3 Types of Colonialism in Africa: Practice and Legacy
1. Direct Rule
One such form of colonial administration is called direct rule. The French, Belgians, Germans, and Portuguese are considered to have used this model in governing their African colonies. They had centralized administrations, usually in urban centers, that stressed policies of assimilation. This means that the colonialists had the intention of "civilizing" African societies so they would be more like Europe. As part of this strategy, colonialists did not try to negotiate governance with indigenous African rulers and governments. Indigenous authorities had a subordinate place in these administrations. Direct rule also used the strategy of "divide and rule" by implementing policies that intentionally weakened indigenous power networks and institutions. 2. Indirect Rule Primarily, the British used indirect rule to govern their colonies. This system of governance used indigenous African rulers within the colonial administration, although they often maintained an inferior role. Overall, it was a more cooperative model than direct rule. Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator, used this system of government first in Nigeria and later brought it to British East Africa. This system of government assumed that all Africans were organized as "tribes" with chiefs. However, this was not always the case. You will remember from Module 7A that people in Africa had diverse types of government ranging from highly centralized states to "stateless societies." As a result, indirect rule increased divisions between ethnic groups and gave power to certain "big men" who had never had it before in precolonial history. Consequences of these significant changes in social organization and identity are still being felt today. These issues will be discussed in more detail in Module Ten: African Politics and Government.
3. Settler Rule
Settler rule refers to the type of colonialism in southern Africa in which...