The political-social situation in African countries has always been stereotypically characterized by a lack of civilization, mediocrity, and the political enigma that is lack of democracy. The recent past has seen many African states struggling with oppression and power misuse by the political class as the developed nations such as the United States, France, and the United Kingdom spitting out their unfathomable and ill-informed push for democracy. The idea that many people fear or probably close their eyes and ears to is the issue of the impact of colonialism and neocolonialism on the state of affairs in Africa. In the film Africa: I Will Fleece You, Jean Marie Teno explores the idea of colonialism’s influence on Africa’s current state of affairs, especially its effect on Central Africa. Raoul Peck in his film titled Lumumba focuses on the power play politics of democracy in Africa, which is played mainly by outsiders from the developed world like Europe and America. One of the key issues that conspicuously stand out from the two films is the influence of colonization and post-colonial influence on the recent African development. This paper presents a critical analysis of the two films hereby mentioned, focusing specifically on the representations of colonial and post-colonial African history (California Newsreel, 2013; Ukadike, 2008).
In brief, the two films focus on exploring the causes of dissent, conflict, and radical and revolutionary behavior in Africa in the recent past dating up to twenty years in history. Some of the notable issues include the ousting of Libya’s president Muammar Gadhafi where France was involved through the alleged support of the Libyan forces, the recent creation of the world’s youngest nation named Southern Sudan, the famed cases of violence in Kenya with cases at the ICC, and the wave of violence in Egypt over the last three years. In Cameroon and other countries in Central Africa, gold-rush has been written on the faces of Africans with the masterminds of the war being alleged to hold strong positions in the UK, the US, and France (Ebert, 2001). Then there is Zimbabwe and Rwanda where leaders are scorned by their former colonizers simply because they adopted policies that are said to be undemocratic. Based on the events in the mentioned African states and on the information explored in the two films, the only viable and reasonable perspective would be to see the developed nations’ influence in the struggling state of the developing nations. This is the sole message that recurs in every scene of the two films.
In Lumumba, the scriptwriter explains the heinous murder of Patrice Lumumba in which the United States was involved. The first prime minister of the Republic of Congo was known for his leadership skill as he was among the flag bearers in the fight to get Congo from the hands of its colonizers in 1960. The leader emphasized upright morals and leadership in his country and he had always fought for democracy and independence in his state. His efforts were critical to the liberation of Congo from the hands of the Belgians. However, the film presents a scenario in which the United States participated in his murder as a continuation of the scramble for the nation’s wealth in minerals such as gold, iron ore, and copper. Thus, the US planned and executed the plan of his bloody murder; on the other hand, a US spokesperson condemned the murder, claiming that the government of the United States does not involve itself in the internal matters of other nations. At the peak of the film, John Mobutu Sese Seko seized power from Joseph Kasa-Vubu through the assistance and support of the United States through the supply of armory and training of the revolutionary soldiers (California Newsreel, 2013).
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Going by the case as presented in Lumumba, post-colonial influence and colonialism stand at the core of adversity in African states. The developed nations send emissaries to the developing countries in the name of quelling wars and helping the warring communities in finding peace; however, the bigger picture lies in gathering intelligence of such nations concerning natural resources such as minerals. The developed nations support the revolutionary and radical parties to get to power and even impose leaders on the African communities to get favors by cheaply trading precious diamonds and gold. The film presents a case of a more informed party taking advantage of a disadvantaged party by promising heaven and utilizing the pain and suffering created by colonizers such as the Belgians in pursuance of selfish interests. That is why influential leaders would get killed and forgotten while those ready to sell out the sweat of their citizens are supported and financed to powerful positions in society. The few who fail to give heed to the calls of the superpowers are forced to comply by having the economies of their countries frozen by insurmountable trade quotas, sanctions, and bans like it were in the case of Joseph Kasa-Vubu, and finally getting themselves killed or forcefully ousted from power. That is the weight of post-colonial control that former colonizers and the neo-colonizers such as the United States pressure on the African states (California Newsreel, 2013).
"I Will Fleece You"
In the documentary Africa: I Will Fleece You, the scriptwriter presents a scenario in which the developed nations from the west strategized to conquer African nations by peeling off African culture and traditions and spreading education as the very initial tool of turning Africans into their puppets. The story features France using education and cultural erosion and the application of divide and rule principles to turn Africans against other Africans and, eventually, colonialism looms in with every office being manned by the French. After leaving Cameroon, the French appear to have left behind a breed of people who were determined to front all forms of impunity including corruption, murder, and torture. The film presents a case of colonialism from the mental status and furthering it by ensuring that every state corporation has a French person trying to influence its policymaking in the name of lighting a dark world but instead extinguishing the light of African societies. The film features a quote referring to a hunter fleecing a lark and, at the end of it all, the realization that all was meant to control and dominate the Africans and take away their resources comes to the light. The colonial and post-colonial influence of the French in Cameroon is thus used to explain the pain and suffering of the Africans in series of bush battles and modern-day political upheavals (Ukadike, 2008).
In conclusion, the two documentaries subject of this analysis present the image of the European countries which were colonizers of Africa and the United States as opportunists who utilized and still utilize the wanting state of African nations for their selfish gains. They present the case of colonial and neo-colonial powers feigning to be saviors of Africa through their multinational corporations, organizations, and peace emissaries but instead hiding in those veils to find avenues of smuggling minerals and other resources from Africa. The pinch of their activities is felt when they attempt and even influence African politics by funding wars and imposing leaders on Africans. Africa has indeed been slow on civilization but that does not qualify attempts of foreign control in the continent (California Newsreel, 2013; Ukadike, 2008).