​Did indirect rule protect African cultures or hinder the development of modernity?, homework help – Excelsior Writers | excelsiorwriters.com
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Did indirect rule protect African cultures or hinder the development of modernity?

Colonial rule, particularly British colonies, relied on African chiefs who assisted colonial administrators in tax collection and keeping peace and order. For this reason, colonial administration created ethnically based districts even where no ethnic boundaries existed before colonization and the chiefs did not hold traditional inherited positions. In the absence of inherited titles, colonial administrators created ‘warrant chiefs‘ and encouraged Africans to identify themselves with their respective ethnic groups. Such an indirect rule, to some extent, created a buffer zone between colonial administration and the subjects and helped to minimize the cultural shock of colonization. But the system also supported the chiefs and helped them to retain limited political power based on outside forces. While protecting and preserving native cultures, the colonial district boundaries, which were drawn on ethnic identities, contributed to local competition and rivalries.

Furthermore, indirect rule was characterized by corruption and despotism rather than innovation and reform. The emphasis on ethnic symbols prevented a more flexible and ever- changing pre-colonial ethnic identities. For this reason, some scholars argue that the colonial system of indirect rule created a legacy of ethnic conflicts in Africa which made post-colonial nation building very difficult.

1. Did indirect rule protect Africans and their cultures or hinder the development of modernity?

2. Did it preserve ethnic cultural autonomy or contribute to the rise of despotic and corrupt chiefs who served colonial interests instead of protecting their people?

3. Did indirect rule contribute to ethnic rivalries and post-colonial conflicts?


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