“If…we wish to understand the national movements that have emerged in Africa — and have reached their most mature and advanced stage in West Africa — we have to begin by trying to rid our minds of the European preconceptions that influence our thinking on this subject. This is not easy, since most of the available material on African affairs is presented from a European standpoint — either by imperial historians [who are interested in the record of European penetration into Africa], or by colonial administrators [who are interested in the pattern of instructions imposed by European governments upon African societies], or by anthropologists [who are often] though not always, mainly interested in the forms of organizations surviving in the simplest African communities, considered in isolation from political developments in the world around them. We shall probably have to wait a little while for the real history of Africa to be written by African scholars for an African reading public.”

Source: Thomas Hodgkin. Former Secretary of the Oxford University Delegacy for Extra-Mural Studies and a Fellow of Bailliol College, Oxford. The quotation stems from an article that appeared in The Highway, February 1952, pp. 169-170, under the title “National Movements in West Africa.”


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