The invasion of Africa by the European powers has left behind a train of serious consequences, The Agrarian Revolution paved the way for the Industrial Revolution which . cleared the path for the era of Imperialism and Colonialism. Among the reasons for European imperialism was the growing capitalist economy and competition between European states (Iweriebor). European imperialism exploited Africa searching for raw materials, cheap labor, and new markets to promote their economies. They also adopted colonies because of the growing competition among European nations to spread their influence and supremacy.
Captain Fredrick Lugard was a strong advocate for imperialism. Lugard argued for colonial domination claiming that it was a demonstration of Britain’s national power and strength. In the period of heightened tension between European states, developed states moved into less developed countries. According to Lugard, the European scramble for and partition of Africa was necessary to compete with other nations in spreading regional and overseas dominance for national pride (O’Brien). During this time, the colonies were the measures of national wealth. Failure to secure new colonies and annexation of new territories was a sign of weakness and retrogressive progress. The quest for dominance was as a primary interest for European countries in Africa.
The changing economic conditions in Europe motivated European imperialism’s push into Africa. European capitalist economies had developed during the Industrial Revolution. Industrialization increased the demand for raw materials and new markets for industrial goods. According to Lugard, the main reason for the partition of Africa was to acquire raw materials for the factories in Europe (O’Brien). Further, he states that nobody could stop the hungry European forces from utilizing the underutilized bounties of nature found in Africa. His arguments justify the use of excessive force by Europeans to quash any resistance by local communities to their pursuit of power and raw materials.
Sudanese Slit Drum
The Sudanese slit drum originated in the Central African region in the modern-day Sudan-Congo border region. The buffalo-shaped drum was part of the court orchestra of powerful chiefs. The drum was used for making music during community events. It was also used to convey messages over long distances. Ancient inhabitants of Khartoum used the slit drum to summon warriors to war (“A History of the World in 100 Objects”).
The Europeans had exerted dominance in East and Central Africa. They conquered Egypt and began pressing south towards Khartoum. By this time, Khartoum had established itself as a major trade and cultural center. In 1881, a Sudanese sheik, Muhammad Ahmad, declared himself the Mahdi, the one guided by God. The Mahdi summoned an army to a religious war to reclaim Sudan from the Europeanized Egyptians. Kitchener’s Anglo-Egyptian forces found the drum in Khartoum after defeating the Mahdi’s forces.
The current artefact originated in Khartoum where Egyptian Khedives set up centers for slave trade. Once in Khartoum, society refashioned the old piece to fit Islamic society. On the length of the body, there is a long rectangle on each flank with circles and geometric patterns of Islamic designs that bear religious significance and protect the artefact against the evil eye.
The latest modifications on the drum include political statements and religious inscriptions on the flanks. There is also an inscription of an emblem of the British crown near the tail of the bush calf. The Sudanese slit drum is on display at The British Museum in Room 25.
“A History of the World in 100 Objects”. British Museum, 2017, http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/a_history_of_the_world/objects.aspx#94. Accessed 6 Aug 2018.
Iweriebor, Ehiedu E. G. “The Colonization of Africa”. Exhibitions.Nypl.Org, 2011, http://exhibitions.nypl.org/africanaage/essay-colonization-of-africa.html. Accessed 6 Aug 2018.
O’Brien, Clare. “Two Perspectives on Imperialism « Days Gone By”. Cobrienhistoryportfolio.Umwblogs.Org, 2011, http://cobrienhistoryportfolio.umwblogs.org/two-perspectives-on-imperialism/. Accessed 6 Aug 2018.