European Imperialism In Walter Rodney's How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

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In Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa he argues that European imperialism and earlier colonialism from earlier centuries did little to nothing with improving the lives of the African people. European imperialism was meant to boost the economies and power of European nations; however, colonialism “blunted, halted, and turned back” the development of Africa. Also with the interruption of the development and culture of the African people, there was no compensation given as the Europeans messed with the African culture. It has been claimed that imperialism in Africa improved the lives of the African people as it brought about a sense of social order, nationalism, and economic modernization. Rodney contests this and instead states …show more content…
There was a mother-right feature prevalent in African societies as women held a large amount of respect in their culture. They held the keys to inheritance and often held a significant amount of political power. For example in Lovedu of Transvaal, a key figure was the Rain Queen and she held political and religious functions. Women frequently embraced the role “Queen Mother” or “Queen Sister”. Usually what was practiced in African society was that the role of power was filled by a female of royal blood. Influence for women in political power was great and sometimes women were the real leaders whereas the kings were mere puppets to their grand political scheme. Under European colonialism African women’s social, religious, constitutional, and political privileges disappeared (Rodney 227). African women were held to the European standards of womanhood. New rules pertaining to where they were and were not allowed to work and what they could and could not do were enforced. The amount of power they once held was diminished, allowing their somewhat matriarchal society to turn into a patriarchal society similar to the European countries. In a sense, under colonialism, African society and women’s rights were altered, making women’s work remarkably inferior to that of men and their opinions and actions became less …show more content…
Rodney disputes that “Colonialism created conditions which led not just to periodic famine but to chronic undernourishment, malnutrition, and deterioration in the physique of the African people.” (Rodney, 236). Oxfam was a charitable operation created to call upon the European people to save the starving African and Asian people. This starvation they were trying to diminish was the cause of the Europeans actions in Africa. A black child with a transparent rib cage and twigs as arms was caused by imperialism. To support his claim Rodney points out that before the arrival of the Europeans, the African people thrived and were physically fit and healthy. He emphasizes that their physique is superb, and had resistance and endurance so great that they have become objects of scientific research to discover why performed better than “well- fed” capitalists who are collapsing from heart disease (Rodney,

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