SA and African History in general is the one of the most depressing things ever.

It is…really. You read about the great societies and cultural achievements and the relatively calm and normal relations with the Arabs and then, boom…the Portuguese arrive in 1498 and all hell breaks loose. From then on it’s tragedy, oppression, war, slavery, poverty, inter-ethnic conflict and colonial exploitation. Then industrialization happens and urban poverty is horrible for white and blacks, especially in South Africa. Then WWII happens and it seems that maybe the colonies will at least be better treated…nope. So nationalist movements become militant and independence is won for most of the colonies by the end of the 60s and all seems to be going well…except not. Economic depression, poor planning, poor leadership and no experience with multi-party democracy causes most of the newly independent countries to end up as failed socialist states, military dictatorships or oppressive “parliamentary democracy” one-party states with large international debt, civil unrest, and increasing poverty. Still stuck in the economic rut of exporting raw materials at prices set by the North, Africa has been and still is like the fighter that starts to get up to get back in the fight and is then punched repeatedly back down. It’s depressing. It’s a vicious cycle that all the international aid in world won’t fix. Because that tends to create an economy of further dependency. But one can’t just stand by and not do anything, right? So, aid should continue to “ease the symptoms” at least in part,  but there should be a change in development and humanitarian aid to really help change Africa from being only a raw exporter to at least half of an industrial or post industrial economy. The world still needs some producers of raw material, but it doesn’t have to cripple and oppress those countries.
Of course there are so many factors that cause the situation Africa is in currently and some are unchangeable, but there are so many that Africa has within its power to change. Even just changing those would help their economies and in turn their political problems. Political independence is not equal to economic independence, nor does political independence bring about economic independence automatically, as the nations of Africa have discovered.

Anyway, my intense and depressive rant is fueled by my intense study for my two history finals this week and this is all I have been thinking about.

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