Cloud of colonialism hangs over Queen Elizabeth’s legacy in Africa
The arrival of Queen Elizabeth II in Africa was marked by a sea of blue flags, pomp and ceremony, a moment of affirmation of the ties between the mother country and the Commonwealth. The symbolism was unmistakeable — this is our family, she said at the airport.
I know her well. I’ve seen her from afar for years. It’s difficult to imagine an African monarch, but I’m reminded of her majesty on every visit to her father’s home, and also of the fact that I have no idea how many people in African history were born under her influence.
After all, you only have one mother.
“I have a feeling that she is aware of her mother’s legacy and what it really means to be an African woman in the twentieth century,” says the Rev. Dr. John Banda, director of Africa Centre and Church House in Dar es Salaam. “She takes very seriously her position at the top table of leadership for all the peoples of Africa.”
Queen Elizabeth’s reign was marked by a flurry of African leaders seeking to build up their nation state and their respective nations. Her second African tour was even more intense than her first.
The Queen’s visit in 1957 created a strong bond between the two families and marked the beginning of the Commonwealth as we know it today.
“These days, Queen Elizabeth’s African heritage is often referred to,” the Rev. Banda says. “But that was much earlier. It is just as significant because she inherited both a culture of deep-rooted tradition and a deep-rooted culture.”
It was her first trip to Africa as head of state. She was accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as his personal representative.
The royal couple’s home in Kenya for the visit would be the old British Embassy. “It was a very British-inspired, English style