philipmartin wrote:George- You know much more about Africa than I do. I know practically nothing about it except that it seems likely that the people were there better off under colonial rule than with democracy.
I read a book about the Boer war and wish the Boers had borrowed a few submarines from Germany (if they existed in 1900) and sunk the English troop ships. Kitchener wouldn't have been able to establish concentration camps for the civilians. That is not meant to be offensive: I just wish the British had left the Boers alone instead of working on behalf of the gold bugs Werner and Beit.
We read, with admiration, of Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck's guerilla tactics in East Africa during the first world war.
I have a video on the life of Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre with touching movies of Catholics in French Africa, around Dakar, prior to independence.
I have Belgian cousins, one of whom had (sad) contact with the Congo through marriage. His brother in law was murdered there on his plantation.
I first arrived in Kenya in 1965 and spent a year in Uganda at Makerere University in Kampala. As part of an Education course I studied some African History. I also travelled about in the vacation through Kenya and Tanzania mostly by rail and the steamer on the Lake. I suggest that if you did some travelling in Africa you might have a different opinion of conditions there. I later taught in Kenya, and then in Botswana and in Nigeria.
I taught in secondary schools in several regions. I have travelled, sometimes by rail and sometimes by hitching or bus, through most of the region between South Africa and Kenya. I have also travelled in Ghana, again by train and bus.
It's clear that in the time since the 1980s when I left, rail travel has become more difficult. I think the current rate of investment is very poor and it is clear that the present quality of managers is rather poor. A BBC programme about the new line from Zambia to Dar es Salaam revealed the very poor management of the line - the main cause of its very poor performance.
I am really rather shocked by the closure of the passenger service to Kisumu in Kenya, a line I have taken many times, as I was working near the end of the line. My guess is that the main cause is poor maintenance and a failure to invest in passenger carriages. I have a vague plan to visit the area later this year. I was hoping to take the train. I want to assist in an agricultural project on the Lake.
Were people better off in colonial times? No, they weren't.