A large degree of political turmoil took place in Uganda following its liberation from colonization midway through the 20th century. A number of political factions vied for power in the ensuing years; many of these were associated with religious groups set up by the European colonialists, such as Catholic and Protestant supporters. Economically, the country had a strong Indian population that was in control of much of the commerce nad industry there, which is why dictator Idi Amin expelled them in the early 1970's. Deforestation issues have affected Uganda quite significantly. Urbanization and expanding farmlands are responsible for much of Uganda's deforestation problem, while like most regions in Africa, the population housed within this country has seen an explosion in the number of victims of AIDS and HIV. Civil wars and internal fighting, however, would regularly plague Uganda into the new millennium. In more recent times, efforts have been made to reduce barriers to women owning property and being an economic influence within this country. The traditional gender equality within Uganda has certainly circumscribed its growth.
One of the most insidious instances of neo-colonization in Africa, however, was evinced in South Africa. The system of apartheid, which was essentially a legalized subjugation of people of African descent that highly favored Europeans and those of European descent, was responsible for political instability for several years as black South Africans strove to overturn such a repressive regime. Apartheid was eventually overturned in 1994 with the presidency of Nelson Mandela, but economically, unemployment was largely rampant in the country as it struggled to transition to true independence. Other contemporary issues plaguing this country are a nationwide rapid deforestation process, as well as rampant AIDS infection (South Africa may have the most people with AIDS in the world today). Women have played a significant role in the true liberation of this country from first its colonial history and then its repressive reign of Apartheid, as is evinced within the perseverance and political inclinations of Winnie Mandela.
There were several things about Africa that I learned while taking this course. One was that there was a highly planned, systematic implementation of repression that is responsible for keeping Africa socially, economically, and politically years behind many other parts of the world. This repression truly took hold during colonialism, but the bouts of neocolonialism that many countries endured even after formal colonialism was dispelled certainly contributed to this cause. I was also unaware of the contemporary problems that Africa has regarding issues of deforestation. I had no idea that the cutting down of trees and the reduction of forests could take hold of this area as quickly as it had, and continue to affect the environments there today.