under protectorate. Thus, Mwalimu Nyerere used to travel almost annually to the U.N.O trusteeship council to plead for the independence of Tanganyika simply because it was a protectorate territory. For example, Nyerere stated in his independence address to the United Nations General Assembly on 14th December in 1961, that “Because Tanganyika was a Trust Territory under British administration, this was a great help in my work to achieve independence for the country, namely peacefully and through nonviolent methods”.

7. The role played by newspapers such as SAUTI YA TANU

The educated people spread the TANU’s policies and slogans through these newspapers, they wrote several articles on the newspapers emphasizing the need for the Tanganyikans to govern them; such messages awakened Tanganyika’s towards the struggle for the freedom.

8. Support from the last British Governor to Tanganyika that is Sir Richard Turnbull

Sir Richard Turnbull became the best friend to Mwalimu Nyerere; he from time to time supported Mwalimu in his struggle for freedom that is why historians argue that the appointment of Sir Richard Turnbull in 1958 to be the Governor in Tanganyika facilitated the movement towards the struggle. He did not want Tanganyika to experience what happened in Kenya during the MAUMAU uprisings and when the state of emergence was declared. He thus gave great support to the TANU leaders because he did not want another MAUMAU in Tanganyika his support made Tanganyika achieve its independence earlier than the rest East African countries.

9. The role-played by the T.A.N.U. youth league

Which was composed of young energetic people who spread the TANU’s policies and slogans to its supporters throughout the country. E.g. Christopher Mtikila and Willibrod Slaa and others.

10. The role played by women in the T.A.N. U’s politics made it popular

Thus; it gained much support from the public. They played an important role in mobilizing the masses to support the TANU. They gave vigor and color to the TANU’s public rallies and demonstrations. A notable example of these women was Bibi Titi Mohamed, Vicky Nsilo Swai, and Lucy Lameck just to mention a few.


Sample question NECTA 2017. (Explain six problems faced nationalistic struggle in Tanzania).

Independence is the state of a society to be free and be able to make its own decisions in its affairs without being interfered by any external pressure. An independent nation is also said to be a sovereign state. Tanganyika attained her full political independence in 1961, December 9th with the last British governor sir Richard Tumbull and the late Mwl. Julius Nyerere who was the prime minister and became the first president of Tanganyika.

However, in 1964 it united with Zanzibar to form Tanzania. Independence in Tanganyika was successful achieved under TANU (Tanganyika national unity) was a political party leadered by Mwl. Nyerere. There is no easy walk to freedom; it faced various challenges such as discussed below.

  1. Lack of adequate funds to organize and run the activities. During the 1960s still many people under the colonial rule was extremely poor and depended on wages from colonial economy, so was the party even its leader Nyerere was a mere teacher thus the lack of funds made them to lack their accessibility to run the party activities and visit many places and hence slaved the walk to freedom. They also lacked transport fees and wages to activists.
  2. They faced strong opposition from colonial government as they were not allowed to speak in clouds or meet to discuss issues concerning with independence. Some of the independence activists were assassinated, jailed while some were exiled. This was purposely to safeguard the colonial interest particularly trade.
  3. Lack of unity among the people, some people saw the freedom fighters as troublemakers thus; they discouraged and weakened the freedom fighters by high criticism. Most of these people were those enjoyed the fruits of colonial era particularly Arab Swahilis also some people joined other parties and thus many political parties divided many people to different ideologies.
  4. Vastness of the country this was one of challenges that hindered early achieving the independence of Tanganyika. It has about hundreds kilometers squares of land. Travelling to all places to meet the people and organize them to struggle for independence was a very tough challenge. Some places were very remote and others surrounded by physical barriers such as lakes and mountains just to mention few.
  5. Poor transport facilities was primarily caused by poor advancement of technology in the sectors of infrastructure. There were impossible roads, seasonal roads and defective trains as major means for transport. In some areas, there were very dense wild animated forest and high dangerous mounts that passed as a barrier to transport vehicle like cars. This in turn slaved (limited) down the nationalists’ activists to excel well.
  6. Strong opposition from other opposition political parties such as AMNUT (All Muslim National Union of Tanganyika) and ANC (African National Congress) posed a very strong opposition to freedom fighters during their struggle to attain independence thus they supported the colonial government. Good example is cited in 1958 where Zuberi Mtemvu formed ANC (African Nationalist Congress) which went against TANU’s policies. In this scenario, the move to attain independence was indeed minimized.

Generally, it may be concluded that despite tireless attempts posed by the people in Tanganyika, in the course of time they achieved for their independence in 1961 Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere spearheading the nation and immediately after the attainment of their political independence it united with Zanzibar to for the current Tanzania.



A revolution is a complete overthrow of an existing government or a way of life in any country or state by those who were previously subjected to it. OR. Revolution is a discontented reaction through violence exercised by the majority of the country’s population ignored to gain recognition or reform when local and moderate means of political or social fail. Examples of political revolutions, which had occurred in Africa, is: The Egyptian revolution led by Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1952 and the Zanzibar revolution of 1964 led by John Tito Okello from Uganda.


Since the establishment of Arab administration, clove and coconut plantations in Zanzibar in 1840 by Sultan Seyyid Said, Africans were regarded as slaves. This situation created hatred (hostility) between Africans against Arabs.

Zanzibar regained her independence from the British on 10th December in 1963. However, the independence was for the minority Arabs in Zanzibar for Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah kept on holding the reign of Zanzibar as the Sultan. Thus, it became politically independent after the victory of the ZNP and ZPPP under Mohamed Shamte as the Prime Minister. However, economically and socially, Zanzibar was under the control of the Arabs and most of the Zanzibaris were not happy with the victory of the ZNP and ZPPP. They believed that this victory was for the minority Arabs alone who were not only exploiting them but also subjecting them to severe humiliation.

Thus, Zanzibaris believed that peaceful methods could not bring complete independence to all citizens. As a result, they prepared for a revolution from Saturday night at 8: 14p.m on 11th January 1964 and by 11:30 am Saturday on 11th January 1964 Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah and his officials had fled from Zanzibar hence complete revolution which made Zanzibar free from Sultanate exploitation, humiliation and racialism in Zanzibar. In addition, on 12th January in 1964, the Revolutionary Council of Zanzibar was established and the Late Sheikh Abed Amani Karume became its first President with his political Party the Afro- Shirazi Party (ASP). The ASP was founded on Tuesday 5th February in 1957 after the coalition of the African Association (AA) and the Shirazi Association (SA)


  1. Zanzibaris were deprived of political rights i.e. Political exploitation by the rulers that denied the Zanzibaris the right to vote were, a voter could vote if he was able to speak, read and write in Kiswahili /Arabic or English; A voter had to be a Zanzibar resident and had lived in his/her constituency for at least one year; A voter had to be a government employee for at least five years or possesses a certificate for medal of good performance; A voter had to be above 25 years. Such qualifications limited the majority of Zanzibaris the right to vote. Hence, they continued to be victims of severe exploitation and oppression on their own land. However, Zanzibaris did not calm down; they sought the revolution as a means of setting them free.
  2. Land alienation in Zanzibar. The Zanzibaris had no right to own land. Arabs who grew coconuts and cloves in the island occupied all fertile land. Zanzibaris were only recruited as labourers while remained poor peasants. This led to the revolution in Zanzibar.
  3. Monopolization of trade by foreigners. Asians of Indo-Pakistan origin controlled the commercial life of Zanzibar. The Asians were mainly Arabs and Indians who controlled the commercial sector in Zanzibar while the majority of Zanzibaris had nothing to own; furthermore, they from time to time set high prices for goods and services, as a result, the poor Zanzibaris could not afford something, which created grievances and hostility between the Zanzibaris against the Arabs in Zanzibar.
  4. The question of taxation: The government of Zanzibar under Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah introduced various forms of taxes that Africans (Zanzibaris) had to pay. Furthermore, the taxes were high such that the majority poor who were mainly the Zanzibaris failed to pay, thus they developed economic grievances against the sultanate regime in Zanzibar something, which precipitated the Zanzibar revolution of January 1964.
  5. The role played by John Okello: He was a man from northern Uganda who settled in Zanzibar in 1952 and worked as a painter; additionally, he had attained revolutionary training in Cuba. He was an official of the A.S.P. (Afro-Shirazi Party) in Pemba Island. He developed a belief as early as 1961’s of involving himself in a revolutionary army to overthrow the sultanate regime in Zanzibar. Okello was a man of determination, a skilled technician who was endowed with organizational capabilities. He acted as an instrumental and logical organizer (mastermind) of the revolution.
  6. The fall in of the clove price in the world market created many problems in Zanzibar. The government under Sultan Jamshid Bin Abdullah reduced government expenditures on social services like health care, education, a measure, which led to social sufferings, and unemployment in Zanzibar, the people of Zanzibar came together as one people to overthrow the Sultan from power hence, Zanzibar revolution.


  1. The immediate effect of the revolution was that Sultan Jamshid Bin Abdullah left the island of Zanzibar for Britain with his state officials something, which granted Zanzibar its full independence following the holy revolution. Thus, Zanzibar became a revolutionary independent country on 12th January 1964 and Sheikh Abeid Amani Karume became its first President.
  2. Social stratification was dismantled soon after the revolution; stratification such as religious differences, races and status were well checked by the new government under Karume.
  3. Zanzibar revolution facilitated the establishment of the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar on 26th April 1964, the idea which came into effect on Friday 22nd April 1964 when the two heads of the states signed the articles of the Union.
  4. Zanzibar revolution gave Zanzibar an international recognition as a sovereign state and that she became a member of both the United Nations Organization and Commonwealth of Nations.
  5. It led to nationalization of all major means of production such as land, roads, commercial companies and banks which were previously owned by the few Arabs, Indians who were basically rich. After the nationalization, they were taken and owned by the new independent revolutionary government on behalf of the public. Furthermore, the land, which was owned by minority rich Arabs and Indians, was as squarely and properly re-distributed amongst the majority of Zanzibaris.
  6. Zanzibar revolution guaranteed all Zanzibaris their political rights which they were denied before as from time to time started holding periodic elections.


Sample question – NECTA

  1. Explain the historical significance for the Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. OR
  2. What were the reasons behind for the 1964 Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar? OR
  3. The amalgamation between Tanganyika and Zanzibar was a historical phenomenon. Discuss.

The Union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika was an incidence in which the leaders of these countries joined together to have one country (Tanzania). J.K Nyerere of Tanganyika and Abeid Aman Karume of Zanzibar did this. It was formed from 26th April 1964 where the members (leaders) agreed to share among other things like defense, police, state of emergence and external affairs.

However the reasons behind the Union can be grouped into internal and external factors in a sense that there were some forces within and that from outside Africans, these can be well explained as follows:-

  1. Due to the rule played by Pan- Africanism in a since that panafricanism had for a long period been motivating all Africans to unite in order that they can fight for colonial injustices, oppression and exploitation in that case Nyerere and Karume being inspired with this idea of Pan – Africanism, they decided to be the first African countries unite.
  2. Due to the influence of western countries like USA, British and France. This is because the countries regarded Zanzibar as Cuba because she bought the idea of communism which was a danger to the western Brock to be free from communism spread they decided to pressurize the president of Tanganyika to find the way out by conversing Abeid Aman Karume to Unite
  3. Besides the spread of communism also Nyerere and Karume had a very long historical friend ship in a sense that Nyerere influenced the formation of ASP and Zanzibar Revolution thus to cement their friendship Union became to be very important.
  4. On the other hand, there was internal opposition within Zanzibar after the revolution done by a group of radicals who in a sense spread opposed and challenged Karume as Karume became unsecured it later precipitated for the Union in order to contain over these radicals.
  5. Likewise TANU and ASP as major political parties in this two countries had a very close relationship due to the fact that they all had common interests to unite Africans since ZAA and TAA in Zanzibar and Tanganyika respectively in this case the Union would further their close tie they had.
  6. Proximity / closeness of the two countries played significant role to the Union simply because Zanzibar and Tanganyika geographically are too closer and it is said that the distance from Dar-es-Salaam to Unguja is shorter than the distance from Unguja to Pemba this significant that that people used to leave regular contact in trading activities, therefore Union to them was not a now thing.
  7. Zanzibar and Tanganyika experienced same colonialism because they were all under British rule being under the same rule; they experienced the same burden and administration this eventually made them to unite together so that they can keep on adopting same experience they had.
  8. Other reasons that drove out for the Union between these countries were close relationship that the people of Tanganyika and Zanzibar had this are because most of the people in Zanzibar came from Tanganyika as Arabs took them during the slave trade. Thus the Union would help people of these countries to enjoy much with former brothers and sisters whom they separated each other.

Generally, It should be put in mind that the Union between Zanzibar and Tanganyika brought much benefits to the people concerned because people are free to move from one place to another they also share many aspects such as social, political and even economic matters through to some extent there are many changes resulting from such Union to the extent that other members decide even to pull out from the Union.

Topic 2: Nationalism And Decolonization Process In Africa – History Form 4


Most of the African countries, which were massively dominated by settlers, regained their independence by armed struggle. A good number of these countries adopted this means following the failure of peaceful means. The presence of many settlers was one of the most crucial factors, which determined the nature of the struggle. Examples of the African colonies, which waged armed struggle as a means of liberating themselves, were Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Kenya


Zimbabwe was a settler-dominated colony and many of its people were divided in leadership. Zimbabwe was under the British colonialism. It became independent on Friday 18th April in 1980 under the leadership of its first Prime Minister and President Mr. Robert Gabriel Mugabe who is still the incumbent President with his nationalistic political party ZANU – PF (Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front. Zimbabwe was formerly known as Southern Rhodesia. Being dominated by settler elements and racial policies carried out by the colonial state, the settlers never agreed to; any attempt at self-governance was encountered by strong opposition as a result political parties were banned and most of their leaders were imprisoned like Joshua Nkomo.

To make matters worse, on Thursday 11th November in 1965, Ian Smith’s regime declared the Unilateral Declaration for Independence (UDI) independence from Britain. The independence was consolidated in 1970 by the negotiation made between settlers and smith’s regime and the British. In these negotiations, the minority regime promised that African minority rule would be reached in 2035


  1. Heavy investments in Zimbabwe by settlers. From the so very beginning, the British settlers who engaged themselves in large-scale agriculture and in mining activities dominated Zimbabwe. Hence, the settlers were not ready to sacrifice their investments so easily thus, they were not ready to leave and that they did not want to grant independence to Southern Rhodesia for they were to stay. This facilitated the armed struggle.
  2. The constitution, which was adopted in 1922 October. This constitution gave special power to the white minority (settlers) who from time to time and place to place suppressed Zimbabweans political autonomy. In this constitution, the settlers granted a responsible government. This made Southern Rhodesia a self-governing colony. Thus, it had its own parliament, army, and police force. This measure gave the settlers a lot of power they thus used their newly won power to consolidate themselves against the Africans.
  3. Settlers’ exploitation to Zimbabweans: the settlers exploited Zimbabweans through forced labor, land alienation, low wages and so on. This is due to the undoubted fact that the Zimbabweans have had many social and economic grievances, which were practiced by the settlers. This precipitated armed struggle in Zimbabwe.
  4. Banning of political parties and imprisonment of radical political leaders intensified the choice of armed struggle as a means towards liberation in Southern Rhodesia. The banning of the ZANU-PF and imprisonment of leaders like Joshua Nkomo did not bring to an end the consciousness and need of Zimbabweans towards independence. The ZANU-PF continued with its liberation at this time operating from Mozambique, where its leaders received much support from the Soviet Union id est. USSR.
  5. Zimbabweans were not politically united towards the demand for freedom. The freedom fighters were divided amongst themselves that is why they were many political parties such as the U.N.C, D.P, ZANU, and ZAPU. All these political parties had no cooperation and that each party had its own mission. Due to this division, the white settlers in Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) were able to introduce their puppets and policies to suppress the Zimbabweans without much resistance, this made the prominent nationalistic leaders such as Joshua Nkomo and Robert Gabriel Mugabe to wage/employ armed struggle to erode this puppet.
  6. Tribalism shown by Shona and Ndebele led the colonialists to foresee the occurrence of civil and tribal wars if independence was granted without keen examination/assessment, hence, they delayed the granting of the majority rule in Zimbabwe under the fake excuse/pretext that they could enter into civil wars. A move that precipitated armed struggle in Zimbabwe.
  7. At first ZANU as a nationalistic party had not attained much support from Zimbabweans for the puppets from other political parties such as the ZAPU implanted propaganda amongst the Zimbabweans that ZANU was an imperialistic and not a nationalistic political party. This propaganda made ZANU leaders to wage armed struggle as a means of proving to the Zimbabweans that it was not the imperialistic party as argued before.
  8. Lack of representatives in the legislative council. Zimbabweans were not included in the legislative council and hence Zimbabweans hated this and used guns to fight for their freedom.


Kenya is/was one of the British East African colonies to regain its independence via armed struggle. The Mau Mau movement was the movement relying on nationalist and violence as the last resort (attempt) for attaining Kenya’s independence from the British. It began following the banning of the Kenyan African Union (K.A.U) as a result, from 1945 – 1952, the movement engaged in guerilla warfare in the Mau Mau mountains and Aberdare forest with its aim of attaining majority rule by pressuring the colonial government; most of its members were the ex-servicemen, ex-soldiers, wage laborers, extremist groups etc. the struggle for independence did not end until 12th December 1963 when the KANU led Kenya to independence under the abled leadership of Jomo Kenyatta.


  1. The first and foremost reason for the armed struggle in Kenya is that Kenya was a settler colony; settlers flew to Kenya by 1900’s where they established settler farms. The white settlers in Kenya regarded Kenya as a crown colony and that they were there to stay. They invested heavily in manufacturing and processing industries, and in transport and communication networks; this made them reluctant to grant Kenyans their freedom peacefully something which necessitated the application (use) of the barrel of the gun in the struggle for independence.
  2. The influence from the ex-soldiers who fought wholeheartedly in the second world war (WWII) (1939 – 1945) it is estimated that more than 75,000 Kenyans fought on the side of Britain in the Kings’ African rifles; the white soldiers who fought in the war were well enumerated, they were given loans with dear interests, on contrary the lives of the Kenyan soldiers became worse than when they left for the war, thus developed grievances against the colonial government in Kenya and that they joined the nationalistic movements in Kenya in their attempt to wipe away colonialism. A par excellence example was the logical and strategically organizer of the Mau Mau movements in Kenya who went by the names Dedan Kimath.
  3. Intensive colonial exploitation in Kenya precipitated the armed struggle for the colonial government intensified land alienation especially in the Kikuyu high lands, which were fertile, furthermore, the colonial government introduced notorious taxation in Kenya. For example, the MATITI TAX was introduced and the Kipande system which increased exploitation in Kenya. Eventually Kenyans made up their minds and started armed struggle against the colonial government.
  4. Banning of political parties and the imprisonment of radical political leaders intensified armed struggle in Kenya in the protest against the colonial government move of banning political activities in Kenya. For example, (KAU) i.e. Kenyan African Union was banned in 1952. The logical and strategically organizer of MAUMAU movements in Kenya, General Dedan Kimath was arrested on 21st October 1956; he was detained and secretly assassinated by the colonial government officials. All these precipitated and intensified armed struggle in Kenya.
  5. Denial of basic human rights such as freedom of speech and the right of Kenyans to join in assemblies and associations.
  6. Injustices; settlers were favored and were basically provided with better transport facilities, communication services and other indispensable social amenities such as better health care, education and of course security. On the other end of spectrum, Kenyans who were basically the majority in Kenya had no access to such facilities. The inequalities in these prompted Kenyans to take up arms and fight for their right whence armed struggle.
  7. Kenyans were disturbed by the white’s strict and brutal supervision of the government schemes. It is historically believed that the colonial government officials in different colonial government supervised corporal punishment to those who did not constantly supply their labor power in the schemes. All these intensified Kenyans’ grievances and hatred against the colonial government hence armed struggle.
  8. A desire to maintain African dignity. The colonialists despised their culture (Africans) to make matters worse; they abused and despised the educated Africans. Exempli gratia, Governor Philip Mitchell described educated people like Jomo Kenyatta as resembling twelve years old children.

In a nutshell, Kenya eventually got her independence in l963 under the leadership of Jomo Kenyatta of KANU, becoming the last country in East Africa to get her independence. KANU provided a country with the ruling group of great ability. Within a year of independence, the opposition party KADU had gone into voluntary dissolution, its members deciding either to retire from politics or to join the ruling ranks.

However, it proved impossible to maintain the structure of one party-state. In O1966 Odinga Odinga after Kenyatta, the most powerful politician broke with his old associate and formed a new political party the Kenya peoples’ union. He opposed Kikuyu domination in the politics, him being Luo many his followers were his tribesmen. He also opposed KANU ideological approach of handling the Kenyan problems. He favored the radical approach.

In sharp contrast to situation in Tanzania the Kenyan government policy had encouraged the growth of a class of local capitalists whose new acquired wealthy contrasted sharply with the poverty of the high growing unemployed urban population. That was-the starting point of Kenyan income inequality.


Mozambique, like any other African countries began the struggle for justice in the late 1920’s. In 1962, a group of exiled Mozambicans met in Dar-es-salaam and merged their parties to form one political party called the FRELIMO (Frente de Libertacao de Mozambique) i.e. Front for the liberation of Mozambique under their leader Eduardo Mondlane. After the unification of UDENAMO, MANU and UNAMI, the new party FRELIMO settled for two (2) years to properly organize it. Most of the nationalistic movements such as organization, mobilization and the training were done in Dar-es-salaam and the nearby region to Mozambique i.e. Mtwara in Tanzania despite being banned by the colonial government, by 1964. The FRELIMO had succeeded in setting up training camps inside Mozambique. By 1968, the FRELIMO had had controlled a reasonable area in Mozambique. In the same year, the party managed to hold the second congress party inside Mozambique. As a result, on Monday 3rd February in 1969 the party leader Eduardo Mondlane was assassinated by a parcel bomb while in Dar-es-salaam where the party’s headquarters were temporarily located after following the banning of political parties in Mozambique.


Portugal had three colonies in Africa which included; Angola, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, and Mozambique. These countries attained their independence late as compared to other African countries; the Portuguese government was therefore determined not to give independence to these nations because were seen as vital props to the Portuguese economy. It should however be noted that, the Portuguese had stayed in the colonies for about 50 years even before the Berlin Conference of 1884 – 1885 more especially along the coastal area, later occupied and colonized the interior parts.

Also the Africans in the Portuguese colonies were equally determined to win their independence
thus prolonged guerrilla struggle began throughout the Portuguese colonies the lead was taken by a smallest colony of Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde, led by Amilcar Cabral, he founded the (P.I.G.C) Portido Africano, da independence da Guinea Cabo Verde in 1956 but He was assassinated in January 1976 only two years after the independence of 1974.

In Angola Agustino Netto led guerrilla struggle against the Portuguese after founding M.P.L.A (Movemento popular de libertagao de Angola) in December 1956 in Luanda among the working class, and were able to get their independence in 1975. Eduardo Mondlane led the struggle for Mozambique and his deputy Samora Machel after founding FRELIMO (Frente de Libertacao de Mozambique) found in 1962 in the capital of Tanzania Dar- es- salaam they declared war officially in September 1964.


Sample questions, Necta 2005

Why did the Portuguese colonies in Africa engage in armed struggle to liberate themselves?


Armed struggle refers to the technique / method adopted by African countries as a means to literate themselves especially in those colonies where colonial states were reluctant to grant independence (settler colonies). The case to Portuguese colonies in Africa like Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Angola used armed struggle to liberate themselves because of the following:-

  1. Poor/weak economic base of Portugal. She was the poorest country among the colonialists, she had not Under gone industrial revolution, therefore she regarded the heavily depended on her colonies for economic prosperity at home that is why she was very reluctant at granting independence to her colonies, which she viewed like committing economic suicide.
  2. The Portugal colonial policy Portugal regarded her colonies as overseas provinces since Portugal was a small nation, she was very interested to acquiring more oversea land whereby they could stay forever and obtains raw materials exploit market for their goods and settlement of surplus population.
  3. Settlers opposed the granting of independence to the Africans because of heavy investment in the colonies. The numbers of settlers were in big in numbers in many Portuguese colonies with high investment in agriculture and other economic ventures in the colonies. They therefore feared economic losses once the black majority takes over power.
  4. The Portuguese exploited the Africa maximally as to support their economy in the metro pole such as, imposed harsh taxes like dog, tax poll tax, this was great economically to them that is why they hesitated to grant independence to the African early like other European nation.
  5. Land alienation .All African fertile land was taken and known as crown land, it was confiscated for the construction of infrastructures, establishment of colonial economies establishment of white plantation, and this was too precious to them to give independence to the African easily.
  6. Mass illiteracy. Many Portuguese were illiterate and hence conservative and ignorant of what was taking place outside world .Other European nations had changed their way of exploitation to neo-colonialism. Since Portuguese were short sighted, they never dreamt of granting independence to their colonies soon, such situation prompted the use of armed struggle for the African as a means to get their independence.
  7. Furthermore, burning of political parties in the colonies this event made African nationalistic decide to have their centers in other independent African countries like Tanzania so as to mobilize their military struggle.
  8. Portugal was a fascist state by natures, with no democracy. This was because through their dictatorial leadership of Salazar Africans were in turn oppressed, exploited as well as humiliated, this was followed due to the fact that, Portuguese believed to have ever lasting civilizing mission to Africans.
  9. Due to wrong concept the Portuguese had to Africans of under estimating the strength of the colonial subjects (Africans) in their nationalist demands and struggles she expected that being a NATO member her subjects would always be suppressed and ruled forever, this wrong concept made Africans to be angry over it.

Generally with all attempts made by Africans through their political parties such as FRELIMO in Mozambique, UNITA and MPLA in Angola and PAIGC in Guinea Bissau, Portuguese colonies eventually managed to attain their independence, this is because Guinea Bissau got its independence in 1974, whereas Angola and Mozambique in 1975 attained their independence.


South Africa being a settler colony, which was colonized by both Boers from Holland/Netherlands and the British at, different times, regained its majority rule via both peaceful and armed struggle means. This is due to the very naked fact that South Africa had suffered much from the “Apartheid policy” which separated the majority blacks from the minority whites in South Africa.

The first African nationalist political organization formed in South Africa was the South African Native National Congress (SANNC) in 1912. However, 13years later, the S.A.N.N.C changed its name into the African National Congress (A.N.C); i.e. in 1935. By the early 1940’s the party (A.N.C) received young educated radicals like Walter Sithulu, Antony Lembele, Oliver Thambo and Nelson Madiba Mandela. These new men formed the strongest A.N.C Youth League.

In 1955, the A.N.C organized a congress, which produced the freedom charter. The charter declared that South Africa belonged to all races. Due to this declaration by the A.N.C, the government arrested the A.N.C leaders charging them with treason (kesi ya uhaini). By 1961, all of them were released. In 1959, Robert Sobukwe walked out of the A.N.C and formed Pan African Congress (P.A.C) under the pretext that the A.N.C leaders were too reluctant to employ armed struggle against the Apartheid policy in South Africa. However, on 21st March 1960 both the P.AC and A.N.C supporters made peaceful demonstrations against the Boers’ government as far as the pass laws were concerned. It is historically recorded that 69 black African people were bitterly shot to death and wounding 180 by the police in Sharpeville where the demonstrations were held, thus termed as SHARPEVILLE MASSACRE

By and large, Apartheid is Afrikaans word, which means “Separate according to race”, thus Apartheid policy was a color separateness policy between the black majorities against the white minority in South Africa. It was a color bar between blacks and whites. It started to mushroom in 1910 when the federal government was formed in South Africa.

However, the policy was officially declared and institutionalized in South Africa by the Boer’s President Dr. Malan in 1948. During the course of the Apartheid, the blacks were oppressed, degraded and discriminated in all spheres of life. They were the third class citizens in South Africa; they received the worst social amenities (services) such as health care, education and security.


In 1913, the Native Land Act was passed reserving seventy-eight (78%) percent of the fertile land and best of South Africa’s land to the whites, black people comprised of 70% of the population in South Africa and were given (8%) of the unproductive land. The black people were forced to stay in reserve areas called BANTUSTANTS.

  • In 1923, the Native Urban Areas Act was passed whereby Africans’ movements to urban areas where the whites settled were restricted. This armed at reducing black political activism in the towns.
  • In 1927, the immorality Act was passed which prohibited interracial sexual intercourse; each race was required to marry within its own race i.e. blacks and black; whites and whites
  • In 1953, the Bantu Education Act was passed whereby Africans were not allowed to be given education similar to that of the whites.
  • Apartheid policy suppressed individual rights and liberty. Blacks in South Africa were deprived of (Nyimwa) freedom to association, freedom to assembly, freedom to speech, and freedom to worship. The Boers government heavily taxed the blacks and the revenue collected was used to improve social services in the whites’ settlement.

Banning of political parties; blacks were not represented in the government and the parliament. Thus, the parliament and government were for the whites only. For example, on 8th April 1960 after 21st March Sharpeville massacres both the ANC and P.A.C were officially banned.


  1. The Killings of more than 60 black people and many others wounded during the demonstrations awakened the need for Africans to intensify armed struggle and that the Sharpeville massacres marked the end of peaceful means towards the struggle for the majority rule in South Africa.
  2. The demonstrations and strikes united the young black Africans and the adult black Africans to resist the white domination in South Africa.
  3. The killings at Sharpeville precipitated an international awakening and opposition to injustices and racial segregation in South Africa. The international community became aware of what was going on in South Africa.
  4. The O.A.U (Organization of African Unity) pled and persuaded the western powers not to sell firearms to the South African white racist regime.
  5. The Sharpeville massacres led to the formation of the Ukhomto we sizwe (spear of the nation) by Nelson Mandela as a fighting wing by the A.N.C Youth.
  6. In 1964, Nelson Mandela and his colleagues were detained; Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. The leaders who were not imprisoned such as Oliver Thambo fled into exile and tried to set up an A.N.C (wing in friendly countries like Tanzania and Zambia. For example, the A.N.C wing was established in Mazimbu -Morogoro where the A.N.C opened its branch; military trainings were carried out there, furthermore, other fighters established RADIO FREEDOM, which was broadcasting from Mazimbu and heard in South Africa. The radio station aired radio programs, which awakened blacks in South Africa about the evils of the white racist regime in South Africa. The programs pled black South Africans to come together as one people against APARTHEID.

Despite the fact that most of the ANC leaders were in prison, the ANC kept on with the nationalistic movements in and outside South Africa. For example Steve Biko organized a massive black students’ demonstrations in South Western Township (SOWETO) on 16th June 1976 in which students were protesting against the government’s decision of introducing separateness policy in education where African students were required to be taught in Afrikaans language as a medium of instruction in black African schools and colleges while the white students were to be taught in foreign languages such as French, English etc. as a result, dozens of black African students were shot to death before the very naked eyes of the police officers while others were badly maimed (injured) and many others were imprisoned where they were brutally, tortured, the day is historically commemorated on SOWETO MASSACRES, and it is celebrated on 16th June every year as agreed by the AU by then O.A.U as an African child day.


  1. Formation of political parties such as the S.A.N.N.C (1912) later the A.N.C in 1935, despite that some political parties were banned yet; they played a fundamental role in awakening blacks in South Africa about the evils of Apartheid. Furthermore, some of the political parties organized peaceful demonstrations against the Apartheid policy.
  2. The use of mass peaceful demonstrations, which pled the Boers’ government to grant the majority rule in South Africa. Political activists, adult and children came together demanding for the liquidation of the Apartheid policy in South Africa. For example, the 21st March 1961 famously termed as Sharpeville demonstrations against pass laws in South Africa and the 16th June 1976, which is historically, recorded as Soweto (South West Township) demonstrations. These demonstrations made the black people aware of the evils of APARTHEID POLICY.
  3. The use of arts such as poems, novels and songs, which raised the blacks’ awareness and feelings as far as the Apartheid policy, was concerned. For example, Lucky Dube launched his music album “Together as One” which mobilized the black and whites in South Africa to come together as brothers and sisters, other musicians like Bob Marley (Jamaican) and Miriam Makeba played their distinguished roles in persuading the international community to intervene what was going on in South Africa. Furthermore, novelists such as Peter Abrahams published the novel titled Mine Boy, which illustrates the evils that the blacks were experiencing in mines.
  4. Underground organizations. The black radicals and political leaders mobilized their supporters to secretly join political parties and underground guerilla movements in order to end the racist white regime in South Africa. For example, after the formation of Ukhomto women and we sizwe (the spear of the nation) Many ANC young men joined the movement.
  5. The use of mass media such as radios. For example, some A.N.C leaders who were in exile in Tanzania in collaboration with the government of the United Republic of Tanzania established RADIO FREEDOM which was heard in South Africa from Mazimbu – Morogoro, the radio programs which were aired mobilized the black society in South Africa to join their hands firmly against the racist regime in South Africa.
  6. Religious forums for example the formation of the United Democratic Front (U.D.F) which was a coalition of about 600 organizations led by Rev. Allan Boesak and Bishop Desmond Tutu, played a significant role in ending Apartheid in South Africa.
  7. The International communities put international sanctions (Vikwazo vya Kimataifa) against the South Africa’s racist regime. The O.A.U pled the western capitalist countries not to sell weapons to South Africa. South Africa was also denied air-landing rights.
  8. Seeking international support from friendly countries within Africa and outside Africa, e.g. Cuba. Black Nationalist parties such as the A.N.C and P.A.C set up their bases in foreign countries. For example, the A.N.C set up its base in Dar-es- Salaam and Morogoro in Tanzania.
  9. Strikes, these persuasive means and hunger strikes attracted the international community, which helped to pressurize the racist government in South Africa to grant the majority rule in South Africa.


Why was the struggle to eliminate Apartheid in South Africa difficult and prolonged?


  1. Some western countries such as the US, France and Britain which had an economic stake in South Africa supported South African racist regime. The countries had had heavily invested in mining companies and plantations for example the B.P (British Petroleum).
  2. The banning of all anti-apartheid movements and organizations in South Africa for example the A.N.C and P.A.C were banned following the 1960/March/21st (Sharpeville Massacres). All these hindered the pace towards majority rule in South Africa.
  3. Imprisonment and assassination of radical political leaders. For example, Steve Biko was brutally tortured before the very naked eyes of the police and secretly murdered, while other radical leaders such as the late Nelson Rohilallah Tata Madiba Holisasa Mandela, Walter Sithulu were sentenced to life imprisonment while a few others like Oliver Thambo were exiled. All these hindered and complicated the way to majority rule “LONG WALK TO FREEDOM by Mandela describes how the safari was long and complicated through hills and thick tribulation and triangulation.
  4. South Africa was the country that was recognized by UN to be independent country from 1980. But the fact was that because both political and economic power were in the hands of whites ,worse still there was apartheid that did not able the African excess to economic power the blacks were denied democracy.
  5. Lack of unity among the nationalist organization .There were many movements working independently, they included the Indian National Congress [IAC], African people organization [APO], Pan African Congress [PAC] UMSA, ANO, and Inkatha Freedom Movement. These except ANC were less radical they could not bring any impact but rather weakened the strength of the struggle.
  6. Poverty: It made it difficult for Africans to confront whites who were both militarily and economically strong. Most of the black African were pushed in the reserves of Bantustan were economic activity were very hard the land was barren no infrastructures to facilitate the activities of the movement thus it took long to achieve their independence.
  7. Lack of political unity amongst the anti-apartheid political organizations such as the A.N.C and P.A.C (was a great set back to their liberation.
  8. All liberation movements like ANC and PAC were declared illegal and banned in South Africa by the apartheid regime of the white. The killing of prominent political activities like mass killing in Sharpeville and the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela also made the struggle for independence to delay.
  9. Methods of struggle were weak initially, until 1960s ANC and PAC were using non violent based on Mahatma Gandhi philosophy e.g. demonstrations petition strikes and boycotts .It was until 1960 after the Sharpeville massacre that ANC formed UMKONTO WE SIZWE meaning the spear of the nation and adopted violence.
  10. The big powers of western Europe feared that an independent south Africa may fall in the hands of Russia a communist nation this was because Mozambique and Angola who era geographically near South Africa had the elements of communism opposed to the situation. Thus, the struggle lacked international support of the big capitalist countries.
  11. On addition to the above, the constant indiscriminant attacks earned out by the racist white regime of South Africa destabilized the activities of national struggle of the black Africans, their major purpose was to kill the nationalists of the blacks and destroy their political parties.
  12. The puppets that were implanted by the racist white regime in South Africa. The puppets betrayed their fellow freedom fighters; these were great obstacles because whatever the nationalistic leaders secretly and confidentially planned was no sooner reported than they had started implementing it.
  13. The possession of Namibia by South Africa racist regime, which was used by her as naval base and harbored the American French and British military men, hindered the military wing of the nationalistic movement.


  1. Banning of political parties in Africa. The colonial governments in different colonies employed their oppressive apparatus such as colonial army, police, courts to suppress African political movements for example the TANU in Tanganyika was banned in 1955, the A.N.C was banned on 8th April 1960, FRELIMO was banned, K.A.U in Kenya was banned.
  2. Tribalism and ethnicity. During the nationalism movements, most Africans were divided along tribal and ethnic trends e.g. In Uganda, the Buganda and Nyankole did not unite to fight against European colonialism.
  3. Illiteracy: Many Africans during the nationalism movements were illiterate and Europeans never took trouble to educate them. Some Africans did not know how to either read or write and that it was difficult for them to perceive and understand policies of the various nationalistic political parties.
  4. Imprisonment, detention without trial, exile and assassination of radical political leaders. For example, Eduardo Mondlane of Mozambique was assassinated by a parcel bomb in Dar es Salaam on 3rd February 1969, Steve Biko in South Africa was assassinated after the Soweto massacre in 1976, Dedan Kimath in Kenya was assassinated on 27th October 1956, and on the other hand, other nationalistic leaders were imprinted. For example, the late Nelson Mandela a distinguished political icon in Africa was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonial Trial in 1964 and he was taken to Robben island prison, others like water Sithulu were imprisoned, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana was imprisoned, Jomo Kenyatta was also imprisoned for a couple of years. In Tanganyika, Mwalimu Nyerere was charged for Treason for the first time in 1955 and was required to ether serve a six (6) months imprisonment or to pay a sum of money equivalent to the charge; he got subscription from the TANU members and paid it as a fine.
  5. Financial problems (constraints). The economic muscles of the nationalistic political parties were too weak to sustain the costs of running their political activities and of course, most of the political parties had no any other source of income rather than the little subscription obtained from their members as secretly as possible.
  6. Religious differences. For instance, at the time of independence in Uganda, the Catholics led by Kiwanuka did not like to be dominated by the Protestants led by Milton Obote in Nigeria northern. Muslims dominated Nigeria. Whereas the southerners were basically Christians, as a result the Muslims did not want to be dominated by the Christians, whence the religious differences in both Uganda and Nigeria did not give a well-ventilated room for them to fight against their common enemy in colonialism.
  7. Poor infrastructure such as roads physical buildings such as offices for the nationalism political parties. Remoteness of some areas made it difficult for the nationalistic part leaders to reach their supporters and members, also lack of physical structures such as offices were a great challenge that these parties faced. For example, following the banning of political parties in Tanzania by then Tanganyika the T.A.N.U was holding its meetings secretly in private houses of their members for instance several TANU meetings were held in Abdul Sykes’ house.
  8. The unwillingness of the colonial power to grant independence. Some European nations came in Africa to stay forever and regarded their African colonies as oversea provinces, thus they were very reluctant to grant independence this was mostly on Portuguese colonies like Mozambique, Angola.
  9.  The colonial state apparatus ware very oppressive and coercive to the nationalistic movements in many Africa nations these included colonial army, police and judicially/prison which were put in place to facilitate colonial production, e.g. in 1958 Nyerere was arrested, Kenyatta was also arrested in I954, Mutesa of Buganda was exiled to Britain.
  10. Also there was lack of political structures to mobilize the people to the common struggle for independence; in rural areas most of the political parties lacked branches which would have been used as centers to create awareness and mobilization of the masses most of the nationalistic activities centered in urban areas.
  11. Tribalism also was a problem in for the nationalistic struggle it brought disunity and weakened the nationalistic struggle for independence. Some tribes did not participant in national struggle in steady they involved secessionist politics, e.g. Buganda in Uganda, which demanded for her separate independence at the expense of the entire nation of Uganda.
  12. The low level of education also affected the struggle for independence many masses in Africa were not educated and lacked political awareness about the essence of their independence this was a big hindrance in the path of independence since most of the indigenous did not know the significance of the struggle.