In the video, "The Magnificent African Cake" by Basil Davidson, Africa was divided up into new colonies by Europeans. After the end of slavery in Africa, Europeans wanted to expand their empires for industrialization and commerce. This period of time was called the "scramble for Africa" because many European countries were claiming as much land from Africa. In 1884, the Berlin Congress was held and these European countries "sliced" up the African countries like a cake where each country got its portion of land. The opinions and representation of Africans was non existent. In fact, Europeans considered Africans as "helpless children or lazy settlers." This led to the feeling that Africans were inferior to Europeans and killings of Africans often took place in the European colonies.
In the end of the distribution of African land in 1914, there only remained two countries that were not under European control. The main countries involved in the colonization of Africa included France, England, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark. The Portuguese colonization of Africa occurred in Mozambique and the main effects of this colonization were the economic problems for the Africans. For example, "farmers were forced to grow cotton for export to Portugal," and the price of this cotton was fixed by Portugal creating an unfair market price for the Africans, meaning the "farmers of Mozambique were forced to sell great quantities of cotton at low prices." Because most farmers were forced to grow cotton, there was a shortage of food crops in Mozambique. During colonial rule, famines were common amongst the people of Mozambique, because there was no one left to make the food. In the end, the Portugal mentality was that 'Blacks are to be organized and enclosed in an economy directed by whites.' The French policy was not towards forced labor as the Portuguese policy but was more towards the assimilation of Africans.
However, it turned out that it was too difficult to convince the Africans to give up their culture for French culture in 1926 only "48, 000 out of 1, 500, 000 Senegalese" were assimilated. Still, Senegal "produced the first African man in the French Parliament." In 1914, Blaise Diagn e, who was an African, was elected to the French parliament. Also, around that time about 200, 000 African were sent to fight in World War I. An interesting fact is that Africans in the trenches of Africa were considered as equals, but when they got back to Senegal they were met with the same racism that existed before the war.
Also, the French design the economy of Senegal to export the cash crops of Senegal to France. This was similar to the other European colonies were the wealth of Africa was exported to Europe as raw material then sold back to the colonies for a profit. This economic cycle collapsed in 1929 when the "world depression" occurred. The world depression caused an "African economic crisis" because Europe was the only buyer. This causes many African companies to go bankrupt and now the people of these companies had to work for the European companies in Africa.
Moreover, this caused an even greater dependency on Europe for the Africans. The British took a lot of there land forcefully. One example happened in the Ashanti nation. Once England controlled the land, "The king of the Ashanti was publicly humiliated after surrendering." The king was forced to kiss the boot of the British commander. Also, the Ashanti's land was annexed from them in 1901.
The British called this land the gold coast. Overall, the British "rejoiced" over their conquering of Africa and those British that reject the colonization of Africa were either silenced or ignored. During the colonization of South Africa by the British, the African were kicked off of there land because England decreed that "wherever water and good land are, British settlers must take over." Any African that raised up to protect there land or way of life was beaten or killed. The British called this public policy "pacification" but was more known as "hammering." Likewise, in British controlled Kenya, "Half of the able-bodied men of Kenya became laborers [for the British immigrants]." This was due to new taxes which the British imposed and the Kenyans were not able to pay the taxes unless they worked for the British. Still, collecting the taxes from the tribes turned out to be difficult for the British. The British combated this by taking the small boys of the tribes and sent them to schools to become the tax collectors of their own tribes.
On the other hand, the occupation of Nigeria was different from all other British occupation. The reason why England colonized Nigeria was so the French couldn't, which resulted in the British rule being indirect. The government was never changed and the only thing that happened to the Nigerians was that some additional taxes were added. Eventually, "political dissent" started to grow toward European colonization. For example, in the gold coast "workers refused to produce cocoa, demanding higher wages." People had protests and started to print articles in the media. The main turning point occurred when Ethiopia was taken over by Italy.
"It was the first time that Africans all over the world felt hurt by a colonial action. This happened because Ethiopia had become a symbol of hope and revival for Africans." It is believed that African nationalism was born from these events. Overall, the movie conveyed the difficulties that Africa went through as Europe decided to slice up the "African cake.".