Various struggles for self-determination are included elsewhere in the book. This chapter is primarily dedicated to the anti-colonial struggles which took place in Africa after India had become independent. Movements in British colonies were often influenced by the Indian example, and had contact with Indian leaders. The fact that Britain had in principle indicated willingness to dismantle its empire also created a context relatively favourable to nonviolent struggle (compared for example to Portugal, ruled internally by a dictatorship and committed – until the 1974 internal revolution – to keeping its colonies). However, until brought under pressure from popular movements Britain expected to grant independence in stages, gradually increasing African representation in government. Moreover, where there were large numbers of white settlers, there was counter-pressure to enshrine white dominance. The process of decolonization was, therefore, by no means always smooth. Britain responded to the (limited) anti-settler violence in the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s with ruthless military force and detained over 70,000 suspects in appalling conditions.
The nature of African resistance to colonial policies varied between countries, even within the British imperial sphere. In Uganda, for example, the traditional ruler of Baganda, Kabaka Mutsea II, was deported for leading opposition to British plans for an East African federation. In Tanganyika, however, a modernizing nationalist movement was created by TANU, supported by up to a million members and with an extensive network of local organizations and youth and women’s groups. Because of British government responses to events in neighbouring countries, TANU, led by Julius Nyerere, did not need to launch a major independence struggle. It won all but one seat in the 1960 elections and Tanganyika became independent in 1961. There was however earlier peasant resistance in the 1940s-50s to attempts at agricultural reform, land seizures and local government reorganization. See:
- Spear, Thomas , Mountain Farmers: Moral Economics of Land and Agricultural Development in Arusha and Meru Oxford, Nairobi and Berkeley, James Currey, Mkuku na Nyota and University of California Press, , 1997 , Chapter 11.
For useful brief surveys of decolonization see: