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Le Message de Lord Lugard et l'Afrique d'Aujourd'hui1

Abstract
Summary

THE MESSAGE OF LORD LUGARD AND PRESENT-DAY AFRICA

This is the text of the third Lugard Memorial Lecture which was delivered by Vicegouverneur Moeller de Laddersous at Brussels on 7 April 1952. The lecturer recalled the conference on colonial problems held in Brussels in May 1923, when Lugard spoke of the principles on which colonial government should be based, on the need for an understanding and appreciation of indigenous institutions, and of the necessity for international co-operation in solving the problems—educational, economic, and administrative—which confronted colonial powers in Africa. After a summary of the chief ideas and doctrines which Lugard expounded in his writings and put into effect in his administration of East Africa and Nigeria, M. Moeller showed how the concept of indirect rule and Lugard's emphasis on the importance of education, and his regard for native law and custom, had influenced Belgian colonial administration, though the details of their application had of course differed. M. Moeller recalled that other lecturers had drawn parallels between the career of Lugard and that of Lyautey; and indeed the two men presented many notable points of likeness. He himself, however, ventured to draw attention to H. M. Stanley, a man who had been attacked from many quarters, whom Lugard himself disliked, but who would always be remembered for two imperishable exploits: his search for Livingstone and his exploration of central Africa. Scarcely less notable was his expedition in aid of Emin Pasha. Like Lugard, he served a stern apprenticeship before he achieved fame; for both, the intervals between their African journeys were spent in crusading for their ideas and projects, in alternations between triumphant receptions and bitter attacks; both were convinced of the importance of economic and commercial development in Africa. Above all, both consecrated themselves to the fight against the slave trade.

Turning to present-day political developments in Africa M. Moeller asked what Lugard's views would have been on the rapid evolution which had in five years produced two new constitutions in West Africa, with the possibility of a third. Lugard had been averse from a premature emancipation of native peoples; he considered that representative institutions were antagonistic to the natural evolution of indigenous political systems, and he opposed the substitution of an educated minority for the hereditary native rulers. On the other hand he would have been glad to see the transition to self-government accomplished within the framework of the British Commonwealth. His wise counsel would have been valuable in solving the problems of East Africa, which differ from those of West Africa owing to the existence of European and Indian populations and the consequent difficulties of racial cooperation.

When one considers the political future of Africa, one has to ask whether indirect rule has been a preparation for self-government; whether native administrative institutions are capable of development as organs of local and central government; whether, as a result of indirect rule, the African state has become sufficiently self-conscious to throw overboard their European partners; whether self-government will mean government by the literate minority and a complete rupture with the traditional rulers. Side by side with the development of elective government and professional courts of law, the old Africa, with its peasants, its rituals, its magic, its tribal divisions, still survives, and it may be that a time will come when Africans will turn away from Europe and towards the heritage of their own culture; they will not necessarily be grateful to those anthropologists who have sought to preserve that heritage, to place their works of art in museums and to publish their philosophies. The research work of this Institute, however, has been directed to the study of practical problems, arising from the transformation of African societies under the impact of western civilization, just as administrators like Lugard were concerned not to perpetuate outdated formulae but to guide the peoples under their charge along the difficult path towards the new African civilization.

Opening Paragraph

Le 2 mai 1923, Sir Frederic LUGARD prenait la parole à Bruxelles, dans la Salle de l'Union Coloniale, en présence de S.M. le Roi Albert. Le cycle de conférences organisé par le Ministre des Colonies de Belgique, M. Louis Franck, pour l'étude des problèmes coloniaux sous l'éclairement des diverses solutions adoptées par les principales nations coloniales, devait nécessairement appeler à cette tribune, pour cette confrontation, l'ancien gouverneur général de la Nigérie, le tenant de l'administration indirecte, qui venait, l'année précédente, de consigner les données de son expérience et d'exposer sa doctrine dans un ouvrage dont le retentissement allait s'étendre à toute l'Afrique et qui deviendrait le bréviaire des administrateurs coloniaux.

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Africa
  • ISSN: 0001-9720
  • EISSN: 1750-0184
  • URL: /core/journals/africa
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