THE CONCEPT OF NEO COLONIALISM IN JOY CHINWOKWU’S CLOUDS AT SUNRISE AND AFTER MIDNIGHT
The researcher, in the work, “The Concept of Neo-Colonialism in Joy Chinwokwu Clouds at Sunrise and After Midnight, tries to show neo-colonialism as a practice in Nigeria right from her independence to the present day: the negative effect of the neo-colonialist powers in all sectors of economy in the country and also, in the lives of the citizens. There by, bringing out a supposed solution to the problem facing Nigerians. This work is divided into five chapters; chapter one comprises of the introduction, statement of problems, purpose of the study, scope of the study, the significance of the study and research methodology. Chapter two deals with an overview of some other African writers and their works. Chapter three is the concept of neo-colonialism in Joy Chinwokwu’s Cloud at Sunrise. Chapter four is the analysis of the concept of neo-colonalism in Joy Chinwokwu’s After Midnight. Chapter five summarizes and concludes the work.
Using the dual perspectives of post-colonial and neo-colonial studies, this paper portions the traumatizing impact of the neo-colonialist leadership on Africa and Africa’s creative writers, as a strand of the continent’s intellectual class striving for genuine independence. It shows the African writer as frequents site for the classless in the struggle by post-colonialist Africans, to wrest true independence from the grip of neo-colonialist leadership. It further traces this rift to the realities of Western capitalism’s predatory dominations of Africa, which began with the brutalizing commodification of Africans as slaves, was followed by the arbitrary creation of unworkable states, and now has reincarnated in neo-colonialism’s garb, and submits that the true and lasting peace and harmony can be achieved by the human race, only if Western capitalism and advances in science and technology are aligned with the pre-industrial, pre-capitalist and pre-racialist human values.
The Concept of Neo-Colonialism- Definition of Terms
The term, “Concept” is traced back to 1550 – 1560, derived from a Latin word, conceptum, meaning something conceived. But what is today termed “Concepts” is used in mainstream cognitive science and philosophy of mind. It is an abstract idea or a mental symbol, sometimes defined as a unit of knowledge, built from other units which act as a concept’s characterizes.
It can also be defined as a general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences something formed in the mind, a thought or notion.
Neo-Colonialism is a term which is commonly used in a variety of academic literature, dealing with the history of the capitalist system, its expansion and contemporary world affairs.
The term is originally derived from a contrast made by V.I. Lenin in a pamphlet entitled “Imperialism”, which was originally published in 1939. His contrast was between direct political domination through force of arms and “domination by extra political means”. Early colonialism characterized the period from the beginnings of the age of European exploration and expansion to the gaining of granting independence to former colonies. It essentially involved the imposition of centralized political rule upon non-western peoples, using various means of direct political compulsion.
Neocolonialism refers to the continued domination of former colonies using extra political or commercial means. In other words, though is a continuation of the same process of exploitation and assimilation, it operates not through the application of military might or legislative power, but through economic compulsion.
On the other hand, neocolonialism (which means new colonialism), does not only rely on the continued domination of former colonies, it is also within the colonies. This is to say that, some Africans (precisely high officials) impose or enforce powers over their fellow Africans, by controlling the political and economic sector of the country.
Critics adherent to neo-colonialism contend that multi-national corporations continue to exploit the resources of post-colonial states, and that this economic control inherent to neocolonialism is akin to the classical, European colonialism practiced from the 16th to the 20th centuries. In this sense, neo-colonialism implies a form of contemporary economic imperialism, that powerful nations behave like colonial powers of imperialism, and that this behaviour is likened to colonialism in a post colonial world.
The term Neocolonialism first saw widespread use, particularly in reference to Africa, soon after the process of -decolonization, which followed a struggle by many national independence movements in the colonies. Upon gaining independence, some national leaders and opposition groups argued that their countries were being subjected to a new form of colonialism, waged by the former colonial powers and other developed nations, and even amongst the dictatorial leaders in the colonies. Kwame Nkrumah, who in 1957 became leader of newly independent Ghana, was one of the most notable figures to use the term. A classical definition of neo-colonialism is given in his, Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism. In the book, Nkrumah says; “the neo-colonialism of today represents imperialism in its final and perhaps its most dangerous stage”. He goes further to say that development of the less developed parts of the world and investment under neo-colonialism increases rather than decreasing the gap between the rich and the poor countries of the world. The struggle against neo-colonialism is not aimed at excluding the capital of the developed countries operating in less developed countries, it is aimed at preventing the financial power of the developed countries, being used in such a way as to impoverish the less developed.
Nkrumah’s work is self-defined as an extension of Lenin’s imperialism; The Last Stage of Capitalism (1916), in which Lenin argues that “19th century imperialism is predicated upon the needs of the capitalist system”. Neo-colonialism like colonialism is an attempt to export the social conflicts of the capitalist countries. Che Guevara, Maxist Revolutionary, 1961; says,
We politely referred to as ‘underdeveloped’ in truth are colonial, semi-colonial or dependent countries. We are countries whose economics have been distorted by imperialism, which has abnormally developed those branches of industry or agriculture needed to complement its complex economy. ‘Underdevelopment’ or distorted development, brings a dangerous specialization in raw materials, inherent in which is the threat for all our peoples. We the ‘underdeveloped’ are also those with the single crop, the single product, the single market. A single product whose uncertain sale depends on a single market imposing and fixing condition. That is the great formular for imperialist economic domination. (41)
Statement of the Problem
For many Africans, the formal end of colonial rule did not produce an end to social injustice and drastic economic imbalance. The contention is that colonizers have aimed to control their colonized through indirect means; that in lieu of direct military political control, neocolonialist powers employ economic, financial and trade policies to dominate less powerful countries. They contain a continuing presence in the economies, especially where it concerns raw materials of former colonies.
In this context, Joy Chininwokwu’s novels are dominated by a desire to spell out what has been going on in her society, as regards to neocolonialism. Joy Chinwokwu, as well as other African writers yield to a critical examination of post-colonial African societies, seeking neither to embellish nor to discredit them, but to simply depict a reality.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to find out;
- To what extent the African writers, especially Joy Chinwokwu, have highlighted the problems faced by Africans in line with the neocolonial powers;
- To what extent these writers contributed in spelling out the concepts of neocolonialism and its negative impact on Africans;
- To what extent have these writers tried to change the impression of Africans towards neocolonialism, and how it can be resolved, by the way they reconstruct experiences in their work.
Scope of the Study
The researcher will focus on the concept of neocolonialism, as depicted in Joy Chinwokwu’s novels, and the roles played by each character as regards to neocolonialism. The project will shed light on the societal influence as shown in the two novels being examined.
Significance of the Study
The society is going to gain from this study. The pre-occupation of this project is to examine the concept of neo-colonialism, and in this regard, a critical examination of the sociology of neo-colonialism in Africa will be analyzed.
The society will be enlightened on the negative aspects and impacts of some of the policies imposed on them by the neo-colonialists, all in the name of development. More so, to seek for a total independence, not only from the external neo-colonialist, but also from the internal.
The primary sources of data for this project are, Joy Chinwokwu’s Clouds at Sunrise and After Midnight. Other secondary sources include the texts from the library, internet, newspapers and critical works related to the topic.
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