Culture and Nation-building in Africa.

by | Jun 6, 2022 | 0 comments


This paper Culture and Nation-building in Africa is trying to assess two hypotheses by answering the following questions:

  • Nation-building in Africa guided by the colonization and decolonization process? Following some African nations the colonial administration par excellence in their post-Independence phases?
  • The culture of Ubuntu and leadership in building a nation as a community?
  • “Violence reduces the cost for an organization”?
  • What happened with all donor aid assisting nation-building, good governance, and fundamental rights?
  • Are Nations only built when there is an Enemy?
  • Nation-building in times of COVID?
  • The role of national heroes as catalysts for fomenting national identity?
  • Is African Nation-building following the principles of Native Nation Building?
  • Conclusions


Nation-building, Ubuntu, Attuned leadership, native nation, decolonization, black economic empowerment

Introduction: (Falode 2019, Lemay Hebert 2009)

There is a difference between Nation-building and State building. This paper is trying to explain how Nation-building in Africa was based on the power of tribes, the Bantu culture Ubuntu and the existence of an enemy (the colonizer, the intruder, Covid pandemic)

State-building is rather artificial, state borders have been made artificially by the colonizers. Tribal and clan-related territories have been split up into new states in a more mathematical way, not taking into account the reality of cultural, tribal, and clan relations.

Nation-building is wider, and deeper and can be defined as:

“Nation-building is the process whereby a society of people with diverse origins, histories, languages, cultures, and religions come together within the boundaries of a sovereign state with a unified constitutional and legal dispensation, a national public education system, an integrated national economy, shared symbols, national heroes and catalysts. “ (14,6)

“The primary objective of nation-building is to make a violent society peaceful. Security, food, shelter, and basic services should be provided first. Economic and political objectives can be pursued once these first-order needs are met.”

“Nation-building theory was primarily used to describe the processes of national integration and consolidation that led up to the establishment of the modern nation-state as distinct from various forms of traditional states, such as feudal and dynastic states, church states, empires, etc. “(Falode, 2019, p. 181).

“State-building as a specific term in social sciences and humanities refers to political and historical processes of creation, institutional consolidation, stabilization and sustainable development of states, from the earliest emergence of statehood up to the modern times.”

Hypotheses on Nation-building and culture in Africa

Two hypotheses need to be analyzed in this paper:

  • Post decolonized African countries are not built on nation-building projects financed by Development partners and International funding?
  • Is Nation-building built on the shape of sociological communities and the intercultural management of tribal/national identities in an African country?
Is Nation-building in Africa initially guided by the colonization and decolonization processes? (Peters 2016, Native Nation Institute 2010)

Most African nations have known long colonization processes and a fight for independence period. The main colonizers were France, the UK, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium with RDC and two protectorates Rwanda and Burundi.

There are two schools in the Nation-building in Africa. The former French colonies have known nation-building efforts while mirroring the Mother country: la France, based on the Language (La Francophonie) and the French social values (Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité)

The British former colonies have known for strong state-building efforts. (Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya)

The first one, nation-building (legitimacy approach) needs consolidated state institutions but not without the socio-cultural-political (Durkheimian sociology) cohesion during the process.

The second one: The “institutional approach” (Weberian approach” of nation-building, stressed the importance of institutional reconstruction where state-building efforts do not need a sociological cultural coherence nor nation-building efforts. In the state-society relationship in institutional approaches, state and society are viewed as intrinsically separable.

The first approach, the legitimacy approach is more sociologically or anthropologically oriented, relativizing generalizing assumptions and emphasizing the particularities of each state and its societal context. The legitimacy approach, therefore, poses obstacles to measuring state strength in quantitative terms.”

A good example is the “Afrobarometer” project that studies public opinion in various African countries, notably the citizen-government relationship.

The questions concern the theme of the citizens-state relationship, the way the political institutions and system are understood, and how public services and goods are assessed given the state’s legitimacy. An important perception is their own needs and how a high-level perception of corruption is changing the view of the legitimacy of the state machinery.

Legitimacy and the process of nation-building are hindered by having less voice of the citizen in the process and the lack of adequate accountability of state actors in the process. Therefore, there is an important role for non-state actors and the civil society as well as their own elected representatives in free elections.

There is this important paradox in the reconstruction of state institutions without an eye on the socio-cultural cohesion of states and nations. Before having important state-building efforts, it is recommended to analyze the socio-cultural data of what is intended to become a “modern democratic” nation/state. The colonial and post-colonial times in Africa had this important default that the socio-cultural factors were not fully understood. The Bantu concept and moral compass of Ubuntu ( “I am because we are”) came only lately upfront in nation-building. And with Mandela, Ubuntu (African humanism) became part of the new Constitution of the RSA after Apartheid. Mandela was an “attuned leader” who brought the spirit of Ubuntu, the protection of people and their communities rooted in justice and equality to the foreground.

Do some African nations follow the colonial administration model par excellence in their post-Independence phases? (Sidane 2000, Boudja 2019)

The independence of many African states was ill-prepared and was not anticipated by the colonizers who thought that independence would come much later ( 20 years later at least). But this was a misinterpretation. Under charismatic leaders like Lumumba, Nyerere, Nkrumah, and Nasser independency came earlier, at the beginning of the sixties. Some African states/nations were only independent in the seventies. (Comoros, Djibouti, Angola, Mozambique). The latest independent nation was South Sudan (2011).

The colonial society and the colonial administration were excellent mirrors of the motherland. There was a difference between the term “the fatherland” (when” the colon” left the home country) but when in the colonies reference was made to the “motherland”, to whom every colonized person belonged.

The situation of installing an independent new state was chaotic at that time. The case of Congo (now DRC) is a good example. The Belgians had bought the colony from Leopold 1, who had Congo Free state under his possession. Hence, all the proven stories about institutionalized mistreatment of the local population (White King, Red Rubber, Black Deaths.) Congo officially became independent from Belgium on 30th June in1960. The King of Belgium came to Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) and he was caught off guard during the impassioned independency speech of Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister in the government of Kasavubu.

Extract of the speech in 1960, Leopoldville:

“Although this independence of the Congo is being proclaimed today by agreement with Belgium, an amicable country, with which we are on equal terms, no Congolese will ever forget that independence was won in struggle, a persevering and inspired struggle carried on from day to day, a struggle, in which we were undaunted by privation or suffering and stinted neither strength nor blood.

It was filled with tears, fire, and blood. We are deeply proud of our struggle because it was just and noble and indispensable in putting an end to the humiliating bondage forced upon us.

That was our lot for the eighty years of colonial rule and our wounds are too fresh and much too painful to be forgotten.”

We have experienced forced labor in exchange for pay that did not allow us to satisfy our hunger, to clothe ourselves, to have decent lodgings, or to bring up our children as dearly loved ones.”

That was the spirit in Congo when the whole Belgian colonial apparatus left the Congo; The country had no university-educated people, except for the postal employee, the teacher, the candidate priest, and the “ évolués”. The newly elected government struggled to keep the new state functioning but failed as the old colonizers wanted to show that the independent Congo will not function. But nation-building, the Ubuntu philosophy, and the young politized generation tried to make it work. The best example of excellence was to continue the old colonial administrative Belgian model. The state institutions, the schools, the tax office, and all other public services were taken over by the new elite. Manuals, Standard operations, procedures, and the rule of law were taken over and the old legal acquis was still in place. The Congo became a prismatic society in public administration, with a subsystem of interpretation and in development of a society in transition from fused towards diffraction of its social, cultural, political, and economic systems and values. (Zwaenepoel 90)

 But the colonizer and special the USA CIA had other plans as the Congo was a geological abundant country with an important uranium reserve. The USA and its allies were also afraid that the new State would come under the influence of the USSR bloc. Several CIA sponsored and Belgian sabotage activities were planned to undermine the new government of Kasavubu (the First Congolese president) and were set up: the kidnap and the murder of Patrice Lumumba, the secession of Katanga ( rich copper province), the killing of Dag Hammarskjöld, Secretary-General of the United Nations on a peace mission in the Congo.

But it was much later when Colonel Mobutu Seseko started his reign after a coup d’ état in 1965. He was seen in his later years as a nation builder but one with bloody hands or an enlightened despot. He was as a former journalist aware that the Congo needed to become” authentic”, with a shared national identity in line with the Bantu philosophy, to unite all tribes and with common cultural values. So he changed the country and the “fleuve” name into “Zaire”, all citizens, now called “citoyen(ne)” had to change their colonial names and have ancestral Bantu names, and the vestimentary outfits were changed into cultural clothing (abacost (à bas costume) for men, traditional” pagnes” for women), everybody became a member of the One state party; Le Mouvement Populaire des Peuples. It brought a sense of belonging to a new nation with pride in their Bantu culture, ancestral beliefs, and values. This is well seen in the first sentence of his famous speech:

« Tout comme le soleil se lève avec éclat chaque matin sur le grand et majestueux fleuve Zaïre.. »

Mobutu was, after all, cruelly, a nation builder using the sociological cultural consensus of his citoyens and citoyennes, making Zaire the country of authenticity. But what happened with the state-building; Zaire was and is a fragile state, where the state cannot provide all public services to all citizens, where the immense wealth of the elite was made by corruption, and where the many dollars brought in by international donors, the private sector, the international banking, and the CIA disappeared.

Mobutu failed in getting the state build as efficiently, with sound systems and a share for all. State-building without nation-building cannot be a good and sustained case of cultural nation-building.

Seseko Mobutu and also Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu dreamed about the renaissance of Ubuntu in political and societal life in Congo and RSA, but it was Mobutu who brought the “authenticité” of the Ubuntu culture, the African society as an important factor in building the nation.

However, on the other hand, Mobutu also build a failed state and the most important threats are the loss of democratic and fundamental rights the oppression and killing of opponents, the limitation of the free flow of information in the community, and the most important factor was the collapse of the financial self-sustenance by the “greed” of his tribe and cronies.

When corruption and fraud in colonial times were seen as patriotic deeds, nowadays corruption is an act of individualism as it is taken away from the community. Population expects to be protected by the chiefs as a good family father and do have trust in a moral leader.

A second threat is a large population that lives under the poverty line and who is not inclusive in political life. Their only frustration is that security, and social needs for their extended family are no longer secured by the Chiefs and responsible.

A third threat is tribal strife and conflict in the region. A great part of Africa encounters continual armed conflict and war, where strong human rights abuses and discriminations are no longer punished. These fragile states like Zaire/Congo are far away from the Ubuntu values and this impact on large migrations, health disasters, and war crimes like the raping of women, girls, and babies (North Kivu, RDC).

The post-Mobutu period showed that nation-building based on Ubuntu cultural values cannot be true if the three factors of failure in state-building are not addressed. The administration apparatus, the “Acquis Communautaire”, the legislation, the financial systems and HR procedures are still the same as in colonial times. The so-called change management, sponsored by the development partners, to a new institutional state setting did not realize. All elements are in place to stay forever a fragile and failed state with an erroneous debt despite all well-intentioned state-building and capacity development efforts of donors and IFIs.

The culture of Ubuntu and leadership in building a nation as a community?
“Violence reduces the cost for the organization”? (Sidane 2000, Zwaenepoel 1990, Gyekye 1994, Ref: Bantu -New World Encyclopedia)

The culture of Ubuntu in Bantu Africa assisted in sustainable nation-building. The tree of basic values in the Bantu part of Africa (see map) leads to a humanism based on solidarity, community-driven, and with social control by peers, tribe, and community.

Several attuned leaders (Mandela, Bishop Tutu) have understood that a fragile broken society can only be healed by the sense of Ubuntu and belief in community focus. After the apartheid, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was installed to give victims and persecutors the chance to reconcile after a process of deep communication and looking for the truth.

The TRC was set up by the Government of National Unity to help deal with what happened under apartheid. The conflict during this period resulted in violence and human rights abuses from all sides. No section of society escaped these abuses.

TRC’s likely biggest failure was its lack of involvement in addressing social and economic transformation. The commission members were given the power to grant amnesty, but not the power to implement reparations.

The TRC has been criticized for having sacrificed justice for reconciliation. Another criticism is that the TRC is built on the Christian sense of forgiveness.

The amnesty process did not lead to a full restoration of a balanced nation and the old “enemy” and class typology was still in place. The state was still organized following the old institutional set-up of the Apartheid machinery, but the nation was scattered along with tribes and races, political parties, and minorities.

The government party ANC could not bridge the divides and had no solution for poverty reduction, the development of minority groups, implementation of reparation payments for victims, and enabling the right of land property for the landless minorities (Indigenous groups and minorities).

When the reconciliation idea was culturally correct, it underestimated the sociological deep divide between different population groups and the have-nots.

A new concept was introduced, as positive racial reinforcement, called the BEE, the Black Economic Empowerment, that was not a success. Later it was replaced by the B-BBEE Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. A system that allowed “Blacks” to have advantages in job hunting, state jobs, financing, housing etc. “Blacks” were all victims of Apartheid like Africans, Colored, Indian, Indigenous, other minority groups, Chinese and White Women, who are South African citizens.

The main objective of B-BBEE is the inclusion of black people (defined broadly as Africans, Indians, and Colored) in the economy, within a larger goal of nation-building, and national empowerment, targeting historically disadvantaged people such as black people, women, the youth, rural communities, and disabled people.

The seven pillars of B-BBEE currently measured are:

  • Ownership.
  • Management Control.
  • Employment Equity.
  • Skills development.
  • Preferential Procurement.
  • Enterprise development.
  • Socio-Economic Development (Social Responsibility)

THE BEE and the B-BBEE were an answer to the lack of economic transformation and sharing of economic opportunities for all victims of apartheid. They completed the Ubuntu-inspired process of the Commission, which lacked attention to reparation and sustaining economic opportunities for all citizens in the South African economy.

Did the B-BBEE work as a tool for inclusive nation-building? (Boudja 2018, Sinha 2019)

The results are mitigated, giving more power to the ANC party and high funding going to provincial and local governments. It kept in place the “enemy typology”, we gain from the “others”. The old divide between the white population and the nonwhite African population was not solved and made more difficult with the non-solving of old territory and land property problems, as most landowners (Boer) had owned the majority of fertile land. At this problem was added, the problem of mining rights and access to water for industrial farming.

The first Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) policy has been one of the most direct attempts to achieve racial transformation in the South African economy. They missed key issues in terms of the high barriers that sustain exclusion and concentration.

The BEE approach was later copied by the Government of Namibia through The Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth, with little success.

All these tools in nation-building by using the Ubuntu cultural values did not give sustainable results of the transformation of the economy and giving citizens an equal share in the wealth of the RSA. The nation-building in RSA is a long political consensus process, where the idea of “ the enemy inside” prevails. These sentiments were made stronger under the Zuma regime and the well-documented state finances robbery called “ state capture”. The former president and his cronies from inside and outside the RSA had a system of plundering Public finances.

On 11 September 2017, former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan estimated the cost of state capture at 250 billion rands (almost USD 17 billion), in a presentation at the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business.

All steps in the nation-building of a young democracy did not work for the RSA and the different tools to effect racial transformation and create an equal share in economic welfare and opportunities had not the expected results. The RSA is, of today, still a divided nation, even when the state machinery built during the Apartheid regime still works and old legislation is in place.

“Violence reduces the cost for the organization”? (Peters 2021)
Can a nation when restoring a national identity be built or restored by having an enemy? (Zwaenepoel 2019, Arino 2015)

 Some African nations like RSA, Angola, and Zimbabwe had known a long history of struggle, independence fighters, guerilla war, and ideologically inspired long conflicts. Most conflicts were supported by foreign countries ( the cold war), the masters of the weapons trade, and the secret services of different countries. Neighboring countries kept a growing interest in keeping the war economy and the access to important mining of crucial ores for industrial developments (coltan, cobalt, uranium, gold, copper, diamonds). This is the case with the war in North Kivu.

The idea of having a common enemy is the denominator to unite the opinions of citizens, “ we against the other”. And as Sartre was saying, “hell is the others”.

The recent invasion in Ukraine is a good non-African example of how a war between two Russian brother populations galvanized Ukraine’s defense and united a nation behind their leader. The principle of defining the everlasting enemy can be a tool in realizing nation-building during conflict and war.

On the other hand, conflict, and war do not stimulate economic growth and necessary transformation. Only foreign weapon production economies and the traders in conventional weaponry are increasing their profits. The importance of the illegal weapon import in Africa is the precursor for more conflict, tribal war, and incursions by neighboring countries to have access to priceless ores in fragile states.

Having a common enemy can be a bad catalysator of having a nation built around a charismatic leader but under the constraints of continuing conflict and war. (The Case of North Kivu)

What happened with all donor’s aid assisting nation-building, good governance, and fundamental rights?

A high part of donor aid and international cooperation is given to nation-building in the new African nations. Development funds and budget support are targeting the building of a new democratic nation based on the example of their old nation organization.

The EU, the biggest provider of donor aid, does have programs based on the European Values. The funds are used to finance political advisors, capacity development programs for state employees, the reform of Public Finances, the role of non-state actors and civic society, the organization of democratic and free elections, the peace and security concerns, and the cross-cutting issues of gender, climate change resilience and social inclusion.

The EU values in democratic nation/state-building:
  • Human dignity. Human dignity is inviolable. EU fundamental rights are primordial.
  • Freedom. Freedom of movement gives citizens the right to move and reside freely within the Union.
  • Democracy. The functioning of the EU is founded on representative democracy.
  • Equality.
  • Rule of law.
  • Human rights.

Many funds have been used by international donors to finance Capacity development programs for leaders, officials, non-state actors, Faith-based organizations, and NGOs. Money was spent on travel, conferences, workshops, structured democratic dialogue, exercises in democracy, and fostering the EU Fundamental Rights. There is no study on what the added value could be of these projects in nation-building and enhancing national identity. A succession of stand-alone projects and programs never fully contributed to the long process of nation-building. Western nations learned it in their history the hard way through war, conflict, and revolt and not by programs and projects in nation-building designed and promoted by international donors. All Nation-building programs in Africa mirror the actual state of Western states that donors use as an excellent example of a democratic nation. It has similarities with the colonization where the idea was to introduce civilization to the uncivilized. In the case of aid and cooperation to assist in building a newly democratic nation and restructuring the state institutions, the same emerges. Two examples: Twenty years of nation-building in Afghanistan and the different funds for a democratic nation, transformative gender, and a strong National army were finished in two weeks with the arrival of the Taliban in Kabul.

Another example of the well understandable self-interest of the donor community in France in West Africa. The former colonizer still has armies in some Sahel countries to protect their mining and other interests in the region. After the independence, the real “decolonization” still needs to start. France linked the CFA (currency used in most West African countries) to their Public finance policies and keeps the gold reserve backing the CFA in their vaults in Paris. The well understandable reaction from the West African young population that never knew colonization, is to get la France out and create a new financial system. Geopolitical interests are prime, and some compare it to a form of neo-colonialism.

Nation-building under the Covid pandemic (Peters 2021)

The world will never know what the exact number of victims of COVID 19 in Africa is. Citizens of Africa face a lot of different health challenges and the life expectancy of women and men is lower than 60 years. When the pandemic broke out, the struggle for vaccinations was the work of the capital-oriented pharmaceutical industry and “the first come first serve” principles; Africa could have a small share of the vaccine production and the efforts to produce vaccinations in the African continent were a lost cause. The result was the many nonvaccinated citizens and many more victims than is officially known.

Another important impact was on livelihood, as non-mobility means that people could not move to sell and buy the necessary products in markets and the streets.

Did Covid 19 assist in nation-building?

In one way, it showed African solidarity and

self-help, which was a great factor to unite the citizens in the struggle to overcome the pandemic. But Africa had known many pandemics and epidemics. There was this sense of resilience during HIV Aids, the EBOLA, and many other pandemics. Facing disasters, communities are built on resilience, unity in organizing, assisting the weak and the children, and Ubuntu, African humanism as a compass.

The role of national heroes as catalysator with football and music (Meeks)

The role of national heroes as catalysts for fomenting national identity is an important factor in nation-building and building a “society of people with diverse origins, histories, languages, cultures, and religions come together within the boundaries of a sovereign state.” The independence struggle brought some attuned leaders. “An attuned leader is an insightful person who stresses the importance of human relationships, empathizing and identifying with the followership, winning their trust and producing results in line with the needs of the followers”. (12) Several African leaders had an important impact on the African post-independence period by being courageous and even giving their own life for a good cause. Leaders like Lumumba, Nyerere, Mandela, Bishop Tutu, Jomo Kenyatta, Thomas Sankara, Kwame Nkrumah, Kofi Annan and Ellen Johnson -Sirleaf were attuned leaders

An attuned leader is an insightful person who stresses the importance of human relationships, empathizing and identifying with the followership, winning their trust, and producing results in line with the needs of the followers. (Khoza 2016)

But also, nonpoliticians or religious leaders like football players, musicians, and writers can be attuned facilitators.

A good example is Didier Drogba’s peace- and nation-building effort on Ivory Coast. Civil war broke out in Cote d’Ivoire in 2002. In 2007, Drogba ended a 5-year civil war in his country, Cote d’Ivoire by scoring a goal, that helped them win a match against Madagascar. He asked that the next game be played in Bouake, a rebel stronghold then got on his knees and pleaded with rebels to drop their arms, and they did. The symbolic gesture of the game in Bouake seemed to have united a country once again.

This campaign impacted the sense of national ownership and identity and influenced the resilience of this political and tribal conflict.

Another good example of nation-building was in Jamaica, where the island state was in a conflict between two parties and two candidates for president. Bob Marley proposed to hold a reunification concert to make peace in Jamaica. Sometime before the concert he was attacked in his house, his wife with a bullet in the head and Bob in his arm and shoulder. He continued to hold the first peace concert “Smile Jamaica Concert” in 1976

and played with his wounded arm. In 1978 he organized with the Wailers the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston. At the end of this concert and during the political

conflict, he asked the Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley and his political opponent Edward Seaga onto the stage, to say “one love “in the microphone.

That is how Rastafari culture helps national identity and resilience. With this important message sang by Bob Marley. (15)

Is Nation-building mirroring the five principles of Native Nation Rebuilding? (Native Nations Institute, Wursten 1997 , Hofstede2010)

Is Nation-building mirroring the five principles of Native Nation Rebuilding? (Native Nations Institute, Wursten 1997 , Hofstede2010)

Five core principles African-nation building Cultural dimension Comments
Sovereignty Nations make the major decision Self-governing power Nations are independent and make institutional decisions but still, there is a great influence of International donors and the community who decided on the conditions of the supply of funds for development
Capable governing institutions



The Nation backs up authority with competence Collective societies with a strong sense of consensus-building UBUNTU compass Following the history of the colonial institutions and procedures for state-building after independence. Successful African nations put in place effective, non-politicized dispute-resolution mechanisms and build capable bureaucracies
Cultural match


Governing institutions match community beliefs about how authority

should be organized:

The strong influence of Ubuntu culture and old governance practices

Cultural values as strong power distance, less individualism but collective based.

Social control and the influences of chiefs, faith-based organizations, and non-state actors

Nation-building is more based on culture, sociologically or anthropologically oriented, relativizing generalizing assumptions and emphasizing the particularities of each state and its societal context.
Strategic orientation



Decisions are in African Nations not made with long-term priorities in mind


African nations score very low on Long term orientation (Hofstede), all decisions are short term and with the own tribe, or clan in mind African nations tend to find short term solutions for long structural problems like poverty, food security, migration, climate resilience


Public spirited leadership

A few numbers of attuned leaders rose in the history, who had a long view and through a charismatic approach have their eye on sustainable change in society, economy, and politics The value of Ubuntu, African humanism The culture of change in African nations is not seen in the political elite, it is more the non-state actors, the faith-based and non-governmental organizations, the unions, and advocacy groups who are working on the grass-root levels. Fundamental changes cannot be brought by evolution but by the revolution of the mind and the masses. The elite does not like major changes that can impact their position, the position of the clan, and their wealth.



There were two hypotheses to be assessed:

  • Post decolonized African countries are not built on nation-building projects financed by Development partners and International funding?
  • Is Nation-building built on the shape of sociological communities and the intercultural management of tribal/national identities in African countries?

As was proved in this paper, after independence the state-building and the institutional concepts were copied from the nations of their former colonizers. There was no time left to prepare for a transition after the declaration of independence by the colonizing power. The new leaders had to continue what was conceived before, to provide public goods and services in the post-Independence time. And even up to now, the International donor community with an arsenal of funds, tools, and techniques provide the new nations with assistance, aid, and cooperation to build the new nation with cultural values from the West. Cross-cutting factors and often conditions for more funds were social inclusion, gender transformation, sexual orientation, trade facilities, and resilience were of importance.

Some capacity development projects have sustainable results, but it is difficult in the long term to define the value-added for and from the nation that received aid and for the provider to know the value for money and the expected rate of return.

Is Nation-building built on the shape of sociological communities and the intercultural management of tribal/national identities in African countries? Nation-building in most African nations is based on deep cultural values, language, and cultural, and sociological identity. The high-power distance is a basic characteristic of traditional communities, where the chief has to provide for his tribe, clan, and nation.

The moral compass in Bantu Africa is Ubuntu or African humanism. Some cases of racial transformation, reconstruction, and the building of national identity were given. They proved not to be always successful and nations with a more “cultural fusion” approach are making more changes in society and economy. The younger African generation with access to social media and ICT tools will be the biggest change-makers in African society, politics, and economic development.


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Dr. Luc Zwaenepoel is a Drs in Development economics, Ph.D. Development management and a Master’s in Sexology. He lived and worked for 40 years on the African continent, the Indian Ocean, and the Far East. His international work in economic development brought him in contact with a better understanding of African organizations and communities, with a great interest in the Bantu philosophy and the Ubuntu approach. As a novelist, he wrote a book: “Sartre in the Congo” 2020, a magical realism story, against the background of the first genocide in Kongo and Rwanda.


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