Queen’s ‘complicated’ legacy sparks Kenya backlash

Queen Elizabeth II has 'complicated legacy' in Africa says Madowo

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The Queen saw the majority of Britain’s colonial conquests gaining independence through her 70-year-long reign. She ushered in the passage from the British Empire to the Commonwealth now reuniting former colonies as equals but over the years has faced criticism for failing to address the Royal Family’s involvement in the slave trade and colonial endeavours. CNN reporter Larry Madowo noted Her Majesty’s death on Thursday sparked mixed reactions on the African continent, with Kenya emerging as a vocal supporter for discussing the Queen’s “controversial” legacy.

Mr Madowo said:There’s a complicated legacy on the African continent.

“The fairytale is that Elizabeth went up the treetops here Kenya a princess and came down Queen because it’s when she was here in Kenya that she learned her dad had died and she was to be the Queen.

“But that also was the start of…for eight years after that, the British Colonial Government cracked down brutally on the Mau Mau against the colonial administration.

“They herded over a million people into concentration camps where they were tortured and dehumanised.

“Across the African continent, there have been people saying, ‘I will not mourn for Queen Elizabeth because my ancestors suffered great atrocities under her people and she never fully acknowledged that’.”

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He continued: “That is why, among African Twitter, among Black Twitter and other social media, there have been people who are uncomfortable with takes that maybe don’t quite follow the official state orthodoxy, which is why you see a statement like this from the South African opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters.”

The pan-Africanist movement released a statement to say they would not be “mourning Elizabeth” because of her failure to “acknowledge” the “atrocities” that befell native communities across Africa because of colonialism.

The statement from the EFF read: “We do not mourn the death of Elizabeth because to us her death is a reminder of a very tragic period in this country and Africa’s history.

“During her 70 years as Queen, she Never once acknowledged the atrocities that her family inflicted on native people that Britain invaded across the world. 

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“If there is really life and justice after death, may Elizabeth and her ancestors get what they deserved.”

Mr Madowo added: “There are people on social media who are calling out these sort of statements saying this is not the right time, you should honor the dead.

“But critics say, ‘when is it really the time to talk about the legacy of colonialism and the many, many after-effects that continue to live with us today’.”

The issue of royal ties to colonialism was reignited once again earlier this year as senior royals undertook a series of international tours across the Commonwealth to mark the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

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Then-Prince Charles used a speech during his visit to Canada in May to tackle the issue as he addressed the mistreatment of indigenous populations.

He acknowledged the “darker and more difficult aspects” of the UK’s past as he insisted reconciliation “starts with listening.”

The king said that natives have cared for their homelands for “thousands of years” and conceded there was a need for “striving to do better” but fell short of offering an apology.

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