HIS 112
Unit 12: Decolonization and Nation-Building in Africa

Lalibela, Ethiopia

The Church of St. George, Lalibela, Ethiopia, hewn from single rock outcropping and dating to the twelfth century CE; Photo courtesy Hermella Mamo.

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What you must do in this unit
  • Read the section "Decolonization and the Cold War in Africa" in chapter 29 and "Africa: From Independence to Development" in chapter 30.
  • Read my general notes on decolonization and my comments on events in Africa and watch my short video on decolonization.
  • Study the Questions to Consider and the Key Terms for the unit.
  • Post (or respond) with your thoughts/ideas/comments in the discussion board in Canvas: What were some of the common challenges faced by African societies as they achieved independence (5 points)?
What you can do in this unit Some videos that you can watch for this unit Extra Credit Options
  • For up to 25 points of extra credit, read Nelson Mandela, Speech on Release From Prison (1990) (also available here) and then his Inaugural Address (May 10, 1994) and write a one-page paper in which you elaborate upon Mandela's vision for South Africa.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read A.L. Geyer The Case for Apartheid (1953) and write a paragraph summarizing the rationale of supporters of apartheid.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read Jomo Kenyatta The Kenya Africa Union is Not the Mau Mau (1952) and write a  paragraph explaining Kenyatta's vision for his country.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read excerpts from Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972), I Speak of Freedom (1961), and write a paragraph explaining Nkrumah's vision for Africa.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read U Thant The Congo Problem (1962)  and write a paragraph explaining the problems faced by the Congo during the process of decolonization.
  • For up to 10 points of extra credit, read the Charter of the Organization of African Unity (May 25, 1963) and write a long paragraph in which you explain the rationale and structure of the OAU.
  • For extra credit, please suggest a relevant website for this unit of the course.  Send your instructor the title of the site, the URL and a brief explanation why you find the information interesting and applicable to the material being studied this unit.
Unit Learning Objectives
  • Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to (1) demonstrate knowledge of the decolonization and modernization processes in Africa after World War II and (2) identify some of the African countries that became independent after the war.

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