“It is no doubt flattering to our vanity to imagine that the peoples of Africa were ‘primitive’ and ‘barbarous’ before the penetration of the Europeans, and that it was we who have ‘civilized’ them. But it is a theory that lacks history foundation. The Empire of Ghana flourished in what is now French West Africa during the dark ages of Western Europe. By the fifteenth century there was a university at Timbuktu. The Ashantis of the Gold Coast and the Yorubas of Nigeria possessed highly organized and complex civilizations long before their territories were brought under British political control. The thesis that Africa is what Western European missionaries, traders, technicians and administrators have made it is comforting [to Western Europeans] but invalid. The eruption of Western European colonizers into Africa — with all the effects of their religion and their schools, their Gin and their cotton goods and their systems of administration is only an event, though a very important event, in the history of the African peoples.”

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.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s