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Last Updated: Friday, 3 March 2006, 17:28 GMT
Do you remember Independence Day?
Namibians celebrating
Tunisia will celebrate 50 years of independence from France this month. How far has your nation come?

The long road to independence was a violent struggle for many African countries. Charismatic leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Amilcar Cabral and Robert Mugabe inspired Africans to dream of a new society free of European control.

The mood for most during independence was one of optimism and hope however, the transition from colony to independent state was difficult.

What does independence mean for those who lived under colonial rule? We want you to look back and share your memories of independence. Has it lived up to expectations? How has life changed?

Thank you for your views.This debate is now closed.

Your comments:

For as long as I remember independence day in Nigeria, I remember this heroes
Musa,Venatius David, Bauchi State. Nigeria

In Nigeria, I remember independence; I remember our pre-independence leaders who fought on behalf of their father's land. I remember with tears in my eyes the able men and women who gave their lives .For as long as I remember independence day in Nigeria, I remember this heroes.
Musa,Venatius David, Bauchi State. Nigeria

Speak for yourself Clinton Davis, I am sick and tired of people like you painting the rest of Africa with the same brush. I suggest your read more and gain an in depth knowledge about different countries of Africa
Tshego, Botswana

I have been living under colonial rule since birth. To me independence is only in the books, not in practice. Africa is still under the influence of our colonial masters.
Sylvia Shambo, Bamenda,

Mauritius gained its independence on 12th March 1968. I was not yet born then but what I retained as a child studying basic Mauritian history at school was the significance of the date. It was on a 12th March that Mahatma Gandhi led his peaceful non-violent salt march in India in protest at oppression by the colonial power in place. Things have definitely changed for the better in Mauritius since Independence. People live and work for themselves and for their country.
Raj, Rose Hill, Mauritius

For Ethiopians, Independence Day has the maximum sweetness that other African Countries dreamed of. This is attributed to the heroic struggle that our forefathers fought against the Fascist Italians about 110 years ago. By then, our forefathers defeated the Fascists and we Ethiopians celebrate OUR VICTORY DAY on March 02 every year. Though we are holders of the Glaring Victory against Colonialism, we have been suffering from lack of good governance. The persistent food shortage seems to be our ID and we have been holding it for the last nearly 50 years.
Haile ,Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Many African countries, after over thirty years of 'independence', are independent only in principle. In practice, they are still tied economically, politically and even culturally to their 'former' colonialists. I sincerely hope that Africans will soon seriously consider ways of breaking this perpetual yoke of slavery that it seems we've been condemned to wear!.
Kizito Tendai Chiwala, La Paz, Bolivia

Independence Day is a landmark celebration. I did not witness the colonial era but my memories of how colourful independence celebration is in Nigeria has created an optimistic and unifying impression
Eseme Ojaruega, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Africa as a continent is yet to take a step to move forward, looking back to independence, we have not achieved anything. Africans still point the accusing finger at their colonial masters, instead of standing on their own feet and measuring up to other countries ahead of them. We have to have helped ourselves and remember the saying "give a man a fish and he'll come back asking for more, but teach man to fish and you've fed him for life.
Adeola Aribisala, Bucharest, Romania

Independence meant that I would play games like cricket which were whites only before independence.
Farai Dziva, UK

I was nine at the time of remember Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. Independence allowed my family to move out of the crowded ghetto to the suburbs that used to be whites only. Independence did open a lot of opportunities for blacks to become whatever one wished to be. There were a lot of professions in Zimbabwe that were closed to blacks. Independence meant that I would play games like cricket which were whites only before independence.
Farai Dziva, UK

Yes, charismatic leaders inspired Africans to dream of a new society free of European control. African Independence marked the end of European control and ushered in African dictatorship in many respects. That is why Africa is still reeling under the pains of poverty and corruption due to the lack of freedom of the Press .The so-called charismatic leaders changed course mid-stream the moment they were swept into power by the popular votes.
Kakai Wanyonyi Cornelius, Mombasa - Kenya

I was 11 years old. My father allowed me to stay past midnight on 9Th December 1961 to witness the end of British rule in Tanganyika. At first I understood that Independence meant that I wouldn't have to sing Salam Mfalme Elizabeth (God Save the Queen) at school every morning. It was when I saw all these black regional and district officials visiting our village then I realised that we as Tanaganyikans were managing our own affairs. With free education to University level and a guaranteed job in public sector I and many others have really enjoyed the fruits of Mwalimu Nyerere's efforts to free us from colonialism.
Ibrahim Sareva, UK

Independence to my 90years old nana meant everything. This made us happy as we listened to Jomo Kenyatta the first Kenya President speeches. We cried with joy as he said "uhuru na kazi kutoka kwa mbeberu". My experience with Moi and Kibaki government makes me think that Kenyans have been colonised by the black man. As there is no freedom of speech,
Regina, Nairobi, Kenya

The English-speaking part of Cameroon is still fighting for their independence. We hear certain secret documents in Britain have been declassified. Please let the British government be courageous enough to face the facts so that we can rewrite the course of our history.
Julius Atia, Yaoundé, Cameroon

I was 7 when Namibia won Independence in 1990. My main complaint is that the government has been a bit slow to improve in the Education sector, which I deem crucial to the advancement of the Nation as a whole. To that end, I will go back and work to make a positive change.
Linovene, Namibian in USA

Africans countries have not got any independence. Our colonial masters left us with their constitution and they are still are lobby for loans and every stuff that need to reduce our normal share. After democracy was introduced, every African country wants to change their constitution. What does that tells the world, African have not got independent yet.
Adonis Hegngi, Limbe, Cameroon

I was born and raised under colonization not by European but Ethiopians! We got our independence but it was very short lived, we went back to fighting and the borders are still locked, thousands of young people died, poverty, hunger, and disease. Anything bad you call it is still happening. I don't really know what is really going on.
Mesfin, Eritrean in Oakland,USA

I never lived under colonial rule but I can categorically say that things have changed for the worse.
Ope Ogundokun, Lagos, Nigeria

I never lived under colonial rule but I can categorically say that things have changed for the worse. When you add up a hurried colonial exit which without a proper exit structure, to a crop of selfish, inexperienced and perhaps naive indigenous political elite, what do you get? Catastrophe! That's how I remember Independence Day an opportunity missed.
Ope Ogundokun, Lagos, Nigeria

Independence in Sierra Leone brought about socio-economic development during the reign of Premier Sir Milton Margai. However, his successors brought gradual and later precipitous socio-economic decline culminating in one of the most brutal and senseless civil war in Africa. One may be tempted to ask was it necessary for political independence? It appears that over the past four decades independence has brought more "minuses" than "pluses" in Sierra Leone.
Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leonean in USA

I wonder how many of the illiterate and internet-deprived who live in poverty and violence more desperate than pre-independence. Fifty years after independence, there is yet to be one African country that can truly hold its head high among other countries that secured independence at the same time as Singapore, Malaysia, and Israel.
Clinton Davis, London

This independence and democracy you are talking is a beginning of trouble in Africa. After independence strong people have wanted to implement what was taught to them by those their colonial masters which left many scars.
Arnaud Emmanuel Ntirenganya,Cameroon

Our independence was meant bring progress, peace prosperity and unity of the African people. Unfortunately we only remember the day and the national anthem forgetting to practice what the national anthem(prayer) preaches..
Bensenty Gomez, Gambia

Independence never lived up to its expectations in Africa. The major reason for this was Africans had to deal with never ending problems created by colonizers. Their divide and conquer approach is a reason for several civil wars.
Bayu Kassa, Sacramento, CA,USA

Sierra Leone will be celebrating 45 years of independence on 27th April and there is still so much work to be done as expectations of the people have not been met by a wide margin .However I have a happy memory of independence as I got married to my sweetheart.
Andrew Stanley-Coker, Kabul & Afghanistan

Post-independence planning and strategy in most African countries have been appalling, and has been seriously blighted by ethnic and religious misunderstandings. There are many examples e.g. Nigeria, South Africa, DRC, Burundi etc. Unfortunately we cannot rewind the hands of the clock to reverse the pre-colonial "divide and rule principle" which simply has not worked anywhere. I am proud to be Nigerian and African, and I hope real democracy will eventually prevail in Nigeria and other African countries. I want to see African countries get to the stage of forming political parties on the basis of ideology (perhaps the basis our pre-independence arguments) that would seriously help to produce better leaders, and help in the development and sustainability of intellectual capital within the continent
Obi Ngoka, Watford, England

Nigeria got her independence in 1st October 1960, I personally felt excited every 1st October when I was still young because of my father stories .Now I have grown up and seen vividly that Nigeria still needs a second independence which is INTERNAL INDEPENDENCE because there is no freedom among ourselves .
Plato Owulezi, Nigeria

I watched Rhodesia attain independence we were all full of hope - and I watched it go down hill from there. Independence means nothing but suffering and economical failure of power hungry freedom fighters trying to run countries.
Tsitsi, London, UK

"At long last, the battle has ended, and Ghana our beloved country is free forever" echoes in my ears as we prepare to celebrate our 49th independence.
ABLO AUSTIN, Accra Ghana

For Ethiopians, February 2, 2006 is a commemoration day of Adwa victory. Ethiopians had defeated colonial force on Adwa by the few days' war, but have been defeated every day for a lot of years by extreme poverty. What does freedom mean for the nations living under colony of extreme poverty? How can we differentiate colonial rule from extreme poverty, diseases and bad governance? All of them are killers. Hence, all Africans have to struggle, on the same way they have struggled for there freedom, to be liberated from colony of poverty. And this is the way of granting the real freedom and real calibration.
Lalisa Benti, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

I have read about colonial rule and Africa's struggles for independence from colonialism but as for Uganda I do not see much positive change that "self- rule" ushered in. It's all exploitation of the masses by the elites who replaced the colonialists! May be the only consolation we have is that it's our own people oppressing each other
Grace Okeng, Brussels, Belgium/ Uganda

The need for a truly united Africa managing its own natural resources for the well-being of its inhabitants has been put aside
Charles Tim, Uganda
It is quite unfortunate that most of the ambitions African Leaders had while striving for independence have not been achieved. The need for a truly united Africa managing its own natural resources for the well-being of its inhabitants has been put aside. African Leaders are busy piling wealth in the Western world, are envying what their neighbours have and all these have led to invasion of other countries and left the common man impoverished.
Charles Tim, Katakwi, Uganda

The only independence I remember is the one for South Africa; I was in class eight, when at 1000 we were summoned to the parade and the big news broken by the headmistress who was very enthusiastic about politics. People cheered and clapped, they were happy. I didn't know much about everything until our geography teacher that afternoon taught us about the apartheid, discrimination and segregation between the black majority and white minority. I was happy for the people since I understood the word freedom.
Valerian Atieno, Nairobi, Kenya

Kwame Nkrumah might be turning in his grave considering what his much acclaimed struggle to attain independence means to Ghanaians and Africa today
Abubakar Ibrahim, Ghana

Kwame Nkrumah might be turning in his grave considering what his much acclaimed struggle to attain independence means to Ghanaians and Africa today. The ideals of what independence means has been reduced to mere theories about actions that we read about only in history books. It is still a crying shame that Africa countries after independence are still fighting a loosing battle for superiority, self respect and economics. Has Africa really been liberated? How common has the destiny of Africa become?
Abubakar Ibrahim, Accra, Ghana

Nigeria gained her independence on 1 October 1960, upon a motion moved by Nigeria's most respected elder statesman Chief Anthony Enahoro. The founding fathers and their British partners envisioned a country that would be a global economic colossus and a political and social support corner stone for the whole of Africa and people of African descent in the diaspora. Nigeria lived up to this dream during the struggle for the decolonisation of all the countries in the southern quarter of the African continent thanks to General Murtala Muhammad and General Olusegun Obasanjo.
Anthony Okosun, Baltimore, USA

Independence means different things to different people. For most Africans it has not brought the peace and development that were promised by the political leaders. In its place, we have sit-tight and selfish leaders, who care only for themselves and their cronies. There is little infrastructural development to show for the long independence we have enjoyed. While we desire independence, we would rather it be productive, and forward looking.
Kingsley Ezenekwe, Lagos

Its 43 years since Kenya gained independence from Britain. Yet, the Mau Mau freedom fighters that fought for Kenya independence are yet to be compensated as the Britain promised. British government is always making empty promises, and these old aged men and women are languishing in poverty. It's embarrassing since Kenyan government is not playing a role to enhance compensation for these freedom fighters.
George Gatume Waweru, Nairobi, Kenya

Independence is very important to the Tunisian people
Zouari, Arlington, USA

Independence is very important to the Tunisian people, French rulers messed up the way of life for Tunisians, they tried to change the way we think, the way we speak .However right now we Tunisians we are going back to our roots and trying to improve our identity.
Zouari, Arlington, TX, USA

Since Nigeria attained Independence from Britain in 1960, things have gone from good to worst. Nigeria today is in worst shape than it was during the colonial era. Some Nigerians believe that Nigeria would have been more developed and advanced if we were still under the colonial rule. The state of Nigeria today is pathetic. After forty-six years of independence, Nigeria is still stagnant. There is nothing to write home about Nigeria despite her abundance of natural resources. May God help us.
Omorodion Osula Boston, USA

I was not born when Malawi attained its independence on 6 July 1964. But my parents have told me of the atmosphere when Dr Kamuzu Banda swept the country to freedom. During Kamuzu´s rule independence day was a big deal. Huge celebrations were held in Blanytre marked by parades and dances. All lot of money was spent too. I don't know of anybody who complained about that. Nowadays 6 July is just another holiday. Mainly because people are so disillusioned that very little seems to be changed in their lives. But to me as a person, independence day should always be a big thing.
P, Kayira, Malawian studying in Lund, Sweden


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