Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
African socialism was a doctrine adopted by a range of African leaders at the close of French and British colonial rule, a period of great optimism about Africa's potential. As African countries gained independence, anticolonial nationalism could no longer play the unifying and mobilizing role that it had in the early 1950s. African socialism became a mobilizing slogan to unite Africans around the challenge of development in their postcolonial societies. The communal basis of most African precolonial societies and the absence of a private property tradition provided the material and ideological basis on which African leaders could point to an indigenous African path to socialism, one that seemingly offered a third way between Western capitalism and Soviet communism. This entry looks at both early theories and eventual implementation. Unlike Marxism, a materialist historical method based on a well-established body of theoretical literature, African socialism emerged rapidly as an eclectic and ...