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Cosmopolitan Africa & Dr. Livingstone Essay

973 words - 4 pages

Dr. David Livingstone donated thirty years of his life to the people and wilds of the African interior; in doing so Livingstone inspired such love and affection in the hearts closest to him upon his death, Chuma and Susi embarked on a thousand mile journey to deliver his earthly remains and his final journal to the coast of Africa, where his remains were transported to Britain for burial; even though he portrayed the typical English worldview of the Colonial period: Africans needed English guidance and purpose to be a civilized people. Dr. Livingstone saw the need for trade, Christianity, British control and abolishment of slavery without recognizing the existence of cosmopolitan societies; while Professor Trevor Getz’s book COMOSPOLITAN AFRICA c. 1700-1875 explained the existence of cosmopolitan societies thriving and growing in Africa before and without the influx of Europeans and the onslaught of worldwide slavery from the African continent providing proof of Dr. Livingstone’s narrow worldview as stated in the scope of the assignment.
According to the quote provided: “The promotion of commerce ought to be specially attended to, as this, more speedily than anything else, demolishes the sense of isolation which heathenism engenders…for by that means we may…introduce the Negro family into the body corporate of nations” (Livingstone). For several centuries prior to the sojourn of Dr. Livingstone the African people had been trading in minerals and slaves with the influx of ideas, technology, and contact with the outside world howbeit the majority of the contact was via the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Ocean until the fifteenth century. Typical ‘English’ worldview plagued Dr. Livingstone and many other Europeans during the Colonial Period by their suggestions promoting “…the sense of isolation which heathenism engenders” whereas Professor Getz opens by accepting the cosmopolitan possibility of the African culture and people by pointing out the flawed thinking of his predecessors, “The idea that Africans all lived and had always lived in rudimentary, hereditary tribes was the product of the colonial period” (Getz, xv).
Professor Getz in his introduction made to astute observations: “First, Africans were connected to each other and to other parts of the world by trade, the exchange of ideas, and the migration of peoples. Second, African societies were flexible and complex enough to deal with the influx of new ideas and movement of peoples that these networks necessitated” (Getz, xiv). Getz points out the Asante Empire as being cosmopolitan as its society found places for both local and immigrant Muslims and non-Akan people. Igbo society was cosmopolitan because of the diverse individual experiences and its lack of centralization while permitting native born and immigrants to benefit the overall societal structure economically. Proving many of the African societies were cosmopolitan by merely the exchange of technology, ideas, culture, travel,...

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