#Harambee63 – Chronological Dates of Independence for African Countries (upto 1963)

The Detention and Exile of Kenyans to Rural Areas.
State of Emergency – Kenya (1952)

By 1963, 36 African countries had gained independence from one or more colonialist countries, namely Britain, France, Italy and Belgium. Kenya was the only African country to be declared independent in 1963, following a 10 year war period that we know as the State of Emergency. Kenya was the 36th country to gain independence.

Africa’s changing face had followed a similar spread of nationalism through Asia, and particularly India in 1945. Jawaharlal Nehru’s writings heavily influence nationalists in Africa, including Nelson Mandela.

“We seek no narrow nationalism. Nationalism has a place in each country and should be fostered, but it must not be allowed to become aggressive and come in the way of international development. Asia stretches her hand out in friendship to Europe and America as well as to our suffering brethren in Africa. We must help them to take their rightful place in the human family. The freedom that we envisage is not to be confined to this nation or that or to a particular people, but must spread out over the whole human race. That universal human freedom cannot also be based in the supremacy of any particular class. It must be the freedom of the common man everywhere and full of opportunities for him to develop.” –  Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s First Prime Minister (1947)

1945 was also the end of the Second World War in which many African soldiers had fought in, on behalf of their respective colonisers. A growing awareness on global injustice against minorities due to the involvement in Second World War, leads some historians to point to this as being paramount to the call for African nationalism.

In many of these countries,  protests, detention, assassination and eventually war, had been going on for 10 – 20 years before the actual declaration of independence. Trade unions were a key feature for political agitation and were often the medium by which the people could organise around a common cause that would later become the demand for independence.

Before violence was made the avenue through which independence was forcefully attained, the Africans, and in some cases African – Asians, tried other forms of negotiation including sending delegates to their respective colonial countries.

Chronological Dates of Independence for African Countries (upto 1963)

Liberia 26 July 1847 – Established as a Free State for African American Slaves (USA)

South Africa 31 May 1910 Britain – continued to exist under Apartheid System until 1994

Egypt 28 February 1922 Britain

Ethiopia 05 May 1941 Italy – Ethiopia’s colonisation is contested as the Italians struggled to keep a hold on Ethiopia

Libya 24 December 1951 Britain

Sudan 01 January 1956 Britain/ Egypt

Morocco 02 March 1956 France

Tunisia 20 March 1956 France

Ghana 06 March 1957 Britain

Guinea 02 October 1958 France

Cameroon 01 January 1960 France

British Cameroon South 01 October 1961 Britain

Senegal 04 April 1960 France

Togo 27 April 1960 France

Mali 22 September 1960 France

Madagascar 26 June 1960 France

Congo (Kinshasa) 30 June 1960 Belgium

Somalia 01 July 1960 Britain

Benin 01 August 1960 France

Niger 03 August 1960 France

Burkina Faso 05 August 1960 France

Cote d’Ivoire 07 August 1960 France

Chad 11 August 1960 France

Central African Republic 13 August 1960 France

Congo (Brazzaville) 15 August 1960 France

Gabon 17 August 1960 France

Nigeria 01 October 1960 France

Mauritania 28 November 1960 France

Sierra Leone 27 April 1961 Britain

Tanzania 09 December 1961 Britain

Burundi 01 July 1962 Belgium

Rwanda 01 July 1962 Belgium

Algeria 03 July 1962 France

Uganda 09 October 1962 Britain

Kenya 12 December 1963 Britain