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The Resistance of Southern Africa to Colonial Rule
How did Southern African Countries resist colonial rule?
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The external colonisation of Africa generally refers to the European colonial conquests resulting in the scramble for Africa in the early 19th century. Southern African response to colonial rule varied significantly. Initially, the African resistance to the increase in European formalised imperialism began around 1880. Responses were broadly characterised by violence in which military resistance was the norm. This was the case in Southern Africa; Non-centralised societies from the region (such as the Chikunda, Chokwe and Nguni) resorted to violent resistance. This strategy was to their detriment. European armies were superior in both resources and organisation. The non-centralised, non-unitary cultural nature of Africa to this date meant that few societies were able to unite in mutual anti-colonial assistance. Europeans exploited this, and the pre-existing conflicts, to defeat all states but Ethiopia. By the end of World War I, most of Africa was effectively colonised. Opposition took on a more non-violent expression. There were increased demands for opportunity and inclusion. Political organisations, such as the South African National Congress, emerged to promote radical change. The use of the press to promote anti-colonial views also occurred in Southern Africa. There was also a form of religious opposition demonstrated in the region. In the 20th century, the creation of churches in places such as Southern Africa helped to develop a Christianity that was more amenable to an African way of life. This provided a strong voice for justice. There was also economic opposition, with mine workers organising into unions. African farmers had widespread resistance to colonial demands on labour/land, and conducted mass migrations away from colonial rule. In the 60s, 5 of the 6 remaining colonies were in Southern Africa. Previously peaceful nationalist movements were inspired to violence following the enactment of oppressive legislation and the imprisonment of leaders. Funded by neighbouring independent African nations, China and the former Soviet Union, a national liberation movement was more successful. South Africa was the last African colony to achieve majority rule.