• France ruled many countries in Africa such
as Algeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Congo,
• Kamerun & Togo.
• Some features of their rule was
• Forced labor,
• Taxation including Corvee
• Use of labor camps.
• Introduction of cash crops-groundnuts
derived from French word assimiler meaning to resemble.
Believed their civilization had attained highest standard
and set out to impose their culture on other nations.
Believed other people could be assimilated into French culture
regardless of their race.
Believed that what was good for France was good for other nations.
Hence strove to turn Africans into black Frenchmen Speaking, living,
behaving & thinking as Frenchmen= mental colonization
Meant to influence every aspect of life
Assimilation Difficulties
• For it to succeed they needed to indoctrinate
the mind. But it was difficult since what was good for Frenchman
was not necessarily good for the African
• It was difficult to erase peoples culture, since culture was
the basis of their existence. Africans are so deeply
rooted in their cultural values and opposed any cultural
• French realized that Assimilation when pushed to the fullest
would lead to end of colonialism since Africans would be
equal to them so they changed their policy to accommodation
Colonies were taken to be overseas provinces of France ,administratively and
Policy was seriously pursued in Senegal especially in the
4 Communes of St. Louis, Goree, Rufisque and Dakar
Education - was opened in these areas similar to that in
France as opposed to British education
Elections - were also as in France based on universal
male suffrage with Frenchmen and Africans having same
voting rights e.g. could vote and be voted in,
British Territories Africans were represented by missionaries
French Administration
• Trade however was in the hands of the
French companies.
• Blacks and whites living in the communes had
same rights and equal protection under judicial
• Politically, Senegal was represented in the
French chamber of deputies in most cases by
black people, e.g., Blaise Diagne was the first
black elected deputy to the French Chamber of
Deputies in 1914.
• And through his efforts residents of the 4
communes were granted French citizenship.
• However the African French Citizens were
treated differently from the rest.
• But when French Introduced other values each
land as individual property it failed since in
African land was communally owned.
• On Culture like marriage, Most Senegalese
were Muslims as such practiced Polygamy but
French were Christians who believed in
monogamy. So for Africans to be fully
assimilated they had to be monogamous which
was difficult.
• did not promote Assimilation fully since
they were run by Catholic missionaries
who were interested in converting people
instead of assimilating them.
• People rejected education offered to them.
• Africans started after 1946 to demand for
more rights to be citizens as French did all
they could to stop it, having realized the
dangers of Assimilation.
Negritude: an African response to
Was a cultural and Political movement that celebrated black power
and black beauty.
Was started in French Speaking countries of Africa and West Indies.
Negritude challenged the French Policy of Assimilation and the
main proponent was the founder and First President of Senegal-
Leopold Sedar Senghor.
Negritude celebrated the total cultural, social and political values of
African civilization and blacks as a whole in the world.
It challenged the concept of Assimilation which was based on false
grounds that Africans had no history or culture of their own
Negritude set out to demonstrate that Africans had contributed and were still
contributing to the world civilizations.