Mister Johnson Tensions of Colonialism
• Rethink Colonialism
• From the old to the complex
• Beyond race
• Multiple impacts
• Rethink Identity
• The image of Africa
• Who is colonial?
• Appreciate uncertainties
• Rethink Power
Mr Johnson thinks hes white/British.
Hes never been to England
Its not just colonial power, its also local power.
Not lacking agency
Takes women/ordinary people from the story.
Local people are asking for their money, they wont walk on the road without being paid.
Colonial Africa: old (and not so old)
-common responses “white people (we/they) conquered Africa and ruled it” “took African
redources away to develop themselves.” “tried to civiliza Africa by introducing education,
chirstianity- and now democracy.”
• “white people (we/they ) built Africa.” “messed it up” “Africa needs our help” “why cant
they help themselves”
Rethink colonial rule
Conquest: Europe vs. Africans
Rule: Colonizer over the colonized
Identity: white over blacks F
• Mister Johnson offers of more complicated view of colonial rule, where…
-Power did not necessarily mean control
- There is mutual dependence
-identities are ambiguous and unsure
-where color is sometimes burred
-the colonizer is often dependent on the colonized
-women play key social roles
Johnson thinks his son will become higher in the hierarchy.
Top: Civilized, Powerful, Agential, Modern
Bottom: Uncivilized, Traditional, Resisting
Ambitions of Educated Africans
• ambition challenged by:
-rise of racialism and racism
• Elite African Nationalism bo