Combined emotions amongst some in Africa for Queen Elizabeth By Reuters


© Reuters. The British flag is seen flying at half mast, following the passing of Queen Elizabeth, on the British Excessive Fee headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria September 9, 2022. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

By Tim Cocks and Elias Biryabarema

JOHANNESBURG/KAMPALA (Reuters) – As condolences poured in from all over the world after Queen Elizabeth’s loss of life, some Africans expressed combined emotions concerning the monarch and her nation’s colonial legacy on a continent the place Britain as soon as dominated greater than half the territory.

Some had fond recollections of Britain’s longest serving monarch — who got here to smile and wave at crowds in 20 international locations throughout the continent throughout her 70-year reign.

Others nonetheless recalled issues like Britain’s brutal Nineteen Fifties crushing of Kenya’s Mau Mau rebel because the solar set on Britain’s empire, and an enormous diamond the queen’s household acquired from colonial South Africa in 1905, which she by no means returned regardless of calls to take action.

Elizabeth was simply 25 and on a go to to Kenya together with her husband Philip when she discovered of her father King George VI’s loss of life and her accession to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952.

She was to return many instances to Africa as queen.

“When the queen visited Uganda in 1954, I used to be a younger boy in main college. She was a younger and small girl who regarded very humble. She was very admirable and smiling,” Vincent Rwosire, an 84-year-old retired postal employee, advised Reuters.

“We couldn’t consider that such a younger girl may have a lot energy,” he mentioned by cellphone from Mbarara, western Uganda.

Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, whose nation the queen visited in 1961, 4 years after it turned one of many first African international locations to get independence, lowered flags and mentioned Ghana was proud to be a part of the Commonwealth of countries.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose first identify means freedom in Swahili and whose nation gained independence in 1963, known as her “a towering icon of selfless service”.

However many have been much less obsessed with celebrating the lifetime of a monarch whose nation has a chequered historical past in Africa.

“We don’t mourn the loss of life of Elizabeth,” South Africa’s Marxist opposition celebration, the Financial Freedom Fighters, mentioned.

“Our interplay with Britain has been one in every of ache, … loss of life and dispossession, and of the dehumanisation of the African individuals,” it mentioned, itemizing atrocities dedicated by British forces within the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Regardless of this view of her, Elizabeth solid a detailed relationship with late South African chief Nelson Mandela, the primary post-apartheid president, and visited South Africa twice after the top of white minority rule.

She was an enthusiastic advocate for the Commonwealth of 56 nations, most of them former British colonies.

Some Nigerians recalled Britain’s assist within the Sixties for a navy dictatorship that crushed the Biafra rebel within the east of the nation. Igbo officers launched the rebel in 1967, triggering a three-year civil warfare that killed greater than 1 million individuals, largely from famine.

Uju Anya, an Igbo professor and survivor of that warfare who’s now dwelling in the US, sparked controversy when she wrote on Twitter (NYSE:) late on Thursday of her “disdain for the monarch who supervised a authorities that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my household and the implications of which these alive immediately are nonetheless attempting to beat”.

Her feedback have been “preferred” 67,000 instances, however her Carnegie Mellon College distanced itself from her messages, which the college known as in a press release “offensive and objectionable”.

Britain’s monarchy performs a largely figurehead position, so whereas the queen formally appointed prime ministers and held common conferences with them, she didn’t make coverage.

In the meantime, the accession of King Charles to the throne has stirred renewed calls from politicians and activists for former colonies within the Caribbean to take away the monarch as their head of state and for Britain to pay slavery reparations.

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