The African Predicament: A Study in the Pathology of Modernisation

The African Predicament: A Study in the Pathology of Modernisation

The African Predicament: A Study in the Pathology of Modernisation

The African Predicament: A Study in the Pathology of Modernisation

Excerpt

The vast flood of literature on modern Africa contains few works which do not shun the less pleasant aspects of modernisation. Recoiling from attitudes of racial contempt or imperial high- handedness, writers of pink race do not dare to mention (or even to think about) the less laudable deeds of brown men. Outside southern Africa there are very few blatant racialists, and even unrepentant addicts to racial animosity conceal their sentiments under hypocritical assurances of friendship and admiration for the sake of business: as they can no longer be simply ordered about, the Africans must now be cajoled. Moreover, as during the colonial era the Africans had no power and were often humiliated and exploited, they have acquired in the eyes of the liberals and humanitarians an aura of martydom, while the fact that they were neither oppressing nor humiliating the Europeans was taken to be proof of their moral superiority. The error which underlay this idealisation of the Africans is analogous to that involved in the cult of the proletariat: the lack of power to do much harm was . . .

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