Tribalism and Nationalism in Africa

Archive Report

Conflicting Ties of Tribe and Nation

Stormy events of the past few months in the Congo have emphasized a complication in the transition of African lands from colonial status to independence that has not been present, at least in comparable form, at the birth of new nations on other continents. The complication in the former Belgian Congo, and in other parts of Africa, is the existence of tribal loyalties and customs that compete with national loyalties and aspirations.

Jubilation over attainment of their independence has been strong among African peoples, but the tribal ties and rivalries that prevail among them seem to be acting as a divisive influence, partly because tribal boundaries frequently do not coincide with national boundaries. Tribal attachments consequently interfere with getting some ...

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