The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western -educated Africans. Examine.

In the post World War II period, decolonization was started which was the struggle for attaining freedom from colonial rule by most countries in Asia and Africa. It was marked by a transfer of power. The administrative responsibilities and duties were assumed by the national political elites and new sovereign nations were born.

The process

Political liberty from colonial rule was termed by the nationalist as the instrument to alleviate the economical and social degradation and all injustice. As India got M.K. Gandhi as its leader to conduct a mass movement during India’s freedom struggle, the West African countries also had similar leaders from the western-educated Africans.


  • Kwame Nkrumah asked the nationalists to find the political kingdom first and eventually, it will add all other necessary things. In 1957, he led the Gold Coast to freedom and reconstructed the country Ghana.
  • Nigerian statesman and political leader Nnamdi Azikiwe was the leader of Nigeria during the anti-colonial struggle. He led Nigeria to its independence in 1960.
  • Leopold Sedar Senghor served as the first president of Senegal. He led Senegal to independence.
  • One of the prominent African critics of the French colonial empire in Africa, Kojo Tovalou Houenou struggled for the equality of race and founded the Negritude movement.
  • Amilcar Lopes da Costa Cabral was one of Africa’s foremost anti-colonial leaders. He was the founder and secretary-general of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde and led Guinea-Bissau to freedom from Portugal.
  • Felix Houphouet Boigny was the first President of the Ivory Coast. He led Ivory Coast to independence.

West African nations, however, had faced peace and stability after independence. The incident of civil wars, dictatorships, and military revolts severely affected the whole country.

Question for UPSC Mains:
The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western -educated Africans. Examine.

Published: December 5, 2016 | Modified:September 8, 2020


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    Answered: The anti-colonial struggles in West Africa were led by the new elite of Western-educated Africans. Examine.
    anti-colonialWestern-educated Africans
    Anti-colonial upsurge in West Africa was a part of the larger rush of decolonization after the massive wanton destruction of the World War II. Just as Indian freedom movement, in the 20th century, found a leader in M. K. Gandhi, a western-educated lawyer, freedom struggles in several West African countries were also led by such western-educated Africans:

    1. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, educated in London and US, led Gold Coast to freedom in 1957, and rechristened the country Ghana.

    2. Nnamdi Azikiwe, educated in US, led Nigeria to a successful anti-colonial struggle, leading to its independence in 1960.

    3. Amilcar Cabral, educated in Portugal, led Guinea-Bissau to freedom from Portugal. He was assassinated before the official independence declaration of the country, but served as an inspiration for other revolutionary leaders elsewhere, such as Fidel Castro.

    4. Tovalou Houenou, defended the equality of race, opposed Eurocentricism and founded the Negritude movement, the writings of which gave a fillip to anti-colonial struggles in West Africa.

    5. Leopold Sedar Senghol and Felix Houphouet- Boigny were western educated individuals who respectively led Senegal and Ivory Coast to independence.

    Some of these struggles were peaceful and constitutional while some had the blueprint of non-cooperation and civil disobedience. Some struggles were outright violent revolutions.

    Nations of West Africa, however, have seldom witnessed stability and peace after independence. The countries have been marred by civil wars, brutal dictatorships and military coups