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Review of the Series, “Voyage to Africa,” By Basil Davidson with Emphasis on 20th Era Uprisings

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Basil Davidson Episode 7

The seventh episode of the series “Voyage to Africa” focused on the nationalistic uprisings that occurred all throughout Africa in the 20th Century. Following decades of oppressive colonial rule the African people finally said “enough” and took their independence back from the colonial powers, country by country. Basil Davidson paints a vivid picture for the audience by explaining the motives behind the uprisings as well as some of the major events and players. Davidson uses footage from the time period as well as interviews with world leaders that were notable during this time period. Davidson also interviews regular civilians as well as soldiers that partook in many of these fights for independence.

The first story of independence that Davidson discusses is that of the country which is now known as Ghana. During colonial times Ghana was ruled by Great Britain and simply called “The Gold Coast’, it wasn’t until after they received independence that the name was changed to Ghana. I very much enjoyed learning about the independence of Ghana and how it paved the way for other African nations to fight for and declare their independence. Davidson goes into great detail about how Ghana gained their independence, starting with stories of political protests that led to the Royal Army firing into a crowd of people and releasing tear gas. Around this time Kwame Nkrumah rose to the front of the political revolution as a young activist advocating for fair treatment and complete independence. Nkrumah was different than other activists at the time because he was young, he pushed harder against the system and demanded more for the people of the Gold Coast. Nkrumah was eventually imprisoned for his political beliefs. After the imprisonment of Nkrumah led to unrest and Great Britain eventually granted the Gold Coast independence in 1957. Nkrumah was elected as President of the new nation and promptly named it Ghana. Nkrumah went on to deliver a speech stating that Ghana was the first to achieve independence and that other nations should follow their lead. Throughout his presidency Nkrumah consistently advocated for Pan-Africanism. I find it very interesting that Nkrumah advocated for a united Africa after just receiving independence from Great Britain. I admire Nkrumah’s belief in and avocation for other nations to do as his did and achieve independence.

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The other story that I found particularly interesting was that of Kenya’s independence. The fact that the entire nation erupted into a civil war was very disheartening. We have similar conflicts going on today in the Middle East and it is sad that we are not able to learn from our past mistakes. The Kenyan revolution for independence led to thousands of people losing their lives, however they did not die in vain because Kenya did eventually receive independence from their colonial ruler. It is sad though that it took a civil war and thousands of deaths for the colonial power to give up their power and allow the people of this land to rule as they saw fit.

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