Author: Robert

The Queen’s Legacy in Africa

The Queen’s Legacy in Africa

Cloud of colonialism hangs over Queen Elizabeth’s legacy in Africa, the U.S., and the West.

[Queen Elizabeth II was in Africa to open her new Elizabeth City, Ontario, headquarters for the Windsor Trust.]

Queen Elizabeth II and first lady Melania Trump during Royal Ascot at Windsor Castle, England, June 1, 2018. REUTERS/James A. Martineau

For the Queen, Africa was just the latest place where her imperial grandeur had little to do with protecting people from tyranny or improving their quality of life. As she told young schoolchildren in 1959 — after visiting several African countries — “My job is to do as much good as I can for the Africans, but they are already doing so for themselves.”

Indeed, the Queen’s legacy in Africa is a vast, long-term project of empire: One which has involved, over the course of her lifetime and in more than sixty countries, both giving, and taking, from the continent.

Today, Elizabeth’s reputation in Africa is tarnished, not because she has been a poor steward of the African continent, but because her actions, or rather her lack of actions, speak to a much deeper truth of what she was about: an imperial power that believes itself to be sovereign.

In that sense, her legacy is one of an imperial woman: Queen Elizabeth was the first sovereign of an empire, and now, a global one — to the extent that she is even considered a global leader.

That she has been, from the vantage point of a few years, the most influential woman in the world is not a sign of her power or wisdom — for that she would surely deny. Rather, it is an indicator of her power over the rest of us, at least in the minds of those who believe themselves to be, as she once said, “the conscience of the world” — with the power to alter events in a real and material way.

This is the

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