Courses Catalogue

African Nationalism Since 1900

COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: College of Education, Open and Distance Learning
STATUS: Elective
PROGRAMME TYPE: Undergraduate

Course Description

In the modern world, nation and states play a critical role in human existence. The interplay between nations forms a basis for conflict or peace. The nation is a modern invention. The spirit of creating and sustaining the same captivates a scholarly engagement. This is particularly true in Africa where nations (such as Sudan) are being born and an attempt to graduate into nationhood from statehood is a constant challenge. The emergence from racism (apartheid) in Southern Africa and the historical connection with Diaspora identities calls for a critical examination of the sources as well as factors and case studies of how African nationalism evolved; spurred winning of independence; the challenges of nation-states in post independence Africa and the discourse of a shared African heritage and future.


This course examines and engages with the different contemporary definitions of the concepts Nationalism (particularly African Nationalism). It engages the attention of students with the humble beginnings (both indigenous and Diaspora) of African Nationalism from the 19th Century to the present. The course further examines the factors that have pivoted its growth as well as those that have frustrated its take off in Africa. It broadens the discourse by bringing in the concept of Pan Africanism and takes the notion of nationalism beyond the discourse of racism. It opens on the challenges faced by African nationalism, African nations Pan Africanism; and especially after 1945 and more critically after the attainment of independence by nascent African nation-states. It further examines the road block that delayed South Africa’s move to attain independence and majority rule; the origin and purpose of Bantustans and how the curtained the growth of African Nationalism is here-addressed. The problems of African unity are detailed through the history of the organization of African Unity and its successor; African Union. The course further analyzes the implication of imperialism, colonialism and, especially neo-colonialism in relation with continuous African Nationalist struggles. Besides examining the personalities that formed the theoretical and political base of African nationalism, it also examines the unequal relations between the rich North and poor South such as expressed in the EEC/ACP relations as two unequal entities and how it affected African countries’ global position.


Broadly, the course aims to:

  • Engage students in African realities related to the challenges and prospects of nation building
  • Contribute to the intellectual upbringing on nationally patriotic and broad thinking students that focus on Africa and the respective nations
  • Contribute to the understanding of Africa’s and national problems and build a framework through which they can be tackled
  • Cause an assessment and consequently, an appreciation among learners of Africa’s position in a global order which triggers the mind on how such a position can be improved


By the end of the course unit, students should be able to:

  • Explain the grasp and internalize Nationalism and all its changing ramifications.
  • Discuss the events that have characterized Africa from the colonial era, colonial and post colonial periods.
  • Describe the role of Africans and foreigners in shaping the current black continent destiny.
  • Explain why in many African states more attaining of flag sovereignty and independence has not changed those countries to the benefit of ordinary citizens.