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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The end of empire in Africa was not a single moment separating independence from colonial rule, but a prolonged time of uncertainty extending from the immediate aftermath of World War II through 1994’s end of white rule in South Africa. Colonial empire was a moving target, adjusting to new situations and pressures. African political activists were not limited to creating independent states as expressions of a particular national sentiment. Some sought a pan-African nation embracing all oppressed people of colour; others saw colonial rule becoming a Euro-African community stripped of inequality and exploitation. Instead of a stolid colonialism leaving determinant ‘legacies’ to today’s Africa divided into nation-states, we should recall the possibilities, hopes, struggles, and disappointments that Africans experienced along the way. This chapter brings out alternative routes out of empire that were in play in different parts of Africa and how they expanded, contracted, and at times expanded again.

Keywords: Tropical Africa, West Africa, decolonization, claims-making, integration, East Africa, insurgency, colonialism, race

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