The Dividing of a Continent Africa`s Separatist Problem

TheDividing of a Continent: Africa’s Separatist Problem

TheDividing of a Continent: Africa’s Separatist Problem

MaxFisher wrote the Article “The Dividing of a Continent: Africa’sSeparatist Problem” on September 10, 2012. Fisher was a formereditor and a writer at The Atlantic. In this article, Fisherelaborates border tension among the African countries. His mainargument is that most of these African conflicts occur becauseAfrican’s former colonies defined the borders without consideringthe cultures and the resources in these regions. In general, Fisherpresents the Africa’s border problem, but he also gives specificexamples such as border problem between Nigeria and Cameroon.

MainPoints in the Article

  • Land disputes

  • Wrong heritage representation

Discussionof the Main Points

Inthe article reveals the land disputes among African countries, whichrelates directly with the colonial borders. According to Fisher(2012), African border conflicts were because of Europeancolonialism. He argues that in most cases, countries fought overnatural resources. For instance, there was a land dispute betweenCameroon and Nigeria over Peninsula, which both nations would love tocontrol because it contained oil. Nigeria was under British colonywhile Cameroon was under Germany colony. During this time, the twoEuropean powers had agreed and set up borders between these twonations. Later after the two countries gained their independence,both Cameroon and Nigeria argued that the European border agreementstated that peninsula was within their borders. With the help of thecurrent borders and colonial borders, both countries believedPeninsula belonged to their sides. Eventually, Cameroon was moreconvincing, and it won the case hence, it engrossed Peninsulaofficially within its borders (Fisher, 2012).

Accordingto Fisher, the Africa’s colonial borders left some Africanpopulation bunched into nations that do not represent their heritage.Up to date, African countries are not defined by their heritages, butby European colonialism follies (Fisher, 2012). Africa faces manyproblems that are attributed to linguistic, ethnic, and religiousdivisions. For instance, Angola consists of ten major ethnic groupshowever, they do not have a common interest in the shared country.Additionally, Nigeria is also facing a similar problem, where thecountry is divided into Christians and Muslim halves. Unfortunately,most Nigerians identify themselves according to religion rather thannationality. In addition, in 2002 when Nigeria and Cameroon settledthe case over oil-rich Peninsula, they did not mention anything to dowith cultural claims, preferences of its residents, or nationalinterests. According to Fisher (2012), although there are manyAfrica’s ethnic groups, it is so unfortunate that most of them donot fall in their appropriate lines.


Fromthe article, it is evident that colonial border problems negativelyaffect the marginalized people. Although they are invisible, bordersfundamentally mark where one country ends and where the other starts.Prior this article review, I intended to learn whether colonialborders create more unification or division among African countries.However, I have learned that colonial borders create many tensions.In addition, some people end up living within the borders that doesnot represent their heritage.

Strengthand the Weakness of the Article

Thisarticle has much strength compared to its weakness. Firstly, theauthor use of images to pass information. Fisher includes a pictureof two Sudanese officials holding a newly unveiled map after Sudanwas divided into two nations. The article also consist a map of thewhole of Africa continent showing the every country and itsboundaries. Secondly, Fisher has also used other sources of supporthis arguments and statements. For instance, he uses The Guardianmagazine to support his argument. Fisher retrieves the informationabout the Mombasa Republican Council, a Kenyan Group, from TheGuardian Magazine. In addition, he also uses G. Pascal Zachary workto support his statement. Zachary urges that although Sudan hasinfamously and poorly demarcated borders, it does not hold Africaback. Fisher also quotes Reuters newspaper work where he states thatthe colonial borders were drawn without residents’ considerations.

Thirdly,the article has excellent writing styles. Its content is appropriate,clear, well written, and organized. Additionally, the authorperfectly organizes the content with a good introduction andconclusion. The paragraphs are well organized with each having cleartopic sentences with logical and appropriate evidence. Besides, thearticle is free from grammatical errors. However, the article had onetyping error mistake on in the second-last paragraph where the authorwrites, “the latter tends…” rather than “the former tends….”(Fisher, 2012)


Overall,this is a great article. It will always remain significant as longcolonial borders are in existence. Up to date, colonial borders inAfrica are still a major source of conflict. Nevertheless, the mainquestion is, will further secession exacerbate or aggravate internalfighting. Zachary argues that this is complex but debatable (Fisher,2012). The article clearly explains some of the complications.Moreover, this piece of work is relevant and convincing hence, it isgood especially for students, as well as scholars who want to learnmore about colonial border conflicts.


Fisher,M. (2012, September 10). The Dividing of a Continent: Africa`sSeparatist Problem. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from