African nationalism is an umbrella term which refers to a group of political ideologies, mainly within Sub-Saharan Africa, which are based on the idea of national self-determination and the creation of nation states. The ideology emerged under European colonial rule during the 19th and 20th centuries and was loosely inspired by nationalist ideas from Europe. Originally, African nationalism was based on demands for self-determination and played an important role in forcing the process of decolonisation of Africa (c. 1957-66). However, the term refers to a broad range of different ideological and political movements and should not be confused with Pan-Africanism which may seek the federation of several or all nation states in Africa.
Nationalist ideas in Sub-Saharan Africa emerged during the mid-19th century among the emerging black middle classes in West Africa. Early nationalists hoped to overcome ethnic fragmentation by creating nation-states. In its earliest period, it was inspired by African-American and Afro-Caribbean intellectuals from the Back-to-Africa movement who imported nationalist ideals current in Europe and the Americas at the time. The early African nationalists were elitist and believed in the supremacy of Western culture but sought a greater role for themselves in political decision-making. They rejected African traditional religions and tribalism as primitive and embraced western ideas of Christianity, modernity, and the nation state. However, one of the challenges faced by nationalists in unifying their nation after European rule were the divisions of tribes and the formation of ethnicism.
Third International Theory
African nationalism first emerged as a mass movement in the years after World War II as a result of wartime changes in the nature of colonial rule as well as social change in Africa