Tools of Exploitation

Mazrui presents European technology as arrogant and non compromising. Even if Africa has many resources, Africa also has extremes in poverty. Lord Lugar’s dual mandate in Africa was to develop Africa’s resources for its own benefit and to use the resources to meet Europe’s industrial needs. Thus, Africans need to buy goods from other nations. The West does not share its technological knowledge with Africa to any great extent, leaving Africa with acquired Western tastes, but no skills to fulfill those tastes on their own.

Slavery was a denial of development for Africa. It interrupted any technological development that Africa was undergoing. It also caused a mass emigration of Africans. Mazrui estimates that with every slave that reached the market in the Americas, another slave died in transit. So many Africans were enslaved because they proved more resistant to disease than Indians and poor whites. Mature capitalism made wage labor more efficient that slave labor. As Africa exported men and women to the West, “implements of construction”, Africa imported guns, “implements of destruction”.

Arabs also had an imperial presence in Eastern Africa, and used slavery. A new civilization, partly African and partly Arab, was emerging there. Local technologies had not yet outgrown the institution of slavery. Nevertheless, since the two races were mixed, if a father was free, his children would be free as well. Though Arab slavery was evil, Mazrui posits that Western slavery was worse. Europeans maligned Arabian slavery saying, “Africa had to be saved from the Arab slave trade.”

Europeans used this as a pretext for European colonization. In the Berlin Congress of the late nineteenth century, fourteen European powers partitioned Africa among themselves. Though the African slave trade was condemned by the European community earlier in the nineteenth century, maltreatment of Africans continued. Workers who did not produce enough were sometimes annihilated as an example for others. Mazrui gives the example of Cecil Rhodes, a diamond magnate, who claimed to conquer the land for “queen and country”, when the deepest reason was for “greed and glory”.

Mazrui sees the need for more technological self-reliance in Africa. Missionaries came and taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion. Africans learned to speak, dress, and think like Westerners. However, technological backwardness remains a problem. In Mombasa, the West opened an institution to rescue Muslims from technological backwardness. But Mazrui views it as “too little, too late”. Mazrui sees Africa’s need for the practical, technical and managerial skills that will allow it to use its own resources instead of being so open to outside exploitation.

The event is finished.


12 Novemba 2021


6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

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  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: 12 Novemba 2021
  • Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

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