Why African Resistance against the imposition of colonialism Failed?
African societies did not keep silent at time of imposition of Colonial rule. Africans reacted differently and vigorous to the imposition of colonial rule. There were three forms of African reactions ( responses) towards imposition of colonial rule.
FORMS OF AFRICAN RESISTANCES
Resistance refers to an opposition or disagreement of a certain matter.
African resistances refers to different oppositions of reactions that were taken by African Society towards the imposition of colonial rule in their localities.
Many African resistances historically occurred during the establishment of colonial rule after the Berlin Conference. But these resistances ( reactions) took place in three forms:
- Active Resistance
- Passive Resistance
- Adaptation (Collaboration)
AFRICAN RESISTANCES TO COLONIAL RULE
This was a response where the Africans resisted actively by showing of military opposition. In this form, Africans took their weapons to fight against colonial encroachment in their localities. However, active resistances were divided into two groups
- Small – Scale Resistance
- Large – Scale Resistance
SMALL SCALE RESISTANCE
This refer to the resistance whereby the local community armies or traditional leaders of a certain ethnic group resisted against colonial rule. In other words, it was an active resistance that covered a small area involving one tribe or two
. A good example of Small Scale Resistance included Nyamwezi Resistance, Hehe Resistance, Samore Toure Resistance, Yao Resistance, Nandi Resistance etc.
LARGE SCALE RESISTANCE
It was a resistance which involved more than one ethnic group ( tribe). This is where ethnic groups joined together to fight against Colonial rule. A good example was Majimaji resistance in Tangayika, Nama and Herero resistance in Namibia, Shona and Ndebdele ( Chimurenga Uprising) in Zimbabwe etc.
Sometimes, this type of resistance is named as Secondary resistance. This type of active resistance was common among societies which accommodated colonialism at the beginning but later decide to resist after being subjected to colonial exploitation and oppression.
This was the type of resistance where Africans did not involve the use of arms to fight and did not cooperate with the colonizers. In other words, Africans did not do anything ( to resist or cooperate) with the colonizers. What these Africans did, was to resist to participate in the colonial activities and payment of taxes but not imposition of Colonial rule in their areas.
This was done by most of the smaller societies in Africa which could not unite and oppose the Encroachment of colonial rule.
In this type or response, since African chiefs welcomed the Europeans, assisted them to consolidate their colonial rule and sometimes they allied with the colonizers to conquer the neighboring societies. A good example of African Chiefs who collaborated with the Colonizers includes: Chief Lewanika of Rwozi Kingdom, Chief Mareale of Kilimanjaro, Mumia of Kenya, Semei Kakunguru in Uganda,
Why African Resistance Failed?
It is true that many societies resisted against Europeans invaders but most of those resistance failed and African were defeated. The failure of Africans reactions was associated with the numbers of factors such as;
Disunity among the African rulers. The Africans failed to unite together to fight for their enemy. Example in West Africa, Tanganyika, Angola, Namibia and Central Africa.
Internal political factions in some Africa states contributed towards the defeat. Due to the disarray of many African states there was no time for cohesion to be against the enemy.
Military and modern technology superiority of Europeans. Due to industrial revolution in Europe they were able to manufacture superior firearms which were used during the war against the Africans who most of them were using poor weapons.
A disciplined and well-organized army helped to defeat African. The colonial armies were better trained and more experienced in strategy and tactics.
The Europeans wanted to maintain and preserve their new acquired economic positions and that made them fight at all costs, ruthlessly and untiringly.
Instability and public misery of Africans. Most of Africans were fought with bitterness which culminate into greater devastation, villages were burnt, farmland destroyed and animals looted. This ended up with gross loss of property, fear and famine.
Religious division created serious problems for African unity. Religious disunity poisoned the cohesion of Africans. E.g. antagonism existed between Tijaniyya and Quidirrija brother in Algeria facilitated failure of resistance against the French.
The unpopularity of some African leaders to their subjects led European victory.
Natural calamities such as famine, drought and epidemic made it difficult for Africans to maintain stiff resistance.