Although I lived in Francophone Africa for two years, my French is rather limited and covering African affairs through the prism of DC also reduces my ability to focus on Francophone countries. So, as DC Africanist events are rather light for the moment, I thought I’d share this link (complete with a full first episode) to an interesting miniseries on ‘The French African Connection’ of which I caught Episode 1 on Al Jazeera yesterday.
The extreme focus on Gabon seems a bit strange (although unique) and the decolonization process is explained in roughly 10 seconds, but the archival footage is fascinating and the first episode is extremely hard-hitting, almost polemical, which brings forth a refreshing tone.
In light of recent French actions in Mali and the Ivory Coast, it seems to me that Francafrique has proven to be very resilient. While watching the film I found myself indulging in two historical ‘what if’ questions (this is probably something particular to history majors).
1. What if France had been the colonial power of a major sub-Saharan nation like Nigeria, the Congo, or South Africa?
2. What if France had not colonized Algeria, or other North African countries? Would all those French immigrants who settled there have gone to Senegal or Ivory Coast instead?