Previously colonized indigenous people of Africa sought economic and political control of their countries, religion, history, cultures, etc. Post-Colonialism ushered in changes with some domination and subordination. The globalization of colonialism is still profound because of the economic dependency of many African nations to the European superpowers.
The core issues that were fundamental to the African post-colonial struggles and social movements, according to Majumdar (2007), include . . . the difficulties and importance of economic development; the need to transcend nationalism as a political ideology; the need for a fundamental change in culture at the popular level for development to take place; the importance of the transnational or international perspective.” (p. 196) Post-colonial Africa still has natural resources, trade, shipping, banking, building, and other vital financial entities under European countries' control (and businesses). Unemployment and underemployment for uneducated, low-skilled, or unskilled African people remain an issue; access to higher (or specialized education) for many who live in villages away from major cities find it difficult to improve their economic status. Physical infrastructure was difficult for productivity in some African countries due to a lack of financial resources. Fiscal crises due to significant debt, frequent political leadership changes, corruption, and climate change are other concerns for Africa's continent. Political freedom by way of complete independence and sovereignty is another core issue of concern for African nationalists. Imperialism and the superior attitudes of some foreign-owned businesses remain a problem for Africa’s development.
Other labor methods replaced slavery that still benefitted the foreign-business owners. “Christian missionaries added to the babble about new markets, new investment prospects, new converts, and the moral obligation to abolish African slavery and replace it with a commercial model.” (Frankema, 2015, main page) Africa’s commercialization saw demands from European manufacturers and consumers for its natural resources and commodities-gold, palm oil, rubber, copper, coffee, tea, and so on. Politics in many African nations saw struggles for power among community leaders. Election-rigging, bribery, and puppetry of some African leaders by European countries continue to be a problem. Leaders who are willing and able to fall in line with the rules of coercion and co-option last longer in power than those who don’t. Post-colonial leaders of nation-states still struggled with limited resources, providing services for their people, the lack of adequate infrastructures, and so on.
Larmer (2010) wrote, “Social movements are not, it is suggested, best understood as authentic and unproblematic movements of the people, simply counterposed to powerful and exploitative forces in society. They are rather an expression of the contradictions and hierarchies of the society in which they operate, whose debates and conflicts express inequalities of resources, influence and education and differences of class, gender and ethnicity, amongst others.” (p.252) Many African social movements are rooted in activism because of racism, disenfranchisement, economic problems, access to adequate healthcare, food, clothing, and proper housing; these issues represent a common theme for many social movements globally. For example, Multinational corporations based in European countries, and the United States, have been the targets of the activism due to some of the social challenges that local communities experience because of the corporate social responsibility problems they've created for local communities. Decolonization, Global Justice, Ethiopian, Environmental Justice, Immigrant Rights, Indigenous Peoples, and South African Unemployed People’s Movements are a few that represent some (or similar) social issues for those they represent.
Post-colonialism still presents challenges for the continent of Africa. Economic dependency, because of foreign-controlled manufacturing, trade, confiscation/destruction of natural resources, and exportation of critical commodities, continues Africa's domination and subordination by foreigners. The goal of a genuine democratic rule will be a challenge as long as puppet leaders for European powers are in place. Global social movements for equality, economic/political freedom and opportunities, social justice, and religious freedom will continue, whether in Africa or elsewhere, as long as there remain concerns that impact people's lives, communities, and environments.
Frankema, E. (2015, July 15). How Africa’s colonial history affects its development Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/07/how-africas-colonial-history-affects-its-development/
Majumdar, M. (2007). The Postcolonial State: Problems of Development. In Postcoloniality: The French Dimension (pp. 195-214). New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books. doi:10.2307/j.ctt1c0gkvv.13
Larmer, M. (2010) Social movement struggles in Africa, Review of African Political Economy, 37:125, 251-262, DOI: 10.1080/03056244.2010.510623