The end of European colonialism after World War II saw an interesting phenomenon take shape. Former colonial blocks, viewed as one colony for no other reason than the administrative ease with which the colonial country could govern it, were declared sovereign nations. While many celebrated the idea of independent nation states where colonies had formerly been, this view tended to overlook the often arbitrary nature of such colonial borders.

If one were to look at borders in Europe, they tend to be either natural borders such as mountain ranges and rivers, borders of culture and language, or borders based on ceasefires and peace treaties. Arbitrary borders drawn "from the top", as they are in Africa, tends to bundle cultural groups that have historically been either at war with one another, or have nothing in common. This lecture considers this situation with particular reference to Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.


  • Paul Maritz, visiting fellow, MCC

The presentation will be in English.



Deadline for registration: 12:00 22th May, 2023.

Everyone interested in this topic is welcomed!