African Nationalism: Brief Explanation of Aims
African Nationalism was an expression of the demand for self-determination by Africans who were then colonized. It emerged as a reaction to colonialism, and its purpose was to remove the colonizers from the continent. The colonial domination gave Africans everyday experiences, and due to these shared grievances, a form of unity was born. African Nationalism was based on the notion that Africans were the real owners of the land and the colonial masters were alien invaders. African nationalists did not seek to create a new state to house their nations. Rather, they intended to capture the existing colonies from the white colonizers. Nationalist movements were inspired by the concepts of Pan-Africanism and Pan-Islam. These concepts raised African consciousness and brought about a sense of commonality between Africans.
Nationalism was characterized by popular discontent, as is evidenced by the Mau Mau uprising in Kenya. Here, the Kikuyu of Kenya revolted against British occupation due to discontent following land alienation. Algeria also experienced protests from Africans who aimed at achieving equal political status with White settlers and land reforms. These protests escalated to violent demonstrations, which gave birth to an armed struggle commanding huge support due to its nationalistic sentiments.
While nationalism in Africa was first expressed in terms of religion-based local organizations and intelligence organizations to advocate for the freedom of African colonies, the vehicle of nationalism later turned to be nationalist movements or parties. These groups had a national following and were organized and headed by the African elite. They engaged in both legal and illegal means to pressure their colonizers to grant them independence. Some of these nationalist parties were; the National Liberation Front in Algeria, The Kenya African Union in Kenya, and the Istiqlal party in Morocco.